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Spectacle Island Fire Regulations

Reproduced below are the regulations issued by the Naval Ordnance Officer, Spectacle Island. The date is not known, but internal evidence shows that they must have been issued no earlier than 1908 and no later than 1925.

                                                            SPECTACLE ISLAND.

                                                            FIRE REGULATIONS.


It will be the duty of all persons to use every possible precaution to prevent an outbreak of fire.

Matches are not to be carried about the Depτt under any pretence, any lights required are to be obtained from the Guard Room by means of a Lantern.

Smoking, except in authorised places, is strictly prohibited.

Any person detecting signs of fire is immediately to raise an alarm and also to do his utmost to suppress the fire, either by applying water from the nearest Stand-pipe, by use of Fire Buckets, or using one or more of the Fire Extinguishers if available on the spot.

On an alarm being given the Fire Bell is to be rung by the Constables on duty or anyone of the Police Guard in the vicinity of the bell. The Officers of the Depτt being personally notified if not actually on the scene.

On the Fire Bell being rung the Sergeant of the Police with the whole of the Constables available are immediately to proceed to the scene of the fire, former directing operations with existing Stand-pipes and Hoses, utilising the services of any workman at or near the place.

                                                            STATIONS

                                          According to the Position of the Fire.

POLICE GUARD DUTIES. HYDRANTS.
Constable…………………………………………………… 1. – A. B. or C.
Constable…………………………………………………… 2. – A. B. or C.
Constable…………………………………………………… 3. – A. B. or C.
Constable…………………………………………………… 4. – A. B. or C.
Constable…………………………………………………… 5. – A. B. or C.
Constable…………………………………………………… 6. – A. B. or C.
Constable……………………………………………………
Constable……………………………………………………
Constable…………………………………………………… To attend Valve of Hydrant nearest to Fire.

Constable on duty in vicinity of Fire……………………………………………………………………………………

Six Hoses are stowed close to each Station, viz. :-

         “ A “ Station .. .. On Reel in Return Store.

         “ B “ Station .. .. On Shelf under covered way outside Isolation Magazine.

         “ C “ Station .. .. In Box Shed near Swimming Bath.

For use of the Steam Fire Engine, the Island will be divided into three stations at which sea water suction is always available, viz. :-

        “ A “ Front of Island .. .. Main Wharf.

         “ B “ Back of island .. .. Immediately adjacent to Boat Shed.

         “ C “ Back of island .. .. Immediately adjacent to Bath.

On the alarm of Fire being given each man stationed at the Fire Hydrants will proceed to his respective Hydrant, taking one Hose from the nearest Station and connecting it to the Hydrant Hose if necessary.

The spare men will fill up any vacancy and if not required for this duty will attend the Valves of the Hydrants.

The Sergeant of Police is responsible that these Stations are kept filled.

On the Fire Bell being rung, the Seamen, together with any workman employed in the vicinity of the Fire Engine House, are to run the Engine to the Station nearest the scene of the fire and act as directed.

The Leading Stoker is to get up steam on the Fire Engine, assisted by the Second Stoker and Chief Armourer.

In the absence of the Leading Stoker, the second Stoker or Chief Armourer will proceed to light up the Engine.

The Seaman (Boatman) assisted by the Coxswain of Steamboat will carry fuel and water for the Engine as required.

Additional Hoses on Hose Reel are to be at once taken to the scene of the fire by the Ordnance Storehouse Assistant (            ), assisted by the Magazine Storehouse Assistant (            ).

Storehousemen to see that all buildings are closed, windows and doors, Magazine Storehouseman taking south end and Ordnance Storehouseman the north end of the island, report being made to the Officer-in-Charge when this has been done.

Test-Room Assistant (            ) to take the Smoke-caps to the scene of the fire, stand by to have one adjusted on himself, having the second one ready for use by the Senior Constable of the Guard.

If the lighters are loaded, the Lighterman (             ) will stand by ready to remove them to the buoy if necessity arises.

Any working parties on the Island are to fall in, at the scene of the fire, under the orders of their Petty Officers and act as directed.

Naval Staff Clerks to collect records ready for removal, and see that Garden Island is informed by telephone immediately an outbreak of fire is reported.


                                                            During Silent Hours.

Any indication of fire is to be immediately reported at the Guard Room and the Fire Bell rung.

The Sergeant or Senior Constable on duty of the Police is to order all men on the Island to proceed to the scene of the fire, telling off two men to take the hose reel with them.

If the standpipes and hoses appear to be insufficient to cope with the outbreak, the Sergeant or Constable will detail men to run out the Fire Engine.

Garden Island is to be immediately informed of the outbreak of fire.


N.B.- Extract from Admiralty Letter G. 9349, 25/6/08 :-

“No amount of drenching will extinguish a box of Cordite when once it has taken fire, and efforts should in such an event be directed to preventing the neighbouring boxes from being ignited.”


In the event of a fire, or exercising Fire Stations, after the firebell has ceased ringing the (approximate) position of the fire will be indicated as follows: -

         One Single Toll of Bell .. .. .. .. “ A “ Station

         Two Single Tolls of Bell .. .. .. .. “ B “ Station

         Three Single Tolls of Bell .. .. .. .. “ C “ Station

An interval of two seconds is to be made between each toll.

Naval Ordnance Officer

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Robert Curran
borclaud @ tpg.com.au