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History of the San Francisco Fire Department

Celebrating the Centennial - 1876

How the Fire Alarm Telegraph is Worked - 1877

Fire Alarm Operations during the Great Earthquake and Fire - 1906

House of Alarm Bells - CFAS - 1937

History of the Fire Alarm System - 1951

Fire Alarm Operations during the 1989 Earthquake

Fire Alarm Operations during the Oakland Firestorm


City Engineer Reports as to Cost
of New Building and Service Equipment.

City Engineer O'Shaughnessy has reported to the Board of Works that the cost of a new building and equipment for the fire alarm and police signal system is estimated at $670,000. In case Jefferson Square is not used for the building, the cost of a suitable lot will be $80,000 additional. San Francisco Central Fire Alarm Station

Among the items in the estimate are: Central office building at furnishings, $35,000; fire alarm switchboard and appurtenances, $50,000 522 box standards, $32,000, 341 fire alarm boxes, $43,000; 525 police boxes, $42,000; 200 flash lamp equipments, $11,000; new underground conduit, $30,000; lateral duct to boxes, $20,000; underground cable in place, $130,000, overhauling and repairing present fire alarm and police boxes, $12,000; reconstructing overhead lines, $107,000; ten police station equipments, $15,000; engineering and inspecting, $35,000.

It is proposed to construct a fireproof building isolated as far as possible, for the sole purpose of housing the switchboard and appurtenances of the fire alarm system. The heating plant and a gas engine and dynamo for charging the batteries will be installed in two small buildings near by to eliminate the necessity of introducing any combustible material in the main building. It is desirable, the City Engineer says, that the central fire alarm station be isolated in Jefferson square on account of safety [and] economic construction. That engineers of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, the National Fire Protection Association and the Board of Fire Underwriters of the Pacific favor Jefferson square.

It is proposed to mount all of the fire-alarm boxes in the underground conduit district on iron standards of following the old custom of attaching them to telephone poles. In the outlying districts it is intended to utilize the existing overhead construction, as far as practicable, and construct only such new work as may be necessary to bring the present system to a satisfactory state of efficiency.

The plan for the police system is to install a separate telephone and signal apparatus in each of the ten districts into which the city will be divided, and the various district headquarters as well as the central headquarters are to be connected by trunk circuits. In the underground district the police signal boxes will be mounted on iron standards and in the outlying districts they will be attached to telephone or telegraph poles.

San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, November 2, 1912

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