If the experiments being carried on with motorcycles in connection with the Buffalo fire department prove as successful as claimed, motorcycle brigades may soon become a part of the fire-fighting forces of a number of the larger cities of the country.
A large proportion of fires originate in very small ways, statistics showing that about 80 per cent of alarms turned in are what the firemen call “lace curtain fires.” A trained fireman on the spot at the earliest possible moment, with a couple of chemical extinguishers as his fire-fighting ammunition, would often catch such a fire before it has time to develop into a serious affair, and it is for this purpose that the motorcycle equipment has been designed.
As is shown by the accompanying illustration (Fig. 1), the extinguishers are mounted in spring brackets on each side of the rear wheel of the motorcycle, enabling the operator to detach them quickly. The machine is also equipped with an automatic stand which takes care of itself when the machine is pushed off and resets itself when the fire is reached, also a loud alarm bell.
One of the machines has for some time been stationed at the Cleveland Ave. station of the Buffalo fire department, responding not only to alarms in its district, but outside as well. At nearly every alarm, irrespective of distance, the machine and its fireman have arrived at the scene of the fire before the other fire-fighting apparatus, several times extinguishing the blaze before the regular apparatus could get into action.
A motorcycle fire truck (Fig.2), exceptionally complete in its equipment, is used at the Beckenham fire station, London, for emergency work. The machine, which is three-wheled, has two seats, one for the driver and the other for the fireman; a fire extinguisher and hose, scaling ladders, and a “first-aid” equipment. The outfit can travel at a speed of 40 miles an hour, and has proved its practicability in rendering service before the arrival of the main fire-fighting apparatus.