140 Years of Fire Engineering: A Legacy of Firefighter Training

Chief Bobby Halton on the anniversary of Fire Engineering.

Celebrate with us all year long as we commemorate 140 years of Fire Engineering magazine. Look out for exclusive archival content and features leading up to our November 17, 2017 anniversary.

Above, video of Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton reflecting on the magazine’s anniversary.

Walter Lewis, District Chief, Orlando (FL) Fire Department: Happy Birthday and congratulations to Fire Engineering and FDIC! 

Since 1999, I have attended FDIC each year and have loved every time I’ve gone. Because of the magazine and the conference, I can confidently say that I am a better firefighter and fire officer because of what I have learned and gained through both avenues. I’ve met tons of incredible people, participated in fantastic training and had some great opportunities along the way.

The birthday present is mine to have, for having become a better firefighter has improved my chances of coming home to my family. And for that, I cannot thank you enough. God bless and may there be many many more years of Fire Engineering and FDIC!

Tom Sitz, Lieutenant, Painesville (OH) Township Fire Department: In 2002, my shift developed a technique to remove an unresponsive firefighter from a peaked roof (the type of roof most common for us to vent), using only the equipment carried in our gear and a roof ladder. Since we just developed it, I thought it would make a good magazine article so we could share the technique with the fire service and maybe help out someone from across the country if they were ever put in that type of position. At that time time there were (2) major fireifghting magazines, and I was not sure who I should submit to so I went and talked to my dad, a retired chief.

He stated that although both magazines were good, their content was extremely different. One has a lot of cool pics and a lot of stories about big fires, stories like you get at the firehouse around the kitchen table. Fire Engineering is a more technically driven magazine. All of the content is about how or why to do things. When they do have an article about a big fire lessons learned is a big part of the article. Even the name Fire Engineering tells you about the professionalism of the magazine–the name tells you the type of content inside. When you want to read about what happened you read one, when you want to know about what is going to happen, you read Fire Engineering.

Based on this conversation I submitted to Fire Engineering was very surprised to hear back from Diane Feldman (at the time) that they would like to publish my article. The article was published in March 2003 and Diane encouraged me to write another one she stated “most people have 10 articles in them they just don’t know it.” Since then I have been published 12 times, and this year will be my 10th as a presenter at FDIC. Fire Engineering has been part of my family’s life since 1968 when my dad joined the fire service. I have been reading it since 1985 when I started, my brother since the late 1990s when he came on, and my son, the third generation, since 2014 when he started his fire service career. While I am sure there are families out there have have been reading the magazine for more than three generations, my family’s three-generations are pretty impressive to me. I am honored to have been a small contributor to such a fine Magazine and FDIC. It would be impossible to find a magazine and training conference anywhere in the world that has done more to improve our profession.

Mike McEvoy, EMS Editor (above): Undoubtedly, few if any of us will live to celebrate our 140th birthdays, yet Fire Engineering marks just such an accomplishment this year. Besides FDIC, a mere handful of trade and educational shows have survived 90 years, and probably none aside from FDIC continues to grow. These are accomplishments to be recognized and celebrated. Without the entire fire service–from the newest recruits to line firefighters to company and chief officers to manufacturers, researchers, and educators–Fire Engineering and FDIC would not be marking these incredible accomplishments.

 I started writing for Fire Engineering and attending FDIC some 17 years ago and became the EMS technical editor in 2006. As the, “EMS guy,” I have been honored, humbled and incredibly proud to work with the best of the best in the fire service. The work that goes on behind the scenes to produce Fire Engineering magazine, its digital edition, and web site requires a small army of incredible people that I consider my family. An even larger contingent toils to make FDIC happen year after year. Like any family, we have occasional differences. What I can say about Fire Engineering and FDIC, unlike many other publications and shows that I have worked for, is that they have always maintained a razor focus on their mission.

The mission of Fire Engineering and FDIC is training firefighters and emergency responders–not making a lot of money, not publishing sexy pictures, not being the mouthpiece of membership or advocacy groups. The focus on that mission is, in my opinion, is why Fire Engineering has enjoyed 140 years and FDIC 90 birthdays. EMS providers and firefighters appreciate honest, legitimate, factual and cutting-edge training from the best and the brightest minds in the industry. They also appreciate opportunity to contribute, interact, email, blog, tweet, and podcast for and with Fire Engineering and FDIC. There is no exclusivity. In fact, more than any other publication I have worked with, Fire Engineering and FDIC have always strived to mentor, encourage, and develop new authors, speakers and instructors. I could not be more proud of that.

The legacy of the magazine and show is an amazing, impressive and absolutely incredible effort to bring the best and most progressive training to the fire and emergency services.  I am so proud to be a part of this amazing journey and so happy to work with such dedicated editors, writers, speakers, and staff. Equally, I am impressed, amazed and incredibly awed every day at the support and contributions made by our fire and EMS brothers and sisters. I know the Fire Engineering and FDIC will have many more birthdays to celebrate with the fire service.

P.L. Vulcan Fire Training Concepts (Mark Gregory, Pat Nichols, James Sandas, and Associates): On behalf of all of us at P.L. Vulcan Fire Training Concepts, I would like to congratulate Fire Engineering on their 140th Anniversary of providing firefighters with second to none fire service training.

As a young lad I remember reading Fire Engineering in the firehouses that I buffed in from cover to cover. Tom Brennan’s “Random Thoughts” provided me with the desire to one day be able to instruct other firefighters on tricks of the trade and tactics that would bring them home to their families after a successful operation. Today, I am living that dream and have the staff at Fire Engineering to thank for seeing my potential and allowing me to share my knowledge.

Fire Engineering has always provided the cutting edge of training to all ranks of the fire service. As a company officer, I can always brush up on today’s drill for my crew through reading a Mike Ciampo article or watching an evolution performed on “Training Minutes” The cartoons that Paul Combs has produced provide a simple yet effective way of understanding issues affecting today’s fire service.

The greatest accomplishment that I have personally been able to witness from the inside is the preparation and operation of the FDIC HOT Programs. The months of work that are put into this program every year are quite evident. There is a reason why many instructors from across the globe submit entries for this event. FDIC allows instructors to provide exceptional training to firefighters from all walks of life. The training that I have also received and the friendships I have made through FDIC are priceless. Our Man vs Machinery program, like many other programs offered at Indy, are attended to by more than 220 students each year. The difference this training has made is evident through the success stories we receive.

To all at Fire Engineering, please continue to keep up the hard work you perform day in and day out. Your efforts in spreading effective fire service training make a difference on the front lines every day.

Jim Crawford:  I wrote a few articles for Fire Engineering over the years–all on fire prevention of course–and was thrilled that the magazine was willing to include prevention in their magazine. Later, when FireRescue Magazine gave me a platform to promote prevention topics, I was thrilled to be able to promote it on a regular basis. With PennWell buying out Fire Rescue, my relationship with Fire Engineering and FDIC changed. I was encouraged by your words at our first joint editorial board meeting, where you said it was clear that we were all part of the same family, and that FireRescue would carry on.

Since then, your commitment to an integrated approach to community risk reduction has been evident. Not only has my column continued, but it’s in print each month, not alternating with the electronic version of the magazine as it had done with the previous owners. I view that as a commitment on your part–recognizing the importance of CRR in the future of the fire service. And a reflection of the leadership at PennWell, reflecting the same view. I’m grateful and recognize the importance of this, because the price of paper and especially ink has made it very difficult for any magazine to continue.

And that sets the stage for a reflection of a relative new comer to the Fire Engineering/FDIC world. You think the Cubs waiting since 1908 to get a championship at the World Series is impressive? Try keeping a magazine alive for 140 years!!!  And FDIC has grown as the LARGEST fire service conference in the U.S. by far.  It is an essential link to the fire service that no other entity can match.


140 Years Of Fire Engineering: The Waiting Rooms



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