We have traveled a long road to reach this point; not just the hard work of our staff and contributors, but the firefighters, officers and chiefs with whom we have worked for a quarter of a century. Many lives have been touched by the training and education we have provided. But it hasn’t been a one-way street. Every day, we talk and work with people who have had the opportunity in their careers to make a difference in saving lives and property.
The fire service is a tough, dedicated sleeping giant. When the alarm is received, members jump into action to provide whatever service will result in the prompt mitigation of an incident. Whether it be a fire, a traffic accident or an EMS run, North, South, East or West, it doesn’t matter. It is the people who make the difference. From the youngest probationary member to the most senior chief, they all make a difference.
When we talk to people who are reporting incidents, writing articles, offering suggestions or recalling past events, the stories we hear are often incredible. A lot of people have experience from their years of service. Many have responded to large fires and great human tragedies. It’s not all fun and games. And still others have served with no recognition at all. As an old New York chief said after the turn of last century, “Those who have become firefighters have shown their bravery.”
It is indeed an honor to work with and talk with many of the people who have educated us and kept us knowledgeable and safe. In this business the worst can happen at any time, in any place. No one is exempt. Many of our friends and co-workers were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have worked with many who are here today because they were that close from paying the ultimate sacrifice.
Contributing Editor Vinny Dunn, as a lieutenant, was directed into one building by a deputy chief while another engine company was ordered into the other building. A short time later, the deputy chief, the second engine company and others died in a collapse. Chief Dunn has taught about collapse and safety for almost as long as Firehouse® Magazine has been around. Frank Brannigan has spent most of his life educating the fire service about the dangers of fire and building construction. Deputy Chief Jim Smith taught a class on church fires and Battalion Chief Robert Cobb used his examples to keep his troops operating safely. Deputy Chief William Shouldis was severely injured, but he returned to duty and teaches extensively.
Most of our contributing editors, correspondents and other people who have been providing information to Firehouse® readers for a quarter of a century do so because they want to share the lessons they have learned and help others operate more effectively and safely. That’s the bottom line of why we are here, covering all aspects of the fire service, breaking newsworthy events, and reporting on new technology, apparatus and equipment. The editorial staff goes on runs day and night. We know what it is all about and are proud to bring these stories, ideas, procedures and techniques to you. We use them all the time. Thanks for the memories.