Editor’s note: The following historic editorial originally appeared in The Bulletin on March 18, 1919.
A city fire department has much the same job as a Chinese physician. In China, it is said, a physician is paid so much a year for the purpose of keeping his patients well. He gets no pay for attendance and advice in case of sickness, the compensation depending wholly on his success in maintaining the health of the family.
The analogy is not quite perfect since the only pay received by volunteer firemen is for services rendered when fires occur, but taking the department as a whole, and having especially in mind the preventive work laid out for the paid chief, it seems correct. At any rate, the best work that a department can do — if we may use an Irish bull — is to put out fires before they occur. And the money we spend to obtain such service is a good investment.
Today Bend, for the first time in its history, is having organized a volunteer department with sufficient equipment and training to make a good showing in case of a fire. In addition, it is getting frequent and careful inspection by an experienced man for the purpose of eliminating fire risks and educating the public to a proper degree of care.
On the part of the public there is a clear duty to co-operate in the campaign for fire prevention. Statistics show that there are 1,500 fires each day in the United States — for the most part preventable.
If we are to reduce our insurance rates, make our town safe, lessen our expense, we must eliminate our existing fire risks and uphold the hands of our fire department heads in their work.