Imagine a time (and that time was 1906) when people had to be convinced that having electric pumps to supply water for firefighting was a good idea. In case the advantages over handpumps or getting a steam-operated pump up to pressure weren’t obvious, The Insurance Press in 1906 felt the need to print the New York Edison Company’s thoughts on why electricity was a good idea:
Claims Made for Their Efficiency in Fighting Fires.
Referring to the advantages of electric pumps for fire protection, the New York Edison Company claims:
“The electric pump is the only apparatus through
which it is possible to carry out any predetermined method for the
instantaneous supply of water during the earlier stages of any fire.
Plans regarding the organization of a boiler-room force may not be
followed; fires may be banked, re miring some time to get the full
pressure of steam; or the people in charge may be required, at the time
of the fire, to lend their assistance in putting it out. All this means
that the important matter of supplying water under the highest possible
head is being neglected.
“Not so with the electric pump. It requires no
human presence, no high-pressure steam, nothing but the fall of water
below a fixed point, in either the pressure or gravity tank, to provide
an inexhaustible supply of water for instantaneous application in
extinguishing the fire.
“Properly installed, such a pump, receiving its
power from generators located miles away, should continue in operation
long after it has been possible for any human being to remain in the
building. A large number of these pumps located over a given area would
be the source of protection, not only to the building to which they are
directly attached, but, in the event of necessity arising, would aid in
the suppression of fire in adjoining buildings.
“Circumstances are readily conceivable, under
which they might prevent a very widespread conflagration, and it would
be unusual, where so installed, to find that they did not greatly
restrict the fire losses.
“The insurance and
building laws of New York City permit the installation of electric
pumps on a par with steam-pumps. Formerly, steam only was specified,
But, keeping abreast of the improvements in this apparatus, the city and insurance authorities have both agreed that they were justified in making the change.”