Friday, April 29, 2011

"2000 years of tradition, enhanced by progress."

The title to this post was a quote by a great leader in the fire service.  A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to talk with Chief Bobby Halton about the present day fire service and what he sees as keys to success.  For those of you who do not know, Chief Bobby Halton ret. is currently editor in chief of Fire Engineering magazine and education director of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC). Chief Halton is a native New Yorker. He began his career in structural firefighting with the Albuquerque (NM) Fire Department and rose through the ranks to include chief of training. Bobby was chief of operations until his retirement from Albuquerque in 2004. He then became chief of the Coppell (TX) Fire Department, Bobby left Coppell to assume the duties as editor in chief of Fire Engineering Magazine.

Chief Halton is a graduate of the University of New Mexico, left a member in good standing with the International Association of Fire Fighters, is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and has served on several of the National Fire Protection Association technical committees. He is active with the National Fallen Firefighters Life Safety Initiatives. He has done extensive speaking and training for the fire service in the United States, Canada and internationally.

To make the interview a bit easier to follow I have listed the questions I asked along with a timestamp of when the question was asked incase you wanted to fast forward. Again, of you have any other suggestions for people to interview or questions to ask e-mail them to

1.  Tell me a little more about your career before becoming Editor in Chief of Fire Engineering. 1:30

2.  What is a typical day like for you being the Editor of Fire Engineering Magazine?  3:30

3.  Do you see the international community and domestic community becoming more of a globalized fire service? 6:40

4.  The fire service continues to evolve and it has always been important for the practitioners of our craft to be constant students; not only by preforming practical evolutions, but also reading.  What books do you believe every firefighter should add in their library?  Both specific to the fire service and in general? 13:15

5.  What are you thoughts of a failure of application teaching only the “basics” in current fire service instruction? 17:05

6.  Fire volume for many departments is much lower than that of previous years.  Combine this with the fact that those “salty dogs” who thrived in this environment are also leaving their respective departments, whats left is a relatively inexperienced fire service.  What do you think is the best way for firefighters to gain much needed experience today’s environment?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Introduction of Sorts

Here starts a new endeavor and before we get started I thought an introduction of myself and the blog would be in order.

Lets start with myself.  My name is Eddie Crombie and I currently maintain the website Hooks & Irons.  Many of you may have visited and read some of my ramblings, but if you have not I would certainly encourage you to give it a once over.  I am currently a firefighter with the City of Joliet in Illinois.  It is about 45 minutes south of Chicago and we protect between 150,000 and 200,000 citizens out of 10 stations with around 200 sworn personnel.  Prior to that I volunteered and worked for Minooka Fire Protection District which is a smaller suburban department.  Overall, I have 10 years in the fire service.

Lets talk about this "Conversations" bit.  This will not replace Hooks & Irons.  I will continue to maintain that site.  Essentially I will be posting conversations I have had with various figures in the Fire Service.  My goal is for you, the reader, to get a better feel of who they are as a person and what some of their views of the Fire Service are.  I plan on posting at least once a month with a format much like my interview with Chief Peter Van Dorpe.  It is going to be a journey and exciting to see where this takes us.

What do I need from you?

  1. I would like to know of anyone you would like to see interviewed.  I am not only looking for big name authors or instructors that are nationally renowned.  If there is a special individual in your career that has a unique view let me know.
  2. Send me questions you would like to see asked.  This will me seen on a national level and the issues I have may be different from those you are experiencing.  Do not hesitate to give me some input of what you want to see.
  3. Continue to educate yourself and look for things outside your comfort zone.  Then apply them to the Fire Service.  We all need to constantly evolve to make the service as a whole better.
Well here goes nothing.  It should be a trip!

Eddie C.