This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
The attachment by which the horse is fastened to the stall is naturally not so secure as that which is found in an ordinary stable, and in order to prevent a horse from roaming about the stable should he become free from the fastening, a brass rod is fixed at the rear end of stall, hinged at one end and kept open by means of special indiarubber lined brass clips fixed to the heel post. The fixing of the manger presents some difficulty. It may be fixed to the door, as in Fig. 162, or where chopped food is used a small corner manger is fixed, which need not be of a great size, as in many cases the horse is fed frequently and with a fixed quantity.
In some cases it would be impossible to arrange the stables in the manner described above. The stall would then be arranged in the ordinary way, with one full-length manger, or manger and hayrack, according to whether chopped food was used or not. The horse would be fastened by chain and slip-buckle in the ordinary ring, and here again it would be advisable to have the brass rail at rear, which, if in a station where doors, etc., are opened by electricity, could be made to rise, and the horse trained to turn round and make its way to the engine. An ordinary wooden or galvanised iron chest would be placed in the stable for the storing of food, with a small cupboard in which to place brushes and other requisites for grooming purposes.
The harness requires little or no accommodation, as the horse is kept ready bridled, whilst the collar and traces are suspended, by means of rope pulleys and balance weight, over the engine pole. The collars have one side attached to the pole, whilst the traces are connected to the sway bars and collars; and when the horses are in position the collar is pulled down and fastened by means of a spring lock, and the reins quickly attached by means of a clip-hook. In many stations a spare set of harness is kept in case anything should go amiss with the patent collars, and a spare set of brackets would be essential where provision is necessary for the housing of some extra horses.
Where firemen live on the premises their progress is expedited by means of poles from floor to floor, placed in the centre of an open well about 3 feet square. Fig. 163 gives a diagrammatic plan at one floor, the hatched portion showing the floor level to which access is obtained by the door shown in dotted lines, and which communicates with the apartments on that particular floor. The pole a is fixed between this floor and the one above, and the man having slid down this pole springs on to pole b, which carries him one floor lower, and so on till he finally reaches the ground level. For safety's sake the poles should only be between two floors, as otherwise one man might be getting on the pole just as the man above was sliding past, which would have a very awkward result.
The enclosure to the wells may be part of the building, or, if outside, may be constructed of angle iron with galvanised corrugated iron sheeting. Care should be taken to have a safe fastening to the door, preferably out of a child's reach, as otherwise this well would become a great source of danger to the younger population. The poles are made of steel or brass, the latter being preferred as wearing better and becoming less greasy than the former.
In the engine-room itself very few fittings are necessary, - a fair amount of shelving to carry firemen's lamps, etc.; and ordinary japanned iron hooks on which to suspend scaling ladders extra to those carried on the horse escape. Where the firemen's uniforms are kept in the station, hooks are required, one in number being usually given to each man for helmets, uniform, and belt, and a pair of small hooks for the top-boots. Some officers are of opinion that it would be preferable to have an extra hook for belt and axe, but this is not customary.
Where a steamer is kept a canopy should be fixed in a suitable position to receive the steam and to carry it off by means of a flue or shaft, the necessary exhaust draught being obtained by a fan.
In fire station life the hose plays a very important part. In London stations a spare set is always kept. The number of lengths varies according to size of stations, but in one which was visited the steamer carried five lengths, the hose-cart three and horse fire escape five lengths, thus making thirteen extra lengths of hose to provide for. This is well and good where extra lengths can easily be obtained from neighbouring districts, but in provincial centres where this would be more difficult a much greater amount of spare hose is stocked, so that it is difficult to say definitely what provision should be made. It may be arranged to provide brackets for one spare set whilst the rest would be stocked on some strong and wide shelves.
When the hose has been used at a fire it is brought back to the station in a muddy and wet condition, and for its preservation it has to be well washed and dried. This may be accomplished on an ordinary concrete centre-drained floor, or in an underground tank, but preferably in a trough some eight inches below yard level, made to as great a length as is convenient and with a good slope. In this a supply cock is fixed with -waste pipe and plug, or else a special hydrant is made for this, where a draw-off cock is supplied. A hydrant should be provided in some part of the station, as in the event of a fire, where no hydrant was close at hand, the chief officer might find himself in the unenviable position of being unable to put out a fire on his own premises. The hose may also be hung up at some height and a hose played on it. One thing which must be considered is, that it is important that the hose should be washed without delay, and the washing place should be, as much as possible, sheltered from the rain.
For drying hose the escape tower is used, if such forms part of the building. A special tower is often constructed for the purpose, either solidly built of brick or stone (see Fig. 164), or else more economically of iron cased in with galvanised corrugated iron sheets. In any case the building should be well sheltered and liberally ventilated. Hose is also sometimes placed for drying in an ordinary open ironwork tower, the top platform of which serves as a look-out, but this would naturally prove far from efficient in case of rainy weather. If the station is heated by means of hot-water pipes, these may with advantage be utilised to provide heat to the hose tower, and, where the plan will allow of it, a useful device is to connect the hose tower with the engine-house by means of a sliding shutter, so that the hose can be drawn into the station without going outside. Hot air cupboards are also a good means of drying hose, but these should be made as long as possible, so that the hose may not be much bent.
The hose lengths are raised by means of double-blocks and ropes, and are carried on carriers known as "toggles," which in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade are made to carry one length at a time, but may be obtained of sufficient size to carry six lengths. A cord is fastened to the grooves at each end of toggle, and is connected to the block.