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OSU program named nation's top fire service organization

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

The Congressional Fire Services Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan policy think tank that advises Congress on fire and life safety issues, has named the International Fire Service Training Association/Oklahoma State University Fire Protection Publications the 2005 Fire Service Organization of the Year. National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner April 7 in Washington, D.C.  Approximately 2,500 fire service leaders from across the country and senior officials from the administration and Congress attend the annual event to discuss federal programs and legislation that affect first responders. It is hosted by the institute and leadership of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, the largest in Congress with more than 340 members. CFSI each year recognizes one federal lawmaker, fire service professional and fire service organization for distinguished contributions to improving the readiness of the fire and emergency services. Previous notable recipients of the organization award include the Fire Department of the City of New York, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. This is another feather in the cap of OSU fire programs,” said OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly. “The university is recognized worldwide for its fire service expertise and contributions, and this award is a testament to the members of the OSU family and their many collaborators who work to improve the effectiveness of fire and emergency response professionals.”“We are certainly proud of their dedication and achievement,” he said. OSU Fire Protection Publications is the world’s leading publisher of fire and emergency services training materials and the headquarters for its publishing partner IFSTA, an invitation-only association comprised by fire service professionals from around the world. All OSU-FPP operations, including the development of new products, capital improvements and research, are funded solely by revenues generated through the sales of its materials. Its customers include Department of Defense agencies and the fire academies throughout the United States and 35 other countries, and its materials have been translated in 13 different languages. Formed in 1934 by a group of fire training directors in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas to develop and validate high-quality training materials for the fire service, IFSTA subsequently expanded to include dozens of countries. In 2004, the association convened abroad for the first time, and the Ireland conference welcomed fire service professionals from throughout Europe, including the former Soviet bloc nations, to Israel and a number of countries on the Arabian Peninsula. Since its inception, the association has partnered with OSU Fire Protection Publications to produce and distribute the materials, the first of which was released in 1937. Written by firefighters for firefighters, the IFSTA manuals include “The Essentials of Fire Fighting,” considered the bible of firefighting textbooks.  For fire service organizations, the CFSI award is our Heisman” said Chris Neal, executive director of IFSTA and director of OSU-FPP. “What an honor for the thousands who have played active roles in IFSTA over so many years, and equally a tribute to both the incredible staff at FPP and the unwavering support of OSU leadership.” Together, we have served and continue to serve the fire service in a way that is unparalleled and in a way that could never be accomplished individually,” Neal said. IFSTA/OSU-FPP’s longtime assistance to CSFI includes producing an array of its printed materials. The award additionally acknowledged the outreach unit of OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology for its guidance in enhancing the institute’s marketing and strategic plans. Since the institute was founded in 1989, IFSTA/OSU-FPP has also been a member of its National Advisory Committee, joining other member organizations in developing CFSI white papers and legislative initiatives addressing fire and life safety. “IFSTA/OSU Fire Protection Publications certainly has made many outstanding contributions not only to our organization, but also to our nation’s fire and emergency services,” said Bill Webb, executive director of the institute. “On the paramount issues facing our nation’s fire service, IFSTA/OSU Fire Protection Publications has gained the respect and appreciation of both CFSI and the Fire Caucus for its insight and important contributions to the development of federal legislation and policy.”

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