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

Onieal: Education isn’t always about classrooms; actually, it’s about “tuition,†which is another way of saying, “Who pays the price?†It seems to me you can learn about firefighting on a scholarship (somebody else pays the tuition) or you can pay for it yourself (pretty expensive). Personally, I’ve always preferred the scholarship route.

Every month, Firehouse® helps you learn from others’ successes and failures. Someone else already paid the price, but when you read about it, you get the education “tuition free.†So Firehouse® was and is simply a big monthly scholarship; the opportunity to learn from others.


HARRY CARTER
Harry R. Carter, Ph.D., CFO, MIFireE is a Firehouse® contributing editor. A municipal fire protection consultant based in Adelphia, NJ, he is the former president of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. He is a past chief and active life member of the Adelphia Fire Company. Currently the chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners for Howell Township District 2, he retired from the Newark, NJ, Fire Department in 1999 as a battalion commander. He also served as chief of training and commander of the Hazardous Materials Response Team. Dr. Carter is secretary of the United States Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers of Great Britain (MIFireE).

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

Carter: The largest fire I ever encountered involved the better part of one city block in Newark. This fire happened back during the layoff period in the mid-1970s when the department was cutting companies. This fire involved about 14-15 homes and was located in our second-alarm district in the West Ward. It was on a hot summer night and I can recall the fire literally leaping from building to building. We tried to get ahead of the fire front, eventually muscling it under with the combined weight of many deck guns and 2½-inch hoselines.

I also remember ducking under Engine Six’s pumper to escape the radiant heat while the driver from that unit was hosing down the unit and those of us under the unit. I also remember that there were no major injuries that evening.

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

Carter: A concern for safety; personal protective equipment; lighter-weight SCBA; mandates for the use of SCBA; improvements in the use of installed detection equipment in the home; the explosion of computers within the world at large; the Internet and its ability to move information; large-diameter hose; and enclosed-cab fire equipment.

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

Carter: More and better training for the members of the fire service; more of an emphasis on people-centered leadership; sharing knowledge; and firefighter safety.

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

Carter: Society is evolving away from the concept of voluntary service. This will play hell with the volunteer fire service wherein I have served for 35 years.

The emphasis on terror is placing the light of the fire service under a bushel basket. We shall lose the National Fire Academy and the U.S. Fire Administration.

The cost of career fire departments will lead to shrinkages.

The continuing emphasis on the “What’s in it for me?†attitude of our newer members will eventually erode our positive effect on society.

I hope I am wrong, but you asked for my thoughts.

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

Carter: Ever since Dennis Smith and I met back in 1988, my professional life within the fire service has been on an upward spiral. The ability to share my ideas, thoughts and concerns with the fire service through Firehouse® has had an incalculable impact upon me both personally and professionally. I feel like a member of a really well-organized fraternity of fire service leaders.