59. Mr. DENNISS
asked the Home Secretary whether the Home Office has forbidden the Press (through the Press Bureau) to publish anything likely to promote the sale of dry-powder chemical fire extinguishers, on the ground that they are unreliable for controlling fires such as are likely to be caused by bombs; whether he is aware that, apart from fires that have got serious hold on buildings, such extinguishers are largely used as effective first-aid fire extinguishers for ordinary first-not caused by bombs, especially in the larger-sized houses in town and country; and whether it is the policy of the Home Office to prevent the sale of such first-aid fire extinguishers?
§ Sir J. SIMON
The warning referred to was issued because the claims put forward by the makers of certain of these dry-powder extinguishers were likely to mislead the public into believing that such appliances could be relied upon in preference to water as a means of extinguishing or controlling incendiary bombs and the fires caused by them. The Commissioner of Police had investigated the matter with the aid of a Committee of experts who 28 represented the Admiralty, the War Office, the Home Office, the Police and the Fire Brigade, and on 18th September issued a public notice to the effect that experiments so conducted were found to show that powder extinguishers are ineffective as compared with water for dealing with the fires in question; and that the danger of serious damage being caused by such fires would be greatly increased if the public relied on these appliances.
If they disclaim any right to advertise in regard to putting out fires caused by incendiary bombs and limit the advertisements to their present useful purpose, will the right hon. Gentleman allow their advertisements to appear again?
§ Sir J. SIMON
I do not think that any prohibition has been issued, but rather extravagant advertisements are to be deprecated, especially in cases where a panic might be caused if a bomb were dropped.