Makes It His Business to See That Fire Department Is Properly Equipped and Manned— Two Platoon System Is a Great Improvement

Chief Jeremiah McGill, Trenton, N. J.

THE great advantages of having a director of public safety who co-operates in every way with the the chief and the members of the fire department is set forth in the following article by Chief McGill. He emphasizes how this fact works toward efficiency and contentment among the members of the fire department:

I cannot too greatly extol the advantages of having a director of public safety who does not merely think of the possibilities of fire disaster, but who acts and provides apparatus and equipment with which to fight this enemy and who co-operates in every way with the fire department to protect the lives and property of the citizens of Trenton which are entrusted to his care and to ours. This official is George B. LaBarre, director of public safety of Trenton, who has a way of accomplishing things. Among other things he has provided us within eighteen months with six new 1,000-gallon AmericanLaFrance triple combination cars, which provides a total of nine out of ten engine companies with triple combination cars, the tank operating as a steamer company and having a 1,000-gallon steamer. Another official of the city who, like our director, is a man of the foresighted type, is Deputy Director of Public Safety Harry F. Kemler. Mr. Kemler’s interest and activity in the fire department has never waned, and he never loses the opportunity to improve its efficiency. Both are ever willing and alert to improve any condition existing, and this fact is an incentive for all members of the fire department to put forth their best efforts in every direction, and you may be sure we do it.

Chemical Apparatus and Ladder Trucks

Speaking of the fire apparatus of Trenton, besides those already enumerated we have, centrally located, a chemical engine equipped with four 40-gallon chemical tanks, the value of which cannot be over-estimated. As for hook and ladder companies we have one 75-foot aerial operated with gas-electric and a 65-foot aerial truck, the ladder being operated with air. These trucks are of the Couple Gear type. Our third truck is a 55-foot ground extension service truck.

Considers Two-Platoon System Great Improvement

In the spring of 1921 the fire department was placed on a two-platoon basis, the reversing of shifts occurring every third day. We consider the two-platoon system a wonderful improvement over the old plan of one day off in ever so many days. Not only an improvement from the humanitarian point of view, but also from the viewpoint of greatly increased efficiency. We have seven men to a shift or fourteen men to a company. The off-shift is like an army back from the firing line, but always ready at due notice to advance and get into the battle.

An Efficient Drillmaster

The regular company drills of the fire department take place periodically under an efficient drillmaster, and every member of the department is required to take part at some time. The work is done as actually on duty at a fire. The company which is drilling goes through its evolutions as if in service, the engine pumps being operated and water used under the various conditions which would exist at a fire. Raised platforms with openings at the top allow the observers to see just how distributors and cellar pipes operate. The proper manner of operating lines on ladders are practically illustrated. All truckmen are familiarized with engine company work and all hosemen made acquainted with truck company work. This method of giving the men work outside of their usual routine is kept up regularly, and in this way all are made capable of handling every piece of equipment in the department, and we have about all of the modern equipment that exists.

Besides evolutions, regular drilling is done on the drill tower with scaling ladders, life rope, hose maneuvers and life line and gun operations. Every fireman in the department has been made practically familiar with and capable of administering first-aid, the Schaeffer Prone Pressure method being used in cases of unconsciousness from gas or other fumes. F’ire Surgeon Phillip Douress took up this work by classes and now it is practiced regularly in every company and also at drill instructions. In the matter of drills Drillmaster Ervin Terry has opportunity to observe if all are keeping proficient.

How Inspections Are Made

Regular inspections of the city are made in factories and stores, and other places when necessary. These inspections keep places cleaned up very well. In many of our factories as for instance the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company and the rubber manufactories of which we have many, as well as many stores, we get wonderful co-operation, what with their sprinkler protection and their fire brigades and equipment.

Much more could probably be said, but these features for the intellectual operation of essentials in the fire department are the outstanding features of the whole. Only by eternally keeping at it in practice and by each member taking interest and becoming familiar with the various conditions existing and that might crop up at fires, can a modern fire department keep itself up to first position and fight deterioration which may come through carelessness or neglect in following up drills and instructions.

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