WHERE SHOULD THE ASSOCIATION CONVENTIONS BE HELD?
No more important subject confronts the members of the International Association of Fire Engineers than the designation of cities where the annual conventions shall be held. It not only has much to do with the attendance, but it also has a bearing upon the patronage of manufacturers who make their exhibits. As far back as August 5, 1905, when the convention was held in Duluth, FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING called attention to this fact, and published a map showing the cities where the association had held its conventions, for the purpose of emphasizing the need of a more judicious selection. Herewith is another map revised up to date, which will give the reader the location from a geographical standpoint where the conventions have been held during the past thirty-nine years. What we have to say here is not prompted by any desire on the part of this publication to dictate where the association shall hold its meetings. Our aim is to work for the best interest of the International body of engineers, and that alone. It is hardly necessary to repeat what has been said so often that the sending of the convention to remote cities has invariably resulted in small attendances. It will doubtless be remembered by the older members that when the association met in Salt Lake City in 1896, there were but seventy-five chiefs in attendance, and no exhibits whatever. No further argument is necessary to prove that this course is a mistake that should be remedied at once. But how to correct it is a question that must be decided by the association. The old practise of permitting the convention to make the selection should be abolished, and a committee appointed to consider the matter with deliberation and then submit their action through correspondence to the members of the association with recommendations. As at present, there are several cities bidding for the 1913 convention, and the contest at Denver promises to be a lively one. New York, Montreal and Youngstown, each of which is eager to entertain the Fire Engineers, are excellent meeting places, and no doubt each will present its claims with all the force it can arouse. Perhaps there will be others in the field when the chiefs get together. The matter of decision will be a delicate one, and possibly may create a strife that will militate against the association’s interests. But this should not be the case, and it will not, it the various claimants waive their personal desires and hold the interests of the association above everything else. If there is a better way than the one above suggested for selecting the annual meeting places, this publication will be glad to announce it, and will give its heartv support to whatever may be the verdict of the International body. But it impresses us that a committee or board be appointed by the convention in session to look over the map of the United States and select the city that will be most accessible and available and then submit through correspondence, the choice, to the members for ratification, will remove the one great obstacle in the way of successful conventions in the future. But it is imperative that the matter should have the attention of the association at the Denver convention. Tt is a somewhat humiliating fact that in a country inhabited by one hundred millions of people with thousands of cities which pretend to cherish their Fire Departments in the highest regard as protecting agencies, to admit that this association has a membership of only about three hundred. It should have at least FIVE THOUSAND.