WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE CARRIED ON AUXILIARY SQUADS
The Auxiliary Squad, as it is generally known, is now an important factor in the fire service of many cities and as it generally covers a larger territory and responds to a greater number of alarms than the other apparatus it follows that its functions at fires would be of a different nature. Before we attempt to say what equipment should be carried, it might be well to ask ourselves the question—What duties can the squad with its limited carrying capacity and its long range of speedy action best perform? As the squad arrives at a large number of fires before the other apparatus it might be well to ask ourselves another question,—What is our first duty upon arriving at a fire? We will answer the second question first by saying that our first duty at fires is to preserve human life. This being so, the squad should carry certain life saving apparatus. It would not be convenient to carry ladders of sufficient length to reach several stories, but pompier ladders might be carried and the larger departments might find it practical to do so. It is sometimes impossible to reach people who arc trapped in a burning building with ladders of any kind owing to the nature of the fire and in such cases there is only one thing left for them to do if they can reach a window and that is to jump into space. In order to break the fall of persons who jump from high altitudes life nets of many different designs have been brought out and it would, therefore, seem that a life net should form part of the equipment carried on the squad. It might become necessary upon arriving at a fire to enter the building for the purpose of rescuing persons overcome by smoke and this is generally very difficult for the best of men to do without some protection and therefore one or more smoke protectors or oxygen helmets should be carried. These helmets or protectors may also be used to advantage in locating incipient fires in smoky places. Persons who have been injured at fires either way. The squad can carry men to rc-inforce other companies working at a fire and for this purpose it should have as many men as possible assigned to it. The squad can also extinguish a number of fires by nipping them from burns, cuts, bruises, fractures or suffocation must have immediate medical attention and for that purpose a complete first-aid outfit should be carried. In cities where buildings are of great height and particularly where these are of quick burning construction, as in the case of wooden grain elevators, flour mills, etc., where persons may become trapped in the top of the building, beyond the reach of ladders and at such a height that a life net would not break the fall, a life gun and life line should form part of the equipment. We might answer the second question in this in the bud, so to speak, and for this purpose a 35or 40-gallon chemical tank with about 200 feet of chemical hose and two or more extinguishers of the smaller kinds might be carried to advantage. Being on the ground at most fires the squad might be able to do a certain amount of salvage works and for this purpose waterproof covers should be carried. Smaller tools, such as door opener, wire cutters, hose shut-off, rubber gloves, electric hand lights, cellar nozzles, hammers, wrenches, chisels, screwdrivers, etc., should be carried so as to have these on hand when needed. Other useful tools might be carried if the size of the car would permit. In addition to what has been stated above, I might suggest that the men assigned to the squad should be trained so that they would be able to work with any company in operating at fires and should also be given special training in rescue work. A well equipped auxiliary motor wagon manned with a well trained crew is therefore an important factor in the fire service.
•Paper read at Convention of Wisconsin Paid Firemen’s Association, Marinette, Wis., Aug. 3-5, 1915.