THE EQUIPMENT OF THE PARIS FIRE BRIGADE.
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The Disadvantages of Control by the Military Authorities, Types of Engine in Use.
11—"HE Paris Fire Brigade i a military affair. It
is composed of a regiment of infantry, the Corps de Sapeurs Pompiers, lent by the War Department to the city for its protection. The administration of the brigade is entirely separate from the War Office, for it is really a depantment of the Prefecture de Police, and the staff of the brigade is under the immediate control of the colonel of the regiment.
There are certain disadvantages attached to the running of a fire brigade by the army in a country where conscription is permanently in force. The rank and file of the regiment are always going and coming, and as a result, when the Paris fireman has reached a high degree of efficiency. he is usually on the point of leaving for civil life, having completed his term of service. His place is taken by a fresh recruit whose training is about to begin. The Paris Brigade is quite efficient, however, in spite of this difficulty. Drill and discipline are far more strict in the Sapeurs Pompiers than in the average unit of the French army, and the training is of an intensive character. The officers and noncommissioned officers of the brigade remain permanently with the regiment.
With the exception of certain special long-distance motor fire-engines with closed bodies, the whole of the existing fire-fighting machines in Paris have been supplied by Messrs. Delahaye. The pumps are in most cases made by 8.0.M.U.A.
There are two standard types of fie-engine in use in Paris. The first is capable of delivering 120,000 litres of water an hour and carrying 14 men; • 160 metres of hose is carried on three reels. It is mounted on a 30 h.p. four-cylinder chain-driven Delahaye chassis. There are 82 of these engines stationed at the various depots in Paris.
The second type is a " first-aid " machine capable of delivering 30,000 litres of water an hour and carrying six men. This -engine is mounted on a 14 h.p. to 18 h.p. Delahaye chassis with chain drive. Stationed in Paris at the moment are 27 of these. There is also one special " first-aid " engine in Paris capable of throwing 100,000 litres per hour ; this machine is mounted on the 30 h.p. Delahaye chassis.
With regard to ladders, 27 of the ordinary lift-oft type are distributed amongst the various fire stations of the city. These are three-section ladders, the full height when erected being 60 ft. The ladders in question are all mounted on the 30 h.p. chassis; six men are carried on each vehicle. In addition to these, there are three mechanically operated ladders in use. These are also mounted on the 30 h.p. chassis, but the raising of the ladders is operated by engine power.
An electrically operated ladder is also in use at one fire station, and this reaches to BO ft. when extended.
One of the most interesting vehicles in service in the Paris Fire Brigade is the new long-distance engine for calls to the outlying suburbs. This machine, which has been produced by the S.O.M.U.A. firm, of St. ()nen, has o closed body and motorcar lines and accommodates 11 men, including the driver. The idea of the closed body is to ensure the physical fitness of the crew at the end of a long night run to a remote district in bad weather. The pump equipment of the engine is exceptionally powerful. Some 80,000 gallons of water can be delivered per hour by the pump, or over 1,300 gallons per minute, at a pressure of 85 lb. per sq. in. Five of these special fire-engines are now in use.
• The Salvage Corps is a comparatively small section of the Sapeurs Pompiers regiment. Seven Delahaye salvage wagons are run altogether. Twenty Delahaye lorries are detailed to the regiment as generalservice wagons for transport of all kinds and, in additiorn_a workshops lorry with powerful breakdown crane. There are also three staff ears attached to the regiment for the use of senior officers. These are fast open touring ears, also supplied by Delahaye. Finally, a number of .Rene Gillet motorcycle and sidecar outfits have recently been ordered by the brigade, and several of these are already in service. The machines are fitted with two-seated sidecars and they carry 'chemical fire-extinguishers. The total motor fleet of the Sapeurs Pompiers de Paris numbers at the present time 135 vehicles, but it is probable that this number will be increased very shortly by the addition of several new and exceedingly up-to-date appliances.
In addition to the above fire-fighting appliances, the brigade has four enormously powerful portable motor-driven suction pumps capable of exhausting 240,000 litres an hour.