Fire Service Leaders Reflect The Past, Present and Future of Firehouse Magazine

A sampling of long-time contributors look back at our first 30 years to assess that state of the fire-rescue service then, now and in the years to come.


HAL BRUNO Hal Bruno, a Firehouse® contributing editor, retired as political director for ABC News in Washington and served almost 40 years as a volunteer firefighter. He is a director of the Chevy Chase, MD, Fire Department and chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation...


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Firehouse: What do you see changing or needs to change in the next 30 years in the fire service?

Goldfeder: I am afraid the staffing issue will continue to haunt us. We haven’t always done a great job in helping the public understand how critical our staffing is. Simply put, firefighting along with EMS and related emergency services, is task oriented, and it takes people to perform those tasks effectively and safely. Sometimes we don’t even understand that.

On a positive side, I see so many really gung-ho new folks coming in – in great shape, with education, and a great attitude and a thirst to be true firefighters. The future looks good from that standpoint, as long as we know what to do with those probies when they walk in.

While the job will change – always has, always will – and especially with so many other roles that firefighters play (and with the WMD threat more changes will come), the people that it takes to do this job the right way can never change. If you are into helping people (fire, rescue, EMS and even the “nothing†runs) and generally have a positive attitude about working as a part of a unit/team, this is the best place to be!

Firehouse: What has your involvement with Firehouse® Magazine meant to you and to our readers?

Goldfeder: That’s easy. For years, I had superiors (mostly civilian bosses) try to stop me from saying what I felt was important, be it important for firefighters or the public; usually, if it is good for firefighters, the public wins as well.

My role as a columnist for Close Calls in Firehouse® has allowed me to say what I feel needs to be said; in particular, when it comes to us not getting ourselves hurt or killed. I am deeply indebted for the opportunities that the fire service has provided to my family and I, and especially what Firehouse® has provided. What an honor it is to be a part of all this!


MICHAEL L. SMITH
Michael L. Smith, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a retired deputy chief of the District of Columbia Fire Department, where he was chief of training. With over 35 years fire service experience, including more than 30 with DCFD, he is currently working as an international consultant and instructor for fire departments and the U.S. military on incident command, training, risk management and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) response. Smith is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and a Certified Municipal Manager (CMM) from George Washington University. He holds degrees in fire science, construction management and public administration.

Firehouse: Please describe the largest or most significant fire you responded to in your career.

Smith: The largest fire I ever responded to was the Kahn’s Department Store. The building covered an entire city block and raged for three days. We saved the surrounding buildings. This would be followed by the riots of 1991, one single night where the members of Truck Company 9 responded to 10 working fires in succession.

Firehouse: What are some of the most significant advances in the fire service in the past 30 years?

Smith: The evolvement of PPE is the single most significant advance in the past 30 years.

Firehouse: What have you been a proponent of during your career?

Smith: I was always a proponent of safety and accountability for one’s actions.

Firehouse: What do you see changing or needs to change in the next 30 years in the fire service?

Smith: The need for a credentialing system on a national basis is paramount. I also believe that the organizations that represent the fire service must unite to protect our firefighters from vacant buildings, trusses and other threats to the well-being of our firefighters and officers. I would also like to see a study undertaken to measure the effects of adrenalin on our bodies as this is causing more heart attacks than what we eat, in my opinion.

Firehouse: What has your involvement with Firehouse® Magazine meant to you and to our readers?