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in the defeat of the bill permitting the sale of wild bird plumage in New York; the defeat of a bill authorizing spring shooting of ducks on Long Island; in securing the $20,000 appropriation for the starving elk in Wyoming; in enlarging the Waterton lake, park and game preserve now being formed in Southwestern Alberta.
To the Camp Fire Club belongs the sole credit, outside of Congress, for defeating the proposed twenty-year renewal of the Fur Seal, Killing lease on the Pribilof Islands. Much of the credit for that public opinion which forced the treaty stopping pelagic sealing. When the fur herd is, through complete protection, restored to something like its old numbers, the country will have the Camp Fire Club to thank for fairly snatching that herd from the jaws of complete annihilation.
To Dr. Hornaday, our great leader, is due the famous Bayne-Blauvelt bill—the greatest single piece of game protective legislation ever enacted by any state or country. Think of it; that bill absolutely prohibits the sale of all wild game in the State of New York. The lion's share of the campaign work incident to its passage was done by members of the Camp Fire Club. How well it was done you will realize when I state that the bill passed with only one dissenting vote in the whole legislature; and how it was done when I say that upwards of 30,000 letters were written asking senators and assemblymen to support the bill. The passage of that bill was the turning point of the war between the army of destruction and the army of preservation in New York state. I must not leave this subject without a tribute to Governor Dix of New York, without whose hearty cooperation and steadfast support we would have been helpless. In spite of great pressure by selfish interests he stood like a rock and has fully redeemed the ante-election pledges of himself and of his party. Let his name be written in the Conservation Temple of Fame. So much for the past. For the future: 1st. We propose to keep everything we have gained. 2d. We have arranged for Gifford Pinchot and Overton Price to visit the Adirondack Mountains, study the situation and make a report which will make possible sound, seasonable legislation for “Scientific Fire Protection," “Scientific Reforestation,” “Scientific Care of Existing Forests,” Legislation which combines sane utilization with sound conservation. I wish you all could have seen the cheerfulness with which Pinchot and Price responded to the request of the club that they undertake this work. The club is, at the request of the New York State Conservation Commissioners, to cooperate in a complete codification of the state game laws. This we hope will result in a series of stringent but reasonable laws; simple, plain, readily enforced. Laws which the National Conservation Congress will be proud of and can safely recommend as a model for other states. This is largely work in one state only, but it is wise to clear your own door yard before preaching sanitation to your neighbors, and with the heam removed from our own eye, we can the better see how to remove the mote from our brother's. Outside of New York we propose: 1st. To push Bavne-Blauvelt bills in the North Atlantic states for stopping the sale of game. Thus striking at the root of game slaughter is far more effective than attempting to police the army of market hunters or any other method of trimming the branches. 2d. We shall agitate ceaselessly for the complete protection of the fur seal. 3d. We shall do what we can to put life into the Migratory Bird Bill, which has been in congressional cold storage for so many years, and to promote a migratory fish bill. 4th. We propose to urge upon states—even upon counties—the formation of bird, game and fish refuges, one of the most effective methods of game protection. 5th. We shall hold ourselves in readiness to further any and every sound proposition for the conservation of this country's natural resources, whether animal, vegetable or mineral. And now having finished my report, permit me a few words of indictment and a few words of appeal. The National Conservation Congress and Association heretofore have practically ignored wild life. Infinite and detailed attention has been given to lands, minerals, water and forests, and the Camp Fire Club is with you in all these, but are your halls so narrow, your boundaries so confined, that you have no room for the great cause of wild life protection ? Do you realize that in New York state alone there are nearly 150,000 active gunners; in Pennsylvania over 100,000, and that even a two shot gun does not satisfy them?
The laws in all states are so liberal to the killers and so hard on the game that wild life is swiftly vanishing.
The commercial interests of gun-making, game selling and feather working are terribly destruct?ve influences. No wild species can stand exploitation for commercial purposes. In every case it spells extermination. Look backward at the millions of bison, fur seal, passenger pigeon, pinnated grouse and Florida egrets. Where are they all? Exterminated to fill the cash boxes of greedy men. How much longer is Christian civilization, how much longer are you going to stand for such things? In birds alone six species are absolutely extinct, thirteen more nearly so. Our states are spending millions to fight insect pests whose increase is due chiefly to the decrease of bird life. How can it be stopped 2 By your efforts, those of the Camp Fire Club and other organizations. There must be a pull, a long pull and a pull all together. The majority of the American people are conscientious, humane, just and merciful toward all creatures; once arouse that majority and it will right any wrong. The protection of wild life requires a campaign of education and publicity; given these, legislation will follow as light follows the sun. Congressmen and legislators will do the right thing if they are asked to do it often enough and hard enough by the people they represent. We do not appeal to this Congress as sportmen or in the interest of sportsmen; but for the millions of men, women and children who love the outdoor life and who do not shoot at all. We therefore ask for two things: 1st. A broad definite recognition in your platform organization and proceedings of this great branch of the conservation movement. Ws ask a standing committee on wild life protection. 2d. Your coöperation, collectively and individually. Bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, blood brothers, the Camp Fire Club, true of heart, clear of hand, eager in support of all you stand for, calls to you. Come over into Macedonia and help us.
PREVENTABLE FIRE WASTE: CONSERVATION EFFORTS
By a Committee of the National Board of Fire Underwriters.
In each of the previous national assemblages of this character the National Board of Fire Underwriters has been represented and has earnestly endeavored to portray the enormity of the preventable fire waste of our country and its retarding effect on our national growth and prosperity. With each annual meeting of our organization, statistical information has been prepared and furnished to the public and press, setting forth the tremendous money value in property which was being annually destroyed by fire throughout our country. As an aid toward convincing our people that a vast amount of real wealth was being wiped out of existence annually by preventable fires, our committee on statistics and origin of fires, by the aid of the Federal Government, secured figures of the fire loss in European cities and countries, which were compared with the fire loss of the cities of the United States and the United States as a whole and reduced to a comparison of the loss per capita. These ligures were published by the National Board of Fire Underwriters in 1906. The comparison was so startling as to attract very wide attention and gave activity to the fire conservation movement. The Geological Survey, through its technologic branch, investigated the fire loss and the cost of fire protection in the United States in 1907, and published Bulletin 418, known as “The Fire Tax and Waste of Structural Materials in the United States”—a pamphlet most impressive in the facts presented and irrefutable in its arguments. We quote a section : “The investigation disclosed the fact that the total cost of fires in the United States in 1907 amounted to almost one-half the cost of 'new buildings constructed in the country for the year. The total cost of the fires, excluding that of forest fires and marine losses, but including excess cost of fire protection due to had construction, and excess premiums over insurance paid, amounted to over $456,485,000, a tax on the people exceeding the total value of the gold, silver, copper, and petroleum produced in the United States in that year. The cost of building construction in forty-nine leading cities of the United States reporting a total nonulation of less than 18000,000 amounted in 1007 to $661,076.286. and the cost of building construction for the entire country in the same year is conservatively estimated at $1,000,000,000. Thus it will be seen that nearly one-half the value of all the new buildings constructed within one year is destroyed by fire. The total fire cost in this country is five times as much per capita as in any country of Europe. This fire cost was greater than the value of the real property and improvements in any one of the following states: Maine, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Louisiana, Montana. “The actual fire losses due to the destruction of buildings and their contents amounted to $215,084,709, a per capita loss for the United States of $2.51. The per capita losses in the cities of the six leading European countries amounted to but 33 cents, or about one-eighth of the per capita loss sustained in the United States. In addition to this waste of wealth and natural resources, 1,449 persons were killed and 5,654 were injured in fires. “The total loss on buildings in the United States was $109,156,894 and on contents $105,927,815. There were fires in 36,140 brick, iron, and stone buildings, with a loss of $31,092,687 on the buildings and $37,332,580 on the contents, and in 129,117 frame buildings, with a loss of $78,064,207 on the buildings and $68,595235 on the contents. In cities and villages with a population of 1,000 or more there were 6,324 fires that extended beyond the building of origin, with a total exposure loss of $13,913,694. The loss on fires that were confined to the building of origin in the cities and villages amounted to $93,179,589.” The records of this board here with subjoined show to what extent our fire loss has increased almost yearly since 1875.
| Aggregate Aggregate Aggregate Year. Property Loss. Year. Property Loss. Year. Property Loss. 1875 $78,102, 1S87 $120,283,055 1899 $153,597,830 1876 64,630,600 1. 110,885,665 1900 160,929,805 1877 68,265,800 1889 123,046,833 1901 165,817,810 1878 64,315,900 1890 108,993,792 1902 161,078,040 1879 t 77,703,700 1891 143,764,967 1903 | 145,302,155 1880 74.643,400 1892 151,516,098 1904 229,168,050 1881 81.280,000 1893 167,544,370 1905 165,221.650 1882 84,505,024 1894 140,006,484 1906 518,611,800 1883 100,149,228 1895 142,110,233 1907 215.084.709 1884 110,008,611 1896 118.737.490 1908 217.885,850 1885 102.818,706 1897 116.354,575 1909 188.705,150 1886 104,924,750 1898 130,593,905 1910 214,003,300 |
The fire insurance interests have carried on an aggressive compaign for the reduction of our discreditable fire losses and have been foremost in suggesting practical and reasonable remedial measures. At the First Conservation Congress a paper on “The Fire Waste in the United States” was presented by this board and upwards of 12,000 copies were distributed to state and municipal authorities and to the press. We quote the causes then set forth as operating to make the large fire waste in the United States. “First: The difference in the point of view and the responsibility of the inhabitants of Furope and those of the United States. “Second : The difference in the construction of buildings. “Third : The difference in the regulations governing hazards and hazardous materials and conditions, and in the enforcement of such regulations,” And suggested as essential means toward its reduction : “First : That the public should be brought to understand that property destroyed by fire is gone forever and is not replaced by the distribution of insurance which is a tax collected for the purpose. “Second : That the states severally adopt and enforce a building code which shall require a high type of safe construction. essentially following the code of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. “Third : That municipalities adopt ordinances governing the use and keeping of explosives, especially inflammable commodities and other special hazards, such as electric wiring, the storing of refuse, waste, packing material, etc., in buildings, yards or areaways, and see to the enforcement of such ordinances. “Fourth. That the states severallv establish and support the office of fire marshal and confer on the fire marshal by law the right to examine under oath and enter premises and to make arrests, making it the duty of such officer to examine into the cause and origin of all fires and when crime has been committed requiring the facts to be submitted to the grand jury or proper indicting body. “Fifth : That in all cities there be a paid, well disciplined, non-political fire department adequately equipped with modern apparatus.
“Sixth : That an adequate water system with proper distribution and pressure be installed and maintained. In the larger cities a separate high pressure water system for fire extinguishment is an absolute necessity, to diminish the extreme imminence of general conflagrations.”
At the Second Conservation Congress a paper on the “Conservation of Utilized Resources from Destruction by Fire” was presented by us and about 13,000 copies were widely distributed. We quote a section:
“If the office of State Fire Marshal were created by every commonwealth, and that official and his deputies given power to enforce good fire prevention laws, investigate, and, if necessary, prosecute cases of arson or criminal carelessness in the starting or spreading of fires, ascertain the cause of every fire, and by the distribution of literature educate the citizen to the need of care and forethought in the protection of his property, a distinct conserving of the utilized resources in that state would follow.
“If our municipalities will enact and enforce improved and safe methods of building construction and cause the removal or reconstruction of existing structures which constitute, because of their construction, a menace to adjoining properties, our cities will be freer from the imminent conflagration which now threatens them. Eliminate defective chimney flues, unprotected external and internal openings, excessive areas, weak walls, and combustible roofs; prohibit the storage of rubbish and demand the safe use and handling of dangerous inflammable liquids and oils; regulate the use of explosives; and the destruction of our values, created from the natural resources but enriched many fold by human toil, industry and skill, will be materially diminished.
“If the citizens of a community, as members of their local civic bodies and boards of trade, will create in such organizations a Committee on Fire Prevention, whose duty it shall be to study the subject and awaken among their associates a realization of individual and communal responsibility, and if our boards of education will emulate the action of the State of Ohio in prescribing primal education of the school children as to the chemistry of fire, the causes of fires in our homes and how to guard against them, and how to extinguish incipient fires or hold them in check while awaiting the response of the fire department, a preparation will h; made in that community which will check the constantly increasing fire waste.”
This organization has not been alone in its efforts in this direction, neither has there been an entire absence of activity on the part of state and municipal authorities.
The National Fire Protection Association, of which the National Board of Fire Underwriters is an active member, has through some of its members, but principally through its secretary, delivered forty-two addresses on the fire waste in thirty-one different cities. At the annual meeting of the association held in New York in May last, it adopted the following resolutions, urging upon the public the vital importance of better construction and protection, and of a greater care in the maintenance of property: “The National Fire Protection Association, with all the force at its command and with the absolutely united and unanimous support of its entire membership, wishes to place before the public in the strongest possible terms that the situation in connection with the fire waste is becoming so acute that there is necessity for action. ... “Action by all cities and towns in adopting, proper building codes, which will call for improved conditions and the use of fire resisting construction in congested districts. “Action by the state and municipal authorities covering the regulation of the transportation and storage of inflammable oils and explosives. “Action by those in authority to the end that all buildings where people congregate, such as schools, theaters, factories, and hotels, shall be so constructed and equipped that the lives of the people within them may be safeguarded. “Action by the proper authorities requiring the introduction of automatic fire extinguishing apparatus in all commercial establishments and city blocks, “Action by the proper authorities prohibiting the manufacture and sale and use o the snap match and requiring the universal adoption and use of the safety match. “Action by the public in bringing about a safe and intelligent celebration of Independence Day, and, above all, “Action by every citizen of the land in using his individual effort in the cause of educating the public in regard to the dangers from fire, not only in so far as it applies to the personal and immediate consideration, but also from the broader standpoint namelv : that of the welfare of our land.”
At the same, meeting the Association was honored in being addressed on “The Fire Waste” by the Hon. Walter L. Fisher, Secretary of the Interior, from whose remarks we quote:
“Indeed, I do not doubt that the average intelligent citizen of the United States is aware of the fact that fires in America are comparatively frequent. He undoubtedly appreciates in a general way that a large percentage of our fires are from preventable causes, and that the sacrifice of life and property through loss by fire is, much of it, needless. What he does not fully realize is his own duty, and the duty of city, state and nation in the premises. He understands as yet but vaguely the significance of that change of public sentiment which has made of the movement for the conservation of our natural resources. He glimpses but dimly how great an obstacle to human progress and to human happiness is needless waste, whether it be in the use we make of the products and the forces of nature, or the productions and the energies of men. If the justification of private property is that it tends to promote the common good through increased energy and increased efficiency, which is the antithesis of waste, then the broadest application of the principles of conservation should extend to our created as well as our natural resources, for in the last analysis the loss by fire of a city building owned by an individual will be just as important to the people of the United States as the loss by fire of timber in the public domain. Both the building and the timber are assets of the Nation. If they are destroyed these assets are wiped out. No system of taxation will serve to bring them back, whether this tax be collected by the constituted authorities under the law, or collected by private interests as premiums on policies of insurance. In either event, the taxation is paid by the owners of property and it is ultimately borne by the community as a whole. Reforestation costs money which must be levied through taxation in some form. Rebuilding a dwelling house, or a business block, or the business district of a city, costs money, a large proportion of which under insurance methods is assessed against property which has not burned. It is the people who pay. whether they own land or buildings or other things of value. It follows thus that the question of fire waste is of direct pecuniary interest to every citizen. Bevond the individual pecuniary interests, there is also the obligation of each citizen to his fellows to so protect his property and conduct his affairs as not to endanger the lives and property of his neighbors.
“It is the duty of organized society to protect its members in life and property. But organized society, it is clearly shown, has been remiss in its duty. The obligations of municipal, state and national government have not been met.
“It takes the force of public opinion to accomplish any reform, and your association should receive hearty aid and encouragement, for through it much of the educational work which is a prerequisite to any successful agitation may be accomplished. There is a real and vital necessity for teaching each citizen of the United States the significance of the national fire waste. The truth in regard to our national ash heap should be brought home to each person having a family to protect and property to preserve.
“It seems ridiculous that a people so apt and so eager to seek out and destroy the mysterious, and hidden enemies of mankind should be so slow and sluggish in fighting a foe so plainly in sight and so readily vanquished. We have led the world in seeking out the causes of pestilence and removing them. We are in the very vanguard of the battle against tuberculosis, typhoid and vellow fever, and still we stand apart and let the older nations lead the fight against an enemy much more easily conquered.
“To arouse the people against the fire foe is our task. If there were any dispute as to the facts, if anyone opposed a movement to check the fire loss, the American people might, more readily, become partisans of this movement which you are leading. But there is no difference of opinion regarding the essentials. The average American citizen would admit that our fire waste is in the nature of a national disgrace. The task is to make him do something to remedy conditions. You must popularize your movement and create a general demand for adequate laws and thorough enforcement. To relieve the people of the unnecessary burden which they are now carrying, you must teach them the importance and the significance of that burden. You must show them the necessity for a defence against this common enemy. Organized methods must be adopted for bringing the significance of the fire waste before every person who will read the written word or listen to the spoken one. Let the people once realize the exact facts of their own negligence, and they will be swift to provide the remedy." The Western Union, an organization of insurance companies operating in the • Middle and Central West, has carried on, by public speeches of some of its mem