WORK OF PROVIDENCE FIREMEN DESCRIBED BY CHIEF T. H. COTTER
All Men Called Out for Service During Hurricane— Department Active in Work With School Children
AN account of the activities of the Providence. R. I., Fire Department during the hurricane of last year is contained in the annual report of the department made by Chief Thomas H. Cotter to the City Council.
On that particular day, the first call for help came at 2:30 p.m., because a tree had blown across a street, and from that time on. and while both telephone and fire alarm boxes remained in service, every piece of apparatus was called into service. Of the 836 fire alarm boxes, 497 could not be operated because of the damage to boxes and circuits.
All Platoons on Duty
On the morning of September 22, both platoons remained on duty. The Chief was besieged by business men, who requested that their cellars be pumped out.
The department is made up of 24 hose companies, 12 ladder companies and one salvage company. The personnel consists of 472, plus six civilian employees.
While there was an increase of 25 in the number of building fires, the number of false alarms decreased by 93.
The response of fire companies on box alarms for the past year was 1,200 firsts; three second-alarms; one third-alarm and one fourth-alarm; 124 special signals; 1,601 still alarms, and other small alarms to make a total of 2,976.
Monday was the heaviest day for fire alarms, with 520 calls coming on Mondays; Friday was the lightest with a total of 347 alarms on that day. Twentytwo building fires (the least) occurred during the month of June, and 65 broke out in September, the heaviest month.
A duplicate of the famous dummy “Charlie McCarthy” was used to preach the department’s fire prevention message. The figure was dressed in a fireman’s uniform, was wired for sound, and connected to a record which had such sound effects as sirens and bells. This act, plus lectures and playlets, were given before the children of all parochial and public schools.
How to Handle Electricity Safely
A series of educational lectures by a member of the department in conjunction with a teacher of electricity in the science course, brought good results. An electrical panel of three boards was constructed and showed the proper manner to handle electricity safely and intelligently. The department hopes to fit these lectures into the regular program for both Junior and Senior High Schools.
Fifty-three calls for the inhalator were received, and in 40 of these, the department was able to save lives. The men also donated 56 blood transfusions.
Chief Coster recommended the restoration of the Fire Prevention Bureau. because, with the exception of some work performed by three members, the feature is decentralized. With the entire bureau operating from headquarters, the Chief would be able to supervise the work more efficiently.
A number of changes in company locations were also recommended.