Fire Service Books

This is a little off the beaten path for me and my blogs, but it is something that I have been paying more attention to lately.  I have been laid up from a hernia repair and have been reading and doing a little research for other projects and it occurred to me that I utilize the same three books on a regular basis.

No matter what level you are at in the fire service, you should be building a decent sized library of fire/emergency related books.  This is one more method to staying sharp and on top of your game.  Having quality information to turn to for those forgotten tricks of the trade or to remember a characteristic of a certain type of construction is paramount and makes you a better firefighter.

Here are the three books that I use on a regular basis and why.

1. “Building Construction for the Fire Service,” 3rd Edition, by Francis L. Brannigan.

This book was one I got during the mid 90’s for a college course and I have it highlighted, marked and it is never too far from my grasp. The great thing about this book is that it has never gotten outdated.  The information is still relevant and insightful.  This is definitely one book that should be on your shelf.

Make sure you look at the “Tactical Considerations” in the chapters that give some ideas on how to apply the lessons to firefighting tactics.

2.  ”Collapse of Burning Buildings: A Guide to Fireground Safety,”  by Vincent Dunn

This book has a great deal of content that is covered in Brannigan’s book but more directly applied to the collapse of these buildings.  Chief Dunn goes into great detail how these buildings collapse and the problems that different types of collapses cause.

The illustrations are great examples for those that need some visual help and you can apply this information immediately as a firefighter and fire officer.  This book is a great tool to have company discussions with. Sit down with your crew and pick a chapter or topic and start playing out scenarios in your jurisdiction where these dangers exist.

3. “Safety and Survival on the Fireground,” by Vincent Dunn.

This book is everything firefighting.  Just about anything that you want to know about firefighting is in here. The great thing is that the information is short, to the point and easy to apply to situations.

Keeping these books and others within reach is a good way to stay engaged. These resources gives you valuable information at your fingertips when you need it. It is also a good way to pass on information to others and to have meaningful conversation about “fire stuff.”

Stay safe and keep your mind on the task at hand, becoming a better firefighter.

Other places to get books for the fire service:

Fire Engineering

Fire Service Books



The Fire Barn

These are just a few, if you know of others, please let us know.

1 Comment

  • Lance C. Peeples says:

    Jason’s selections are classic. I would add the following:

    1. Fire Officer’s Handbook of Tactics by John Norman
    2. Responding to “Routine” Emergencies by Frank Montagna
    3. Fire Stream Mangement Handbook by David P. Fornell
    4. Fire Service Hydraulics edited by James F. Casey
    5. Random Thoughts by Tom Brennan

    There is also an urgent need for leadership education (as opposed to management training). Here’s some books I’ve found helpful.

    1. It’s Your Ship by D. Michael Abrashoff
    2. Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals by Jeff Cannon and
    Jon Cannon
    3. Becoming a Leader the Anapolis Way by W.B. Johnson.

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Jason Hoevelmann

Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with the Sullivan Fire Protection District, a combination department, and a career firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County.

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