A Century of Influence
From its beginning as a paid force in 1865, the New York Fire Department has grown into something of a legend in American fire circles. It is the largest municipal fire agency in the world, numbering an authorized 13,167 uniformed members at the latest count, and its operational techniques, apparatus requirements and hazard potentials are a constant source of wonder to all.
Although now becoming obscured by time, the influence of FDNY on the development of paid departments is evident in many areas. There are still active fire fighters who well recall the use of “New York uniforms, protective clothing, and rules and regulations as part of their own requirements.
Since its inception in 1910, the New York “Fire College” has been a leader in fire training. It has lent its name to many training programs across this nation still in existence. Fred Shepperd, retired editorial director of FIRE ENGINEERING, first devoted his widely recognized and extremely versatile talents to this pioneer fire school. He authored the original curricula and helped extend its philosophy and techniques by means of his many books, addresses and editorial efforts.
Few fighters may recognize the early contributions; but the impact of the “New York methods” are still evident today in many standard fire protection procedures. This is a tribute to the sound research and cold logic employed by New York, then as now, in its approach to fire fighting tactics and techniques.
As New York celebrates its 100th Anniversary as a paid department, FIRE ENGINEERING marks the occasion by devoting most of this issue to recounting its history and operations. Because of its vast size not all facets can be covered. Yet, we feel sure that within the limitations of these pages, the contributions of New York can be recognized and a better appreciation of its peculiar circumstances achieved by all our readers. We are also certain that our many friends join with us in extending heartiest congratulations to the department on achieving a century of service to the community and the fire protection profession as a whole.