and conscious of the possibility that a like tragedy may strike his family, his home, his place of business, or may otherwise have a direct effect on his well-being. But it is regrettable that the enthusiasm is all too short-lived. Except in such cases where there is an immediate and direct effect, the occurrence is soon forgotten.
Because of the numerous fires in which mass destruction of life has occurred, the concern of the public is at present aroused to an extremely high pitch, and we of the fire service are besieged with inquiries as to what measures are being taken in our communities to avoid the tragic experience of the stricken localities.
In many instances various demands for immediate action are being made upon public officials. Therefore, it is most appropriate that we are assembled here in Washington on this occasion, and it behooves us to direct our endeavors toward keeping this spirit of cooperation and enthusiasm alive until such time as the rising trend is halted, reversed, and reduced.
The rising trend of fire losses is not wholly the fault of the fire protection services, public officials, or any of the various organizations having direct economic interests in such losses, though each does have its own weaknesses. The major fault apparently lies in the fact that too few individuals have been made to realize that regardless of our station in life, we each have a responsibility in the scheme of American social and economic structure. Therefore, essential cooperation is lacking.
The vast number of fire chiefs attending this Conference is concrete evidence that the public fire protection services are ready to do their part and discharge their duty in every respect. However, in many instances fire departments are sorely handicapped due to insufficient personnel, obsolete and unreliable apparatus, worn-out fire hose, and personnel discontented because of inadequate rates of pay, undesirable working conditions, unsuitable quarters, and lack of modern appliances for the extinguishment of fire and for the protection of the firefighting forces.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs and other firemen’s organizations are wholeheartedly behind this Conference, and we are confident that the reports of the various committees will point out ways and means by which the present difficulties may be overcome and fire prevention made a reality.
I wish at this point to commend the secretaries and chairmen of the various committees for the wonderful job that they have done in assembling the reports of their respective committees. While we do not agree wholeheartedly in everything that they have covered, nevertheless, as a fire chief, I wish to say that there will be something come out this Conference that will benefit the entire nation.
I would like at this moment to again announce the meeting proposed for this evening for the fire chiefs. Yesterday the announcement was made to those who are members of the International Association. However, the meeting is intended for all fire chiefs. The meeting will be in the United States Chamber of Commerce Building at Connecticut Avenue and H Street at 8 o’clock. We hope to have a good attendance. The meeting is one of unofficial nature, but we do feel that it gives us an opportunity to point out what has been going on among the officers of the