Evening Post, Rōrahi CXXXII, Putanga 142, 12 Hakihea 1941, Page 6
cbMPULSORY ON ALL'
The "Compulsory Fire Protection of Buildings" required by Section 16 of the Emergency Corps Regulations is to be applied in Wellington at once. These regulations call upon owners of city buildings to install equipment for first-aid fire fighting, and upon occupiers, tenants, and persons employed in buildings to serve as fire guards within such buildings during periods of emergency. A commencement is to be made at once. There are difficulties in obtaining equipment of the types recommended as standard and most effective, and improvisation must be resorted to in the meantime. Fire guards are an internal "house" organisation/additional to the fire sections and wardens and patrol sections of the E.P.S. They are to be organised within the particular building (or group of buildings, as in the case of small shops) to assist in safeguarding the particular building; their job will be inside their own buildings. They will serve only during emergency periods, and, of course, training periods. A hurriedly-called meeting of business men discussed the requirements under the chairmanship of. Mr. S. S. Dean, chairman of the Wellington Fire Board, in the Council Chamber yesterday afternoon. A further meeting is* to be held on Monday afternoon, after which a more detailed statement will be made, particularly as to types of equipment. The compulsory fire protection provisions apply to all buildings within the central business area, to buildings where important wartime and national interest industry is carried on, and to buildings which because of their size or situation would be likely targets. Many firms in the city area have already made some provision of equipment, but few have as yet done anything effective in organising internal fire watchers. This is the immediate task for owners and occupiers to undertake, with the co-operation of their staffs. Inspections of all Government buildings have been made and much additional equipment is installed and being installed. The fire guard will be called upon only if emergency comes: therefore fire-watching staff should be selected from members of staffs living within 15 minutes' distance from their premises. Girls and women are quite competent to undertake fire-watching duties.- As members of the E.P.S. (in which they will be enrolled in the ordinary way) fire-watchers will give their services freely, to safeguard their city and their own livelihoods as well as buildings and properties. OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE. The Superintendent of the Wellington Fire Board (Mr. C. A. Woolley) attaches the greatest importance to this internal fire staff organisation. It is, he said today, the first safeguard, against desolating fire should this city be attacked. He cited the disastrous weekend early in the London blitz when, through the weekend absence of fire watchers from their posts, premises were unguarded, and a multiplicity of small fires, which could have been dealt with by first-aid action, joined to build a conflagration that swept the heart of London. "The immediate need is to organise fire guards within each building to watch each building, and to make what i is the best temporary provision of; first-aid fire fighting equipment until standard equipment can be obtained. "Get in sand, shovels, and rakes, bucket pumps if they can be had, and ordinary half-inch hose with spray and jet nozzles for each floor. Fill up buckets and bedroom jugs if you can get nothing better, but get down to it." So, also, Mr. Woolley regards firstaid fire fighting in every home as essential to the safety of the individual and the city, so that trained brigadesmen may concentrate, upon fires which, have gained a hold or upon fires which j have passed beyond usual control and! may have to be fought by isolating groups or blocks by dense water curtains. The broad plan of operation, said Mr. Woolley, was for spotters to watch the fall of incendiaries and bombs, for floor wardens to direct patrol and suppression of small fires jon their floors, for the house warden to supervise the whole. Should a fire get out of hand, the chain of information and assistance would pass out from house warden to street patrol, to fire patrol, to E.F.S. and the full-time brigadesmen. "The first 60 seconds of any fire can decide the loss of a building or 10 blocks of a city," he said. Though it was not possible, within the urgency of time, for the officers of the brigade to undertake the inspection of all buildnigs, said Mir. Woolley, all possible assistance and advice would be given. When house fire guards were selected, courses of instruction would be given at the Central Fire Station to house wardens and other leaders, who would pass on that instruction to other members of their' guards. NECESSITY TO IMPROVISE Thousands of bucket pumps of standard pattern are on order, but supplies from overseas are delayed and seriously upset. Some hundreds of thousands of feet of half-inch rubber hose are also on order; there is, however, a considerable stock in the city. Incendiary bombs can be fought with either sand or water. Sand is obtainable from every warden's post and in larger quantities by arrangement with the corporation depot at Maranui. telephone 17-017. It must be obtained by the individual, who must take his own bag or container. There is neither time nor transport to make possible businessto-business and house-to-house delivery. People must help themselves. Incendiary bombs can be fought also with a water spray. A water JET must NOT be used on an incendiary bomb. A water jet or bucket „of water canj be used on other than the incendiary bomb itself. The spray and jet have obvious advantages in suppressing small fires in .stacked goods and points unreachable. The recommendation is that both sand j and water first-aid fire-fighting equipment be installed on each floor. Hose lengths of 30 feet are recommended to fit ordinary taps. The standard A.R.P. small hose nozzle switches from spray to jet by turning a cock. As these are not available in quantity one of the several garden hose spray-jet nozzles may be used, or a jet created by finger pressure. It is futile to bewail that standard I equipment is not available. Sensible and adequate and simple improvisations are the practical steps. When the further meeting is held next Monday the loose ends will be to some extent tied up. Meanwhile there are three days in which each owner and occupier and his staff can get together and plan and select their internal fire guard organisation. Shop fire guards could volunteer or be selected tonight