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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Smith: I would like to believe that my involvement with Firehouse® over the years has given members of the fire service more knowledge involving building construction and fireground safety. I have tried to offset those who feel that the fireground is a sterile environment or those who feel that we should continue to attack all fires from the inside without any thought to safely doing so. This job that we do should be able to be accomplished with 100% attention given to safely doing so.


GARY LUDWIG
Gary Ludwig, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He has 28 years of fire-rescue service experience, and previously served 25 years with the City of St. Louis, retiring as the chief paramedic from the St. Louis Fire Department. Ludwig is vice chairman of the EMS Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has a master’s degree in business and management, and is a licensed paramedic. He is a frequent speaker at EMS and fire conferences nationally and internationally.

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

Ludwig: There are two large fires in my career that I remember that were significant. The fire storm on April 13, 1976, at 21st and Locust in St. Louis that started in the Heyday Building. Eight large multi-story warehouses were destroyed, six warehouses were heavily damaged and a bunch more received some form of damage. At one point, the fire chief was talking about dynamiting buildings to stop the fire.

The other fire occurred in February 1988 at the Royal Arts Paper Company at Vandeventer and Chouteau in St. Louis. It was an eight-story warehouse full of paper products stacked from the floor to the ceiling. The fire went 10 alarms and that is the only time I saw a fire in the form of a roaring huge tornado spinning out of control at the top of the building.

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

Ludwig: I feel the most significant advances include safety and protection of the firefighter through better turnout gear and air systems, larger water-delivery systems, and the establishment of standards from everything from fire station operation to on-scene operations.

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

Ludwig: I have become a proponent of EMS issues in the fire service during my career. Fires are occurring less and less frequently because of building codes, fire protection systems and a variety of other reasons. Thus, providing emergency medical care by fire departments is a natural extension of our “all hazards†approach to the duties we perform in our communities.

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

Ludwig: Fire departments that have been resistant to adopting EMS need to move beyond the resistance level to the acceptance level and integrate EMS into a true fire-based EMS model. EMS delivery by the fire service is not going away and will become even more demanding over the next 30 years as the large segment of our population known as the baby-boomers grows older and will require more health care delivery.

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

Ludwig: I have been honored to be a contributing editor on a monthly basis since 1998. What it has meant to me is that I have been able to deliver information to readers on issues impacting fire service EMS on a national level and occasionally espouse my own opinions. The platform has hopefully helped me to provide information that has kept our people safe, providing vital information that is needed to improve an operational component of a department, or help a firefighter or paramedic make an informed decision.


JOHN J. SALKA Jr.
John J. Salka Jr., a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 27-year veteran battalion chief with FDNY, the commander of the 18th battalion in the Bronx. Salka has instructed at several FDNY training programs, including the department’s Probationary Firefighters School, Captains Management Program and Battalion Chiefs Command Course. He conducts training programs at national and local conferences and has been recognized for his firefighter survival course “Get Out Alive.†Salka co-authored the FDNY Engine Company Operations manual and wrote the book Forged in Fire: Leadership Lessons of the FDNY.