You Must Become a Student of Firefighting

Being a company fire officer, chief, or incident commander can be a challenging job. Or as I have said time and again over the decades of my career: "… relax gang, this is only a life or death job."


My friends, you also have something available to you which did not exist during most of my fire service career. You have the Internet. You need to search the available literature to see what you can learn. However, let me suggest that you must have a baseline of information available from fire service texts which have been published by the major players in the fire protection publishing field.

Am I a student of the fire service? I think so. Otherwise, I would not feel justified to suggest that you join me in my search for knowledge. On the book shelves of my office I have literally hundreds of books and thousands of magazine articles. Between my office, attic, and garage, I have literally hundreds of copies of fire service magazine dating back into the 1920's.

As part of my collection I also have all six editions of the Fire Chief's Handbook and both original editions of Fire Service Hydraulics. There are also a great many non-fire service books. Ii is important for me to study the world around us and then weave the knowledge gained in this manner into the tapestry of my new writings. Ah, but I might be an extreme case.

Let me suggest that I also do my part for the new officers in my fire company. I try to share copies of my texts with them. That is part of my plan for the decade of my 60's. Decades of my career have been spent learning the lessons of my career. It would be a real shame if I failed in my attempt to pay forward all of the debts I owe t people who taught me what I know, but who are no longer around to receive my thanks. I am now a proud graduate of the "School of Hard Knocks' having studied at the U.S. Air Force, Rahway, Newark and Adelphia campuses of this tough, old school.

When you have been given the awesome responsibility for taking care of your crew, you owe it to them to learn as much as possible about how to get the job done safely. Riding the right-front seat carries within it a truly great responsibility. Convincing you of that fact is the purpose of this visit with you. Hopefully I have been able to impress upon you the need to become a student of the fire protection world. Other did it for me and for that I am eternally grateful.