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A new fire truck of the type that we deem proper to protect life and property costs in the neighborhood of from $25,000 to $30,000 and when you have a volunteer fire department, which is subject to the whims of its, shall I say, customers, to support it, $25,000 to $30,000 comes very hard.
So that any attempt to reissue surplus Government property which would help us and help reduce our expense of operation would be a tremendous boon to us.
Mr. Lund, in speaking for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, made the remark that he was interested in education almost primarily
However, the type of equipment that we would use seems to me to be slightly removed from the province of education.
To pick up a quota of tarpaulins and things of that nature-surplus generators, for example, to give our firehouses emergency power service, as happened last winter when our department was out of electricity for some 2 or 3 days.
These things when made available to us would be taken care of. It: would reduce the storage problem, and we also ought to say something about accepting gear from civil defense.
In Montgomery County, all of our departments are adequately trained and have training programs under the University of Maryland fire service, and we have been able to get a little—and I would like to emphasize the word "little"-help through the civil defense.
But we found-we have found out already that the acceptance of this property has, well it should be a little dramatic to say delivered us into the hands of civil defense; we think we are the original civil defense, the volunteer fire services.
We go when the first bell rings.
So in order to have to wait for the civil defense department to get its redtape into organization has held us up more than once already.
We are the first to cooperate with them, but we are also rather independent. Of course, the average American citizen is never dependent or anything like that. But I think volunteer firemen are more so than most, otherwise we would not go out in the dark hours or the stormy nights and risk our lives and lose them.
I do not want to get carried away with myself but asking me to talk about volunteer fire department is like turning on the spigot and throwing away the handle.
I have been one for over 20 years; the fire department of which I. have the honor to be the president has been in existence for 34 years. We have what we consider first-class equipment but, as with everything, we are always short with the things we need.
We need more hose. We know such hose is available to us under the surplus-property program.
We need such things as electric generators. We need what might be called squad equipment, such as used in a hurricane type of disaster.
We can use lots of stuff that is or could be available to us under this program. We do not think it would be in competition with other programs as put forth by Mr. Lund's department.
So I would like to speak for our over 1,200 firemen-one other thing before I go away from the thing altogether.
It might interest the committee to know that it costs the 16 volunteer and semipaid departments in Montgomery County approxi
mately $850,000 each year to operate, and this money has to come from our communities, and in some cases our taxpayers. Some of our companies are allowed a small tax support, something in the neighborhood of, let's say, 10 cents a hundred dollars assessed valuation for the record in some cases.
Others are still dependent upon voluntary contributions. And, if we have to spend nearly a million dollars, any other equipment that we can get would help us tremendously in holding down this expenditure of funds.
I realize that surplus property has already been bought and paid for by the taxpayers and I cannot see any better use for it than to be passed on to people such as the volunteer fire departments and rescue squads—I do not want to omit them because their service is important to life.
Mr. McCORMACK. Well, aren't they a part of these volunteer firemen?
Mr. THOMAS. In many cases, yes.
In Montgomery County it so happens we have two independent rescue squads operating alongside the volunteer fire services reasonably peaceably in most cases.
So I would like these things that I have said to indicate that we would like very much to see a bill such as this proposed by Representative Hyde and his—the other bills presented by his coworkers, become a part of the law of these United States.
Mr. MCCORMACK. Any questions, Mr. May?
Mr. McCORMACK. Anybody else appearing here in favor of the fire fighters bill?
Mr. Nimitz. We have three gentlemen here from one of the Virginia counties. I asked Mr. Broyhill to send some representatives.
They may want to make a statement or observation in light of the proceedings here this morning.
Mr. McCORMACK. Any of you gentlemen want to say something? STATEMENT OF FERRIS FILLEY, PRESIDENT, DUN LORING VOLUN
TEER FIRE DEPARTMENT, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA. Mr. FILLEY. My name is F. B. Filley. I am president of the Dun Loring Fire Department and also president of the county association.
It might be said at that moment and I could say it that I represent 18, 19 volunteer fire companies, over 1,500 men.
This problem has not been taken up with them but I am sure they would agree with me, after trying to buy surplus material at Fort Belvoir and Fort Myer, Camp Meade, and other places like that in competition with other people, and not getting it frequently, and as the gentleman says, not having the money so frequently, because it comes in dribbles of 25 and 50 cents and a dollar and frequently nothing at all, and the engines costing what they do, it would certainly be a welcome thing if we were permitted to get this equipment through this program.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF G. B. ROBINSON, CHIEF, BURKE VOLUNTEER FIRE
DEPARTMENT, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA. Mr. ROBINSON. My name is B. G. Robinson. I am chief of the Burke Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., at Burke, Va. I am heartily in favor of the bills that are before the committee and I hope they may be enacted into law.
If they are enacted into law, or one of them is enacted into law, it will certainly be, I think, a great help to the volunteer fire departments.
My department is 1 of the 18 fire departments in Fairfax County19, I should say, including Falls Church—to which they responded to 1,985 alarms of fire last year, in the year 1957.
As you have already been told, new fire-fighting equipment is extremely expensive, and as now set up in Fairfax County each department has to have as a minimum one 500-gallon-per-minute pumper and one auxiliary piece of motorized equipment.
The auxiliary equipment is used generally for fighting ground fires.
Mr. Lund has mentioned the scarcity of surplus equipment for fire departments. I have with me, Mr. Chairman, a copy of a sales catalog issued October 1956 by the Harlan Supply Co. at Los Angeles, Calif., which on its last page—and I will hand you this shows a picture of a surplus fire truck, a 500-gallon pumper in good condition, military units released by government after minimum usage, all motors and pumps tested and guaranteed, 1941 GMC, 500-gallon-per-minute pump, and 1941 Chevrolet high-pressure hardy, $1,750. For further information, send for truck list.
Mr. Chairman, I believe this would be indicative that there may be equipment available that could be used by volunteer fire departments. My friend from Montgomery County has mentioned generators. That is an item that is badly needed in most fire departments in these areas, heavy generators about which we could maintain power and communication when normal services are disrupted.
Trucks such as illustrated in that catalog would be very beneficial to volunteer fire departments for fighting ground fires.
We hesitate and dislike very much to take a piece of apparatus that costs us maybe $15,000, $20,000, or $25,000 down through a wood road to go on a hillside to protect a ground fire or to extinguish it. Equipment of that kind and we have one piece which we paid $190 for, an old truck, down at Fort Belvior. We put a tank on it, mounted a midship pump, equipped it with radio, and had it painted, and it is in service today. It has meant the difference between success and failure on the fire ground on several occasions in my department.
I would like very much, indeed, as would the other fire departments in the country, to see a bill such as is before this committee made law. I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Nimtz. Mr. Alexander would like to say a few words, Mr. Chairman, if he may.
Mr. McCORMACK. I will hear him.
STATEMENT OF MILTON ALEXANDER, FIRE COMMISSIONER, FRAN
CONIA FIRE DEPARTMENT, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA.
Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Milton Alexander, and I am a representative of the fire commissioner of the Franconia Fire Department.
I am a member of the Fairfax County Fire Commission of Franconia Fire Department.
One of my functions on the fire commission is chairman of the equipment committee. It was found necessary a few years ago to establish this committee to bring the standards of the fire-fighting equipment up to a point where it would be dependable and ready to use at all times.
This committee at various times finds itself with the problem of replacing worn, outdated equipment, and it would be a big help to all the fire departments if they could get some first-class surplus firefighting equipment.
I think the expenditures of Fairfax County alone last year to replace some of their equipment was in the neighborhood of $150,000.
Mr. Robinson just told you about some of the surplus equipment that they had purchased through Fort Belvoir and other agencies.
We also have the problem of replacing, pumps, small appliances, items like that, which we feel can be obtained through surplus lists, and would save us considerable amounts of money instead of going out in the open market and buying them.
I think this bill would be a big help to all the volunteer fire departments in my State.
Mr. McCORMACK. Well, thank you.
I notice the next bill 'is H. R. 9522 introduced by Congressman Keating. (H. R. 9522 follows:)
(H. R. 9522, 85th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to
authorize the disposal of surplus property to certain welfare agencies Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That paragraph (1) of subsection (j) of section 203 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (40 U. S. C., sec. 484), is amended by inserting immediately after “or for research for any such purpose" the following: “, or for utilization by welfare or recreation agencies". SEC. 2. Paragraph (3) of such subsection (j) is amended
(1) by inserting immediately after “or for research for any such purpose" the following : ", or for utilization by welfare or recreation agencies”;
(2) by striking out "and (B)” and inserting “(B)”; and
(3) by inserting immediately after “Internal Revenue Code of 1954” the following: ", and (C) welfare or recreation agencies”. SEC. 3. Paragraph (2) of subsection (k) of such section 203 is amended
(1) by striking out “or” at the end of subparagraph (D);
(2) by striking out “law,” in subparagraph (E) and inserting in lieu thereof “law; or”; and
(3) by inserting immediately after such subparagraph (E) the following:
“(F) the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, in the case of property transferred pursuant to this Act to welfare or recreation agencies". SEC. 4. Such section 203 is further amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection :
"(p) As used in this section, the term 'welfare or recreation agencies' means tax-supported or tax-exempt welfare or recreation agencies which serve people in institutions and in groups, but in the case of any such agency which is a taxexempt voluntary agency, includes only an agency which meets at least one of the following criteria
“(1) such agency is licensed by a State standard-setting agency;
“(2) such agency receives funds through a State or local community fund or similar federated fund-raising body; or
(3) such agency is affiliated with, or is a part of, a national standardsetting organization." Mr. McCORMACK. Without objection the statement from Congressman Dennison from Ohio will be inserted in the record at this point.
(Statement of Congressman Dennison follows:)
STATEMENT OF HON. DAVID S. DENNISON, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Mr. Chairman, first, permit me to thank you for your kindness and courtesy in permitting me to appear before you today on behalf of H. R. 11115 which I introduced some time ago.
As you know, this bill proposes to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to permit the donation of surplus Government property to volunteer fire-fighting organizations.
We have, throughout this country, literally thousands of volunteer fire-fighting organizations which are protecting the lives and property of millions of our fellow citizens. These volunteers work without pay and give unstintingly of their time and courage in the performance of their duty. In many cases, particularly in the State of Ohio, volunteer fire departments must rely upon their own fund-raising techniques to obtain the necessary money with which to purchase fire-fighting equipment.
It has been my thought for a long time after observing the volunteer fire fighting organizations in my own 11th Congressional District of Ohio and witnessing the efficiency and the devotion with which they apply themselves to their task, that their burden could be in some measure lifted, that the lives and property of our friends could achieve in some measure greater protection, and that this Government could be granted a method of disposing of surplus property in a fashion which would be of value to every American far in excess of the intrinsic value of the property itself.
Mr. Chairman, all of these objectives can be accomplished by permitting the General Services Administration to deliver, without cost, except for costs of care and handling, such equipment, material, books, and other supplies as have been declared surplus.
Since I introduced this bill, Mr. Chairman, I have received literally hundreds of communications from grateful firemen and grateful volunteer fire departments in my district in support of this measure.
I know that there are other similar bills which have been introduced and which are being heard before your committee, and I would like to state at this point that I have no particular pride of authorship and that my sole concern is that this measure, or a similar one, be acted upon favorably by your committee as soon as possible so that the matter can be given consideration on the floor of the House before adjournment and so that the spirits of those who guard our homes, although already high, can be given added encouragement, and we can say to our volunteer fire fighters in our own way “Well done.”
Mr. McCORMACK. Without objection, other statements will be inserted in the record as members desire to have them inserted in the record.
(The documents referred to follow :)
(Statement of Congresswoman Blitch follows:) STATEMENT OF HON. IRIS FAIRCLOTH BLITCH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA Mr. Chairman, I have received numerous requests in recent years for assistance from welfare and recreation agencies of my district which were in need of surplus Government properties.