WOMEN LOSE THEIR HEADS AT FIRES, SAYS CHIEF JOHN B. KENNEDY
Fairer Sex Seldom Remain Cool When House Is In Flames Few Men Let Nerves Get Best of Them
“THE burnt child dreads the fire,” said Chief John B. Kennedy, of the Augusta, Ga., fire department, “and so do all women,” he continued in an interview with me recently. Chief Kennedy, the bale and hearty director of the Augusta fire department, has noted that women become more frantic than men during a fire scare.
“Women lose their heads and become uncontrolable at such times; they seem unable to speak intelligently, and thinking only of the danger they are in, make a wild rush for safety. Of course, none of us want to get injured, but most men keep their heads, realizing that there may be others who are in danger as well as themselves, and often perform acts of heroism in their attempts to rescue the other fellow. Why, only a few days ago when a small fire broke out in the General Office Building of the Georgia Railroad, we had great difficulty in climbing the stairs on account of the mad rush of the women coming down. I had hard work to keep from being knocked down the moment I entered the stairway.
“The men clerks, on the contrary, when they discovered trouble, coolly set about to find the flames by tracing the source of the smoke. Some made their way to the exits in an orderly manner. Not one of them clogged the stairway when they saw us trying to ascend. That is typical of the two sexes as I have always found it,” said Chief Kennedy.
“I was told a few days ago,” continued the chief, “that a western newspaper printed a statement that women were more courageous during a fire than men. Well, 1 don’t want to hurt the feelings of the ladies, but I simply do not believe it. It does not seem reasonable to begin with. It’s not expected that w-omen should show the nerve and bravery that men do. They are differently constituted; their nerves are always higher strung than those of men.”
Chief Kennedy called attention to the difference between men and women when sending in an alarm by telephone. “When a women calls us over the phone,” saaid he, “she screams out something that sounds like this: ‘This is Mr. John Doe’s
house. It’s on fire; come quick!’ Up bangs the receiver, and w-e are left with no directions other than the heuse-owner’s name. And yet they wonder why the fire department does not respond more promptly, having given us this valuable (?) information.”
“Here is how a man would send in a telephone alarm: ‘Fire headquarters? The house at 5678 Which street, is on fire. Five-six-seven-eight, Which street.’ Then we have something definite to work on, and usually accomplish the extinguishment of the fire, because we make a quick response. No siree, women are not cooler than men under such circumstances, and he who says so has not had much experience in handling a fire where women are present.”