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THINK OF THESE THINGS.
if in a dry time and a gale of wind, has become a conflagration, and as at Portland, Chicago, and Boston, acquired a power which the engines cannot control.
No one who reads this chapter can fail to perceive that the means by which buildings may take fire have been increased much more rapidly than those for arresting the fires. We know that fires are best managed if instantly attacked when small; yet we so arrange our fire fighting systems that they cannot be thus attacked. We say “a stitch in time saves nine," and then do not take the stitch. We say “ Light blows kill the devil,” but do not strike the light blows; that " a short horse is soon curried,” and wait until our fires are full grown; that “ delay makes the danger,” and then always delay. Is it not better to give more attention to this important subject than to wait until more cities, God only knows which they may be, are destroyed. THINK ON THESE THINGS! And thinking, act upon them.
HOW TO PRESERVE LIFE FROM DESTRUCTION BY
SINCE the great fires of the two years past the press has teemed with plans, some wise and many unwise, upon the question of how to prevent fires. But very few words or thoughts for the protection of life from the same danger, have been presented. And yet the value of a life, that is a life worth preserving, cannot be weighed in the same scale with houses and warehouses.
In the large cities and towns, costly means are provided for fighting fires, and many thoughtful persons have provided extinguishers and small engines for preventing them. But neither the large or the small engines can be of any use for saving the life of persons whose clothing has taken fire from the dangerous oils in common use, or from matches, or from stoves or open fire-places.
And yet a knowledge of how to instantly apply means to be found in every house, would prevent almost every catastrophe of this kind. There should be a hearth-rug if possible in every room in the
PROTECTION OF LIFE.
house in which a fire is kept, an .overcoat in the hall, and blankets or woolen bed clothing in every bedroom in the house.
The first great requisite of safety is that the person whose clothing has taken fire should not lose his presence of mind. Throwing one's self upon the floor and wrapping a rug or blanket or overcoat about one, would occupy two or three seconds, and the danger would be over. son for lying down is, that then the flames burn quite slowly towards a vital part, but almost instantly while standing upright.
If persons awake in the night and find the room filled with smoke, they should get out of bed and creep with the face as near the floor as possible to a door or window. A room may be so full of smoke as to suffocate any one standing up, and be perfectly safe to breathe in, a few inches from the floor. Mr. Braidwood relates the following incident upon this subject :
" A fire had broken out in the third floor of a house, and when I reached the top of the stairs the smoke was rolling in thick heavy masses, which prevented me from seeing six inches before me. I immediately got down upon the floor, above which for the space of about eight inches the air seemed to be remarkably clear and bright. I could distinctly see the feet of the tables and
other furniture of the room ; the flames in this space burning as vivid and distinct as the flame of a candle, while all above the smoke was so thick that the eye could not penetrate it. The fire had already burnt out of five windows in the apartment, yet when lying flat on the floor, no inconvenience was felt except from the heat.”
Never reënter a house on fire from which you have escaped for anything of trifling value. Nothing but the life of some of the family should tempt you to do it; and not then until you have coolly measured the danger. Many lives are lost in the attempt to save others. If you do attempt to save a life, recollect the following rule of the London Fire Brigade. “He (the Superintendent) never allows any man unaccompanied by another to enter a building on fire.” The loss of life in the Boston warehouses is a lesson on this subject. Stores and their contents may be constructed or purchased. Life cannot.
THE DANGER FROM LAMPS.
There should be special laws prohibiting the sale of oils made of benzine and similar dangerous substances, which mixed with kerosene is the cause of the loss of so much life and property in the United States. A lady who is careful of and anxious for the safety of her family, said to me, “I
asked for Downer's oil, and was told they did not sell it. They, however, had a safe oil which would not explode. They poured some of it into a plate, and lighting a match, they put it upon the kerosene, which put out the fire on it.” And so she supposed she could use it with perfect safety. This experiment is performed all over the country as follows: A fellow of no learning or character sets himself up in the oil business. His stock in trade is a barrel of benzine and a gallon of kerosene oil. His oil is a famous new chemical discovery. It will burn more quickly, give more light, and is more safe than any other, as it is made on PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES! And you cannot explode it if you try to do so all day. Then the oil is poured on the tin pan or plate, the match applied to the fluid, and of course the fire is extinguished. Now for the mystery. Benzine does not explode, but the vapor which rises from it does. When the benzine is poured upon the plate the vapor passes off into the air safely. When it is gone, the match is applied with the aforesaid result. But when the dangerous oil is in a lamp, the vapor in the lamp cannot find its way to the air, but fills the lamp above the oil. Now we have the flame of the lamp over the vapor. If we blow the flame down to the vapor, or so shake the lamp as to force a tiny stream of the vapor up to the flame, or the