Division was held March 19, 1915, when initial plans were laid for the campaign (15). The first step was inspection of all theaters. It had been discovered that, should the seating capacity of a house be filled, patrons were allowed to crowd the aisles: that fire exits were not marked, and were often found to be blocked by discarded signs, packing boxes and other debris. An even greater risk was careless smoking back stage, amid thousands of feet of inflammable scenery, with nothing to separate the stage from the spectators except the so-called asbestos curtain which the fire marshal declared to be “not worth thirty cents.” (16 & 21)
Inspection of all garages, public and private, followed and places where oil was stored, the intentions being to compel owners to comply with restrictions as to building arrangements and to prohibit smoking at all times in such places (17 & 18). A check was made on the amounts of gasoline stored, the containers, and the manner of storage (19).
A city-wide building inspection program was outlined.
Portland was divided into
districts, with deputy fire marshals assigned planned for all buildings within the territory:
to each and a thorough inspection was every six months for residential districts,
schools every month, and down town buildings as often as it seemed work was carried on by the deputy fire marshals when they were not duties pertaining to the positions. They received no extra compensation
necessary. This needed for other (15, 20 & 22).
A school for fire marshals was organized with classes twice a week. Cause of fire and methods of prevention were studied. Lectures were given by experts in the handling of gasoline and combustibles, by experienced builders and masons, skilled electricians, and authorities on arson so that the men might become thoroughly familiar with what constituted fire hazards and informed as to how they could be eliminated (21 & 22).
School Children Appointed Assistant Marshals
Talks to school children on fire prevention were resumed. Realizing the influence of the average child in his home, Fire Marshal Stevens appointed as assistant fire marshal every boy and girl he was addressing (21, 22 & a4).
“When you go home tonight as assistant fire marshals,” he told them, “make a careful inspection. See if wood and other burnable material is piled around the furnace. See if there is moss on the roof, or if father throws the butt of his cigar in the wastepaper basket.” In the main the children took these appointments seriously and became an educational force towards fire prevention in city homes.
The children were repeatedly warned against the temptation of turning in false alarms. Notices of arrest--with penalty of a fine, or imprisonment, or both -- in the event of a proven false alarm, were posted at all alarm boxes. This effectually curbed this nuisance (11 & 14).
Attention was concentrated upon fire drills in department stores, factories, institutions and schools. It was found that this work was much needed (23 & 24). In the summer it