WATERFRONT FIRE PROTECTION.
By the co-operation of Fire Commissioner Adamson, of New York City, and several railroads and other companies owning many tugs, a valuable plan has been effected that will materially strengthen the fire-fighting force available for the protection of that city’s waterfront. Announcement has been made that thirteen companies, owning one hundred and fortythree tugs, equipped for fire service, have agreed to place this force at the call of the Commissioner, and agree to bring the firefighting equipment on these boats up to the standard set by him. The Commissioner will assign firemen to instruct the tugboat captains and forces how best to fight fires. The companies have realized that the fire hazard along the waterfront is great, because many of the piers are constructed of wood, and also because of the vast quantities of valuable merchandise constantly stored there, and they have agreed also to perfect the fire-fighting apparatus on their own piers, and to co-operate fully in the enforcement of fire precautions. While it is, of course, unlikely that in the present busy times on the waterfront all the hundred and fortythree tugboats will be available at one time, it is expected that a sufficient number would be able to answer the calls to render material assistance. Under the plan, the city waterfront is divided into ten zones, and whenever a waterfront fire occurs the first battalion chief to arrive will notify the fire alarm telegraph bureau, and the bureau will then notify the company or companies whose tugs are located in that particular zone, and these tugs will be sent to help the city department. Should no tugs be available in the same zone as the fire, tugs will be summoned from the next zone and, in the event of a fire proving of sufficient proportions to cause two alarms, all tugboats will be notified. The plan also includes the co-operation of all the fire brigades, police and W’atchmen of the railroad companies in the prevention of fires. The plan is one that reflects the increasing realization of the need for and value of co-operation in the prevention and fighting of fires, and is one which recommends itself to other cities with waterfronts. This is another example of what can be secured by co-operation between municipal and private fire protection systems. In this particular instance the co-operation was induced by the pending international crisis. But should it require outside pressure to bring about this desirable state of affairs? Would it not be a big step in the direction of efficiency in fire protection if such arrangements should be established permanently?