06/01/10 312 W, 1 I - + 12 - 12 Numbers and Revisions

Memorial Day saw sorting stacks of papers in the man cave. Quite a few contained handwritten notes on Raleigh Fire Department history. They'd been placed aside, either for filing or File 13. Incidents, apparatus, personnel, the usual stuff. The notes had been taken during research, at libraries while reading microfilm. Or at fire stations, while skimming log books.

Each sheet's information had presumably been recorded in my digital files, but I double-checked. One piece of paper included personnel totals for a couple decades in the last century. You know, how many people were in the department. No source was noted, however. My bad.

For 1950, was jotted, the total positions numbered 84. Opened my master data spreadsheet, and saw the number 63 for that fiscal year. The source was a Sanborn fire insurance map from October 1949. So which was correct? 84 or 63? Looking at adjacent years, and the total positions in FY49 was 67. The total in FY51 was 82. Sources for both were budget docs. Conclusion? The total positions in FY50 was more likely 84 and less likely 63.

With the master data corrected, the next step was updating any documents or web pages that contained that personnel count. First for revision was my Raleigh Fire Department history chart, which contains a decade-by-decade summary of such numbers. Updated the Word document, exported a PDF version, and uploaded to web site via FTP.

Next were presentation slides, which also contain a decade-by-decade summary. (City and station map, which looks like this, plus number of personnel and other demographics.) The slides are part of my history talks, given to new recruits, conducted on-demand for personnel, and occasionally offered for public audiences.

And that might be all. The per-decade timelines do not cite such numbers. No other documents jump out, from my Raleigh Fire Department history pages. But that's the rub of accuracy. Better facts often translate to retroactive changes.

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