HC Deb 26 July 1915 vol 73 cc1941-3
10. Mr. COWAN

asked whether permission has been given to an Eastbourne manufacturer of powder fire extinguishers who is advertising his appliances for air raid fires, in lieu of the use of water as re commended by the Commissioner of Police, to describe his appliances as having been passed by the Board of Trade?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

No such permission has been asked for or given to any manufacturer.

11. Mr. COWAN

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the recommendation of the Chief Commissioner of Police that the public should buy only liquid fire extinguishers complying with the Board of Trade's and certain other specifications, and whether, having regard to the practice of His Majesty's Office of Works and the London County Council Fire Brigade discouraging the use of powder extinguishers for general purposes, he will consider the advisability of discontinuing the tentative acceptance by the Board of Trade of proprietary powder extinguishers on all shipping under his control; whether, in the event of powder extinguishers being still tentatively allowed, such limited acceptance of these appliances gives any powder extinguisher maker the right to use the Board of Trade's name in general terms; and, if so, whether he will take steps to prevent such use of the Board's name in the future?


The recommendation to which the hon. Member refers dealt with fire extinguishers for use on shore in the event of fires due to hostile aircraft. The employment of fire extinguishers on board ship is governed by different considerations, and, as at present advised, I do not propose to prohibit totally the acceptance under certain conditions of powder fire extinguishers as part of the equipment of passenger and emigrant ships. I doubt whether I can usefully take any steps with regard to the advertisements referred to, but I will consider the hon. Member's suggestion.

27. Mr. COWAN

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the various powder fire extinguishers on the market, and the manner in which some of them are erroneously described and advertised as reliable remedies against air-raid fires; whether he is aware that the contents of such extinguishers generally comprise merely powdered chalk, lime, ordinary bicarbonate of soda, or a mixture of these inexpensive ingredients, costing only a few pence, and that they are being sold to the public for as much as 5s. to 7s. 6d.; and whether he proposes to take any steps to protect the public against such unnecessary expenditure and misrepresentation1?


at the same time asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he has noticed that, whilst the advertisements of powder fire extinguishers have been less numerous and scandalous since the 28th June, such advertisements in recent Sunday newspapers and certain provincial newspapers still contain misstatements of fact as to their effectiveness for enemy aircraft incendiary bombs in distinct contradiction to the recommendations of the Metropolitan Police, which urge the use of water and sand or liquid extinguishers complying with certain specifications; and whether some action will now be taken to protect the public against this form of trading on their credulity or ignorance of the police warning?


I understand the composition of the powders used in these extinguishers is substantially as described. In reply to the last part of the question, I would refer to my reply to a question by the hon. Member for Wigan on 28th June, to which I have nothing to add at present.


asked the Home Secretary whether, seeing that national funds are now directly affected through the State insurance scheme by any fire loss accruing from incendiary bombs, he will consider the advantage of a regulation under the Defence of the Realm Act that would restrict the sale of chemical fire extinguishers for air-raid purposes to patterns conforming with any of the specifications for liquid fire extinguishers named in the Metropolitan Police warning of 17th June, and circulated by the Home. Department to the other police forces?


I regret that I do not see my way to adopt this suggestion.