Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/179

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Popular Science Monthly

��Vol. 90 No. 2

��239 Fourth Avenue, New York City

February, 1917

��$1.50 Annually

��Safety Searchlights For Firemen

Fire rescue operations simplified by the use of a new lamp which gives the fireman the free use of both hands

��IT is obvious to anyone familiar with fire-fighting that a lighting equipment which will enable the fireman to see his way in a gas and smoke-filled room and at the same time allow him a free and un- obstructed use of the hands and arms would meet with instant favor. At the present time the fireman uses a simple oil- burning torch or acet\'lene lamp which he carries in his hand. His efficiency as a fire-fighter is, of course, greatly lessened, since he has the free use of only one hand.

A new searchlight tested by the Cincinnati fire de- partment and now adopted as a part of the standard equipment of that depart- ment, may yet supplant the torch and acetylene lamp. The lamp is strapped on the back of a fireman. The burner or lamp extends above the fireman's head, and an extension allows of adjustment, so that the fireman can direct the rays of the lamp in any direction desired. The device weighs thirty-two pounds.

The searchlight is intended to be of greatest service in fires where rescue work has to be carried on. The fire- man equipped with it has his arms free to use as he wishes. In entering a burn- ing building where the dense smoke makes it impossible to use a small light, the new lamp would be of great as- sistance. It cuts a clean swath of light through the densest smoke, permitting the members of a rescue squad to carry on their work with safety and dispatch. The drawing on the opposite page

���The new lamp is fastened on the back of a fireman with a strap resembling suspenders. The burner extends above his head

��vividly illustrates the use of the new lamp by firemen carr^-ing on rescue operations in the hold of a ship where the smoke and gases are particularly thick. Fortunately, the hold is high enough to permit the fire- men to work with the new lamps without bending their backs to clear obstructions. The fireman in the foreground can thus climb the ladder with a suf- focated boy in his arms — some- thing which would be extremely difficult to do were he obliged to hold on to a hand lamp at the same time.

The principal objection to

the lamp is found in its

excessive height. In New

York, for instance, most

fires of a gaseous and

smoky nature occur in

cellars with ceilings so low

that the firemen are obliged

to crawl instead of walk

in them. This is especially

true of sub-cellars, which

are so low as to eliminate

at once the use of such

lamps unless the wearers

are willing to undergo the

inconvenience of constantly

bending their backs.

On the other hand, it is said that no lighting ap- paratus ever will take the filace of the hand lamp for the reason that it is, after all, the most convenient means of directing a ray of light to a desired spot in a minimum of time. True, the new lamp can be focussed in any direction, but not until the man wearing it reaches behind his head and adjusts the arm. Another objection to the 'new lamp is that falling objects could easily sever the lamp from its stem.


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