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Columbia, Mo. A Monthly Supplement to the University Missourian November, 1914- -
Fighting Fires Before They Start M
The Familiar "Origin Observance of a Few
Unknown" May Cov- FIRE PREVENTION HINTS Simple Rules Would
er a Multitude of Sins By Earl Kurtz, Chief of the Columbia Fire Departnunt. Reduce Fire Hazard
of Carelessness. There are a million suggestions for preventing fires, buc the best to Minimum. m
two are: Be careful and be cleanly.
A spark neglected makes a mighty fire. All fires are the same
prevention has received much still read of homen burning from
size when they start.
attention in the last few years. these causes.
But most of the prevention has It has been said of fires as of births two-thir-
of them occur
at night. If the average person can not look X-3
been on paper and on the one day in at fire prevention in any other light,
In England beer has been used frequently to extinguish fires
the. year set aside as "Fire Prevention when water was scarce, but don't forget that Columbia is a dry town. he should see it from the business
Day." side. Manufacturers, for instance,
As Earl Kurtz, chief of the Colum-
It is not the great fires that account for the great loss of property,
but the moderate ones. realize that the installation of the
bia Fire Department, says, "It is no Many fires are caused by spontaneous combustion, and some few sprinkler system means lower in-
more logical to try to prevent all the by friction; for instance, rubbing a $50,000 insurance policy against surance rates. Fire prevention Is
fires on one day than it would be to a $25,000 building. good business. ;.SS
set aside one day on which all the Oily rags, waste, oil mops, etc., ignite spontaneously. AH the time a man tolerates fire
fires In one city would be fought" To prevent flues from burning out and setting fire to the roof, hazards about his premises he raises
It is through the simple application throw- a quart of coarse salt or zinc chips in the furnace at least once the rate for his neighbors. When he
of simple means that real fire pre- a month during the winter season. cuts down the risks to the minimum
vention may be effected. Many "ifs" In permitting a child to handle matches or a gasoline or oil he lowers the rate on his own proper-
and "ands" and "don'ts" can be laid stove you risk the life of the child as well as your property. ty and also on that of his neighbors.
down for the householder, but com- Beware of alcohol stoves. They are all dangerous.
mon sense must play its part, too. There was a time when Columbia
Electric irons should be handled with care. The current is. fre- property was among the poorest risks
The first step toward safety is fire
quently left on when they are not in use, and a fire results. in the state. Conditions have im-
escapes. In this respect Columbia
Never let light globes come in contact with any material highly proved somewhat, but further im-
does not live up to the state laws.
inflammable. provement is needed.
Hidden Fire Escapes. Don't rely on your own judgment to locate fire hazards. Call Fire prevention is "safety first" "rOE
A few fraternity and sorority the fire department. and the application of common sense.
houses in Columbia have rope fire Firemen are merely human beings like yourself and occasionally
escapes. Recently Chief Kurtz was make mistakes. Give them the benefit of the doubt '3
on a tour of inspection of the Univer- Have your premises inspected once a year. The Columbia Fire FOR NON-SMOKE- RS
sity and fraternity buildings. In Department gives this service free of charge.
one sorority house he asked the ma- Do you know how to turn in a fire alarm properly? If not, you John B. Powell, instructor in ad-
tron if they had fire escapes. She should be arrested. That is the treatment that is given in the Euro- vertising, tells a story about a cloth-'In- g
merchant who used to be here;
assured him that they had, but she pean countries. Their fire loss is 33 cents per capita, compared with
did not know where they were. They $3 per capita in this country This merchant had never learned to
were there all right in an unused smoke, and It was always a great sad-
room, heaped full of trunks. ness to him to have to refuse a good
In another sorority house the matron cigar.
of the mysterious origins. next morning an oil mop became ig- $'.,
said that she had no Idea what con- was talking to a furniture dealer nited spontaneously in the home of One day he had dined especially
dition the basement was in because one day about spontaneous combus- a University professor. well with a salesman. The meal fin-
it was so dirty she hated to go into tion. The dealer was skeptical he ished, the customary cigar was being
it. In this house was a large e,
flre-p'rc- Rats and Matches. bought as they left the hotel.
didn't think there was any such thing. Rats often gnaw matches. Thous-
from which the ashes were A short time later one of the employes "I don't smoke," said the merchant.
dumped through a trap into the base- was polishing a table with an oiled
ands of fires have started from this Then he hastened to add:
ment. There was waste paper lying rag. He threw the rag aside when
one cause, and yet people keep
"But if it's all the same to you,
all around where the ashes fell and matches where rats can get at them.
he was through and it fell on an- I'll take a lead pencil."
n the same room were many wooden Mr. Kurtz has an exhibit of gnawed
other table. Soon the rag was burn-
boxes. Above the boxes were the stairs. ing in the center of the table. The matches in his ofllce. He has a hand-
Had a fire broken'out in this house owner saw and Relieved. ' Then he ful of pine "gnawings," from THIS IS THE LIFE
all three flights of stairs would have matches, which rats have gnawed
told his employes it would be worth
been burned in a few minutes. the job of any of them to leave an right up to the heads. Even sqme Frank G. Harris, state senator
Just a second's thought on fire pre- oily ag lying around. This busi- of the heads a"re half gone. elect tells of a Missouri farmer, who, .
vention would have removed these ness man is now practicing fire pre-w;nti- Ashes and littered basements reap In the distribution of patronage at
fire hazards. their harvest of fires. Ashes them- the state capital last year, was given
"Origin unknown." How many times Another man throws an oily rag selves are not so dangerous as the a position as house policeman. '3S
we read this in the newspaper ac- in a closet In an hour or so he old boxes and waste paper found in At home the farmer was a man of 1
counts of fires! It covers a multi- smells smoke. After hunting for the the average basement Coals are rak- plain manners. When he returned af-
tude of sins. The owner of the fire several minutes he opens the ed out of the furnace and a few roll ter the weeks spent at Jefferson' City m
building says the fire might have closet door and flames 'shoot out farther than the rest The few roll he greeted his friends with the ele-
been started by rats gnawing matches Mr. jKurtz says that one of the on some paper; a blaze follows. vated society handshake. They asked
or by spontaneous combustion, smok- worst fire hazards is the oil mop. Such "Origin unknown." him where he acquired the habit
ing ashes, defective wiring or several a mop should be kept where there is Almost anyone knows better than The farmer tried to explain the
other things. no possible chance of combustion. to fill a gasoline stove while it Is "new life" to them: "I'll tell yoo,
Sir. Kurtz can tell dozens of stories . Only a few days ago he was warning lighted, and knows he should not boys. When you're in Jerome you
about fires that.started from any one some friends of this danger. The start a fire with "kerosene. But we have to do as Jerome does."
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