WHAT ECONOMY DEMANDS.
The Boston Index very sensibly remarks, that so long as fires shall continue with the frequency and destructiveness of the past, it cannot be out of place to call attention again and ugain to the need of more care in the direction of the prevention of fires, in contradistinction to their extinguishment. We pay heavy sums annually for apparatus and men for the purpose of fighting fires after they once get under way, and call it economy so to do; but we should nevertheless not lose sight of the fact that it is economy only in so far as it is the best that can be done under the circumstances. True economy demands imperatively that that course should be adopted which shall cost the least and at the same time accomplish the most. Is that done when a policy is adopted which implies that nothing can be done until the fire is actually under way ? It should be remembered that fires are expensive luxuries, aside from any cost that is involved in their extinguishment or in maintaining a state of preparation for extinguishing them when they do occur. In point of fact, every fire is a destruction, greater or less, as the case may be, of accumulated wealth. That wealth is the representative of labor performed and resources expended, which, it once destroyed, can never be replaced. Their destruction is the real price paid for fires ; for whatever is paid for wages and other expenses of Fire Departments is not destroyed, but is simply diverted into other channels. It is therefore the real, rather than the apparent cost, that true economy would aim to reduce; and until we recognize this in practice, we can scarcely take credit for great practical wisdom in the matter.