WAYS THAT THE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT CAN ASSIST THE FIRE DEPARTMENT
Colonel Young “framed up” on me. He put me down last on the programme to tell you “How the Insurance Department Proposes to Aid the North Carolina Fire Departments” and he has been busy two days telling you himself. I had one thing left to talk about—the department literature and pamphlets— and just to show you that his heart is in the right place he explained that to you, but he hasn’t stopped me yet. Gentlemen, we have heard some wonderful talks and speeches and the beautiful part about it is that they were made by men who practice what they preach and there is not a single one of them but what should fill us with inspiration. Our duty lies where we are best fitted to help— wherever that may be, and when we consider the fact that practically every fire department in this country has sent its best trained youths to the front, it is imperative that we realize and appreciate the responsibility resting upon the shoulders of the ones who are left behind. We can not afford to take a single chance. We must watch every angle and be ever alert to throttle in its incipience any thing which looks like the work of an alien enemy.
War Breeds Cranks and Incendiaries.
It is a well known fact that whenever war breaks out there quickly arise to the surface cranks of all kinds and description. Every enemy within the confines of our borders is anxious, itching and ready to serve against us and with a depraved mind turns to nature’s most primitive and most heinous weapon, the torch of the incendiary. They are ready and waiting because they know that the torch can do more damage to America’s cause than a regiment of trained German soldiers in the trenches. In our department we have Captain Jordan and Captain Scott, two men who are recognized as equal to any two men in this country when it comes to running down criminals of this kind. They arc ready to help you in your town. Don’t wait until the dirty work is done, act as soon as you have reason to believe that there is danger.
Improperly Wired Buildings.
The firemen throughout the country have long known the danger of improperly wired buildings. We all know that mechanics of all kinds are leaving the regular fields and are either going into the army or to the camps and with them go many electricians. This leaves the electrical work to the inexperienced men in many instances. This calls for more rigid inspections on your part and you must know what you are doing. Our department has Mr. Cannady, the state electrical inspector, who we will send to help and instruct you in this work. It is work that must be done or else the community will surely pay for the lack of it sooner or later. There is nothing which appeals to men, women and children at this particular time more than action. Action is what they crave when they, themselves, are subject to the dangers of war. They see that action every time a soldier passes. But men, we can’t all go. Some must stay, and there is work for all. We must know and fully appreciate the fact that if American industry is crippled or the food supply hampered that within a few short months the civilized world would be hungry. The burden of this kind of protection falls upon the shoulders of a fireman.
Food Must Be Protected.
Every pound of food raised in America will, before it reaches the mouth of a soldier, have to pass through points where it must be protected by the firemen. Let that sink in and then think what is the most important subject that can possibly be brought up for discussion by this convention or institute today. Gentlemen, the most important subject that can be brought before this convention is the subject of proper training and equipment for the fire departments of this state to enable them to protect the priceless belongings of our beloved country and allies.
Need of Good Apparatus.
The training of the members and the knowledge of the buildings in which you will be called upon to fight your battles is entirely with you and the necessary equipment also depends upon what you do and say to those who furnish it. Let your aldermen know how important your work is. Let them know that when you jump on a fire wagon to answer the call of distress that you put all you have on that wagon and that the least thing the city can do is to give you a good wagon to _____ide on and enough of them to enable you to do your full duty when called upon. It is up to you to impress upon you. aldermen the difference between a good wagon and a makeshift. You know that when this Government got ready to equip her fighting forces with airplanes they did not leave it up to any one Congressman’s say as to what they would do. They didn’t say let’s get something that will do. No, they called in the best mechanics in the world and said to them, “We do not want the best flying machines you have, we want the best flying machines that can be built, get busy.” And today when an American flyer flies, he flies in the flyingest flying machine that flics.
Everything Should Be of the Best.
It is just as necessary that when you are called upon to fight that you have the very best. Not what some aldermen figures out “will do for the time being” but what the firemen of your country have endorsed as being “something which is doing what your requirements demand.” Put these matters before them. Tell them that you are now called upon to do more and better work than ever before. Show them by your fire drills and inspections that you mean business. Get yourself in condition to answer right when you are called. Now, gentlemen, if our department can be of service to you call on us. We are ready. In closing, I ask the privilege of saying to you that all the news now points to that day when the transports will be coming home loaded with victorious soldiers. They will be accompanied by fighting ships filled with victorious sailors. Proud wilt be that day and the anguish in our hearts for those who will never return will be in a manner soothed by that sweet knowledge that thev gave their lives for the same principle that our blessed Saviour gave his upon the cross. Peace on earth, good will to all. They shall not be forgotten: North Carolina will erect the grandest of monuments in memory of these men and it is my one great hope that beside that monument will rise another for those who could not go where their hearts called them, but staved and not only did their best, but their very best.
*Excerpts from an address before the Firemen’s Association and Firemen’s and Electrical Institute at Wrightsville, N. C.