When Fire Chief ceased operations late last year, it was big news within the fire service. The title survived nearly 60 years of ownership changes and economic ups and downs. As a publishing industry vet, I know that's how the business works sometimes.
I also know that there's a different relationship between fire service publications and their readers than exists in other industries, such as mining or consumer electronics. There's the understanding that the content published can save or prolong lives. There's an understanding of the joys and heartbreaks of being a firefighter.
A good fire service publication understands that it is a servant to the fire service. And a good publication is accepted into the brotherhood.
Fire Chief was one of those good publications — it was part of the brotherhood.
Many were saddened to see it close. I was, despite it being a competitor of FireRescue1. As a volunteer firefighter, part of that sadness was professional — part of it was personal.
In 2007, I was recruited to be editor in chief of Fire Chief. I did that job for two years and had some successes and a lot of missteps and struggles along the way. That experience set in motion several career and personal changes such as joining a fire department, getting deeply involved with the International Fire Relief Mission, and eventually landing here at FireRescue1.
So you can imagine my happiness when our CEO told me our Fire Chief's brand and select assets had been accepted. It not only meant that we'd be bringing back a fire-service icon, it would be a reuniting of sorts.
Even before taking a run at owning Fire Chief, we brought several of its writers, such as Robert Rielage and Jim Spell, into the FireRescue1 family to broaden our coverage of key leadership issues, from departmental diversity to combating shrinking budgets to the impact of Obamacare. And as we re-launch Fire Chief over the next few weeks — in the form of a new website and a Fire Chief eNewsletter — you'll see some of our existing expert columnists continue to sharpen their focus on fire department leadership and management issues.
Some of our plans for Fire Chief are concrete and some are evolving. To that end, I invite you to leave a comment or send me an email telling me what you hope to see in the new Fire Chief and what you liked most about the old one.
That we bought Fire Chief is bigger news than that it closed because it gives FireRescue1 the ability to better serve our sisters and brothers in the fire service — and hopefully save some lives.