WHAT AND WHO ARE THE BRITISH FIRE EXPERTS
FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING [of New York], in its issue of July 31, takes to task the Association of Professional Fire Brigade Officers of this country for having rejected at the recent conference the proposition that all paid chief officers of private fire brigades should be eligible for membership. “Can it be,” asks our New York contemporary, “that in England professional fire brigade officers arc jealous not only of the volunteer fire brigade officers, but, also, of the paid chief officers of private fire brigades?” We are not altogether surprised at the question. It will doubtless have puzzled a good many readers of the reports of the conference to know why objections should have been taken to paid chief officers of private fire brigades. We suggest, however, that the opposition was directed not so much against private fire brigade chiefs, whose claims may be considered later, as against the contention of the mover of the rejected resolution that all professional fireexperts should be eligible for membership. The conference probably recognised that to open the doors to all who come within the category of “fire-experts”—or claim to do so— would be to jeopardise the best interests of the association, and in refusing to pass a resolution which had this widening of the membership in view, the delegates acted wisely. The term “fire-experts.” as it is applied in this country, may not be understood by our American friends. It is a business term which covers a multitude of qualifications real or supposed, one only of which is a knowledge of fire-extinguishing methods and apparatus. A “fire-expert” is not necessarily an active fire brigade officer—it ntav be no part of his business to extinguish fires—and. hence, there is no reason why he should be admitted as a class to membership of an association of active firechiefs. On the other hand, there are very good reasons why he should not be able to add to his business qualifications that of “Member of the Association of Professional Fire Brigade Officers.”—Fire and Water, London.