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Wednesday Afternoon Session - page 30 / 67





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can only promote more and bigger fires.

Summing up, I think we have some real spade work to so on a long range program which will include the following:


Local communities must assume and discharge their full share of responsibility for administering and enforcing fire safety.


To assist in bringing this about, State fire marshals must devote a major effort toward organizing and improving local controls.  This will involve education and training of local inspection personnel both in standards of fire safety and inspection technique.


The start must be made now.  Cities and villages must begin to take over their ordinary inspection work and build up from there.


Chambers of commerce and civic groups must take a realistic view of the fire problem and regard it as a matter of major consequence.  Their interest and support are necessary.


We can rely on the press and radio to build public sentiment if there is adequate leadership for the program.

I hope it will be the consensus of this Conference to promote, sponsor, and endorse the principle of enforcement of fire safety legislation at the local level.

Chairman Fleming.  Mr. Craig, we appreciate that address very much.  You have really given us something to think about there, especially this idea of taking fire prevention out of politics.  On the local level we must look for support and guidance to our municipal law officers.

I have the privilege of presenting Mr. Herman C. Wilson, president of the National Institute of Municipal Law Officers.  Mr. Wilson.  [Applause.]

Mr. Herman C. Wilson.  General Fleming, ladies and gentlemen, when a lawyer gets up to talk, particularly when that lawyer is a public officer, you have a right to fear and probably expect that you are going to hear a long talk.  I am going to surprise you in that respect today.

As spokesman for the city attorneys of the nation and our national organization, the National Institute of Municipal Law Officers, I want to go on record as stating that we are 100 percent back of President Truman in the objectives he has stated for this great Conference on Fire Prevention.  We city attorneys fit into this picture because we write the building codes and other ordinances which govern fire prevention programs in the cities of this country, or at least we lend a legalistic touch to the technical knowledge provided by the engineers, building officials, fire chiefs, and other experts in this field before such codes and ordinances receive the final approval of our city councils and mayors.

You are all aware of the fact that a city can only do those things specifically authorized by charter or by statute.  A city government is, in fact, just a vast mass of legal powers designed to further the public health, safety, and general welfare.  Fire prevention regulations are certainly an exercise of these powers.  That they are vital to human safety is a fact which no court can deny.

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