VETERANS FOR FIRE PREVENTION.
That it would be to the benefit of municipalities if veteran firemen were retained as a fire prevention squad when they have become old enough to be retired on a pension is the view expressed by cx-Mayor John J. Mulhaney, of West Allis, Wis. He would have them lecture to the men in the service and inspect yards and buildings and advise persons in charge of factories and stores as to what to do to assist in fire prevention, and could, perhaps, also act as factory inspectors. What had long been Mr. Mulvaney’s views of firemen were confirmed on hearing of the thirty-fourth anniversary of the first fire run of Superintendent Michael Curtin, of the Milwaukee fire insurance patrol. Mr. Mulhaney has a good conception of the hardship firemen must endure while in service, knowing that those who have the right stuff in them, barring those who are disabled or killed, stay to the finish, and that men who serve in the department for the required twenty-two years are men who have worked for the best interests of the city and know fire prevention and fire fighting in all its phases. The entering age limit is thirty-five years and, after serving the required twentytwo years, they have served an apprenticeship which makes them experts in the business, a great asset to the city, and are still comparatively young men at the time of pension eligibility whose mental faculties are intact and whose wide experiences are worth more to the city than is realized by the average citizen. He acknowledges that any fireman who serves the full time in the department, although he becomes a lieutenant, captain or even chief, has a perfect right to take advantage of the pension awaiting him, and the hard-earned rest and, when he asks why the city should be the loser, he means why is there not some arrangement whereby those eligible to pension can be kept in the service at full pay or better, when to his mind they are still active, as beneficial and perhaps save more for the city than previously by preventing loss of life, which money cannot replace, not to mention the vast amount of property, besides making it easier and safer for the firemen who are working and waiting for their pension time to come. Mr. Mulhaney declares that it would be well to take those veterans who have served twentytwo years or more and know the service thoroughly and make them a fire prevention squad. Of course, it is understood that all eligible men do not take advantage of the pension system, and fortunately so, for if such men as the chief, his assistants, captains, and others who are eligible, should resign, the efficiency of the department would be greatly impaired. On the other hand, if there were something to look forward to which would be an incentive to both the men and the city alike, perhaps some men who have gone to other places might have stayed in the city instead of giving to other cities the benefit of the experience gained in their home department and which the city can ill afford to lose. Ex-Mayor Mulhaney displays an admirable desire to benefit the municipality, and it is equally evident that it is his desire to accord full justice to the firemen who serve so long and faithfully. It appears, however, that the municipality would gain more by the proposed arrangement than would the fireman, who, as Mr. Mulhaney himself concedes, has a perfect right to take advantage of the pension awaiting him by the dangers he has incurred. It seems not more than fair that he should have the rest which he has earned so well.