Some Suggestions for Fire Department Inspectors’ Use in Their Visits to the Schools—How Best to Arrange Such Drills


Fire Alarm Office, Rockford, Ill.

THE following suggestions as regards fire protection in the schools and especially in connection with the matter of fire driils in such institutions, will be found of considerable value to Fire Department Inspectors, in their rounds among the schools of their city or village:

The most terrible of all fires is that in the school, imperiling as it does the lives of those dearest to us all. It is wonderful, to see the trusting faith of the children in our schools, who rely only on the teacher’s orders to evacuate their classrooms in time of fire. They need absolute confidence and respect in their teachers, so that they will carry out any given order in time of stress. Coats, hats, money, and books must be left behind, and the hands free to grasp other hands, or fire escape and stair railings. In this way, stumbling and disjointed lines will be avoided. Teachers should step to the door and lead their class, so that if their regular exit is cut off they may reroute to other exits. An efficient school fire corps is essential.

First of all, two pupils must be assigned to each exit to open and hook each door, and stay there to prevent jams; a pupil to play the piano or phonograph; two pupils to help each crippled child; a boy and girl on each floor to notify toilets; a pupil in each class to see that all are leaving the room. Everyone is compelled to leave the building at “Fire Drill.”

The signals for “Fire Drill” should be the same in all schools. They should be able to be rung from any floor and basement, and heard in every room and part of the building. Should pupils exit the building from other than their own classrooms, they should immediately report to their own teacher. When all pupils are out, they should remain in line until checked over by the teacher. Missing names should be taken and given to the principal. Under no circumstances should the building be re-entered, except by teachers working in pairs. Teachers and pupils must watch carefully for anyone who falls in the hallways, stairs, or doorways, as this means a serious jam unless he is removed, Light smoke is not injurious and is safe to go through with hands joined, if you can see where to go. The main thing is not to become panicky when smoke is seen.

Basement boiler-rooms are the most dangerous fire hazards with the attendant refuse, because smoke and flame follow the stairways, unless the lower door is closed to shut off the draft.

It is well to have a school fire captain, whose duty is to see that all panic bolts are in working order, door hooks in good condition, fire escape drops free, refuse in the building cleaned up, and to take his position outside of the building in fire drills to see that all doors are properly kept open. He should make his reports daily to the principal.

The burning of a school is doubly serious, in view of the fact that loss of life usually occurs, unless pupils are handled properly, and that schools are built by taxation of the people.

The crowded conditions of our schools today is more alarming from a fire standpoint, than from a scholastic, and new and more schools should be built to handle these serious problems.

Montclair, N. J., to Buy Pumper.—Montclair, N. J., is to purchase a Mack pumper for $13,000.

Reading, Pa., to Buy Pumper.—Reading, Pa., is to purchase a 500-gallon pumper and the city machinist was instructed to prepare specifications.

Dubuque, Ia., Has New Car.—Chief J. W. Fisher, of Dubuque, Ia., is now responding to fires in an eight-cylinder, five-passenger Packard sedan. It is equipped with shatterproof glass.

Seattle, Wash., to Erect Fire Station.—Bids have been invited for the construction of a fire station in Seattle, Wash., estimated to cost $56,000. Plans and specifications have been prepared by Frank Baker, architect. The building will be three stories high, of fire-proof construction, covering an area of seventy-two by sixty feet. It will house Engine No. 17.

Eleven Montana Towns Standardized.—Eleven towns in Montana have had their fire hose threads rechased to conform to that of the National standard. Those standardized are Helena, Great Falls, Deer Lodge, Missoula, Stanford, Havre, Cascade, Anaconda, Boulder, Galen and Warm Springs.


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