There is not much plumbing work in a fire-engine house, but what little there is differs so from the work in other classes of buildings that it will stand explaining in detail.
The plumbing work in fire-engine houses maybe considered as belonging to three distinct divisions. First, there are the fixtures for the comfort and convenience of the firemen; second, plumbing work required by the horses, and, third, the plumbing work necessitated by the fire-fighting apparatus.
As the men sleep on the second floor of the building all the usual comforts and conveniences in the way of bath tubs, shower baths, lavatories and water closets should be provided that would be found in any well-equipped club. In a certain sense the fire-engine house is a club where the men live and sleep, and the necessary toilet accommodations must be provided for their comfort. A good shower bath, or a needle shower and spray bath, will be found a welcome addition to the equipment. When the men return from fighting flames they are covered with perspiration from their own exertions and grime from the soot and ashes of the fire, and a good hot shower bath will be found not only grateful but quicker and easier for them to take than the regular tubbing. Of course, a plentiful supply of hot water will be necessary in a fire-engine house, and in addition to the shower bath there should be a regular bath tub. If there are over fifteen men attached to a house there should be a couple of bath tubs and water closets for their use. Enough lavatories should likewise be provided so that men will not have to stand around waiting for one another to get through washing.
For the horses, stall drains connected to the drainage system will be required, and besides the usual drinking troughs for the horses, outlets must be provided for attaching the hose so that the floors and apparatus can be cleaned. Floor drains will be required in the apparatus room so that water can be freely splashed on the floor without collecting in pools.
In fire-engine houses where steam engines are kept a water heater will be required in the basement to keep up the temperature of water in the steam engine to near the boiling point. While standing idle waiting for a call the fire engine is kindled ready to apply the torch and set the furnace going. If the water were allowed to cool, however, there would be no head of steam when a fire was reached. To overcome this difficulty a stationary boiler or water heater is provided in the basement of the engine house, and the flow and return pipes are connected to the engine by means of flexible or automatic connections so that water from the boiler will circulate freely through the fire engine, thus keeping the temperature almost at the steaming point and ready at a moment's notice for the start to a fire,,