IFSTA History

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Oklahoma A&M College (which was renamed Oklahoma State University in 1957) assumed the role of state fire training agency from the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association in 1931. W. Fred Heisler, a vocational instructor from Ponca City, Oklahoma, was hired to manage the program. In that same year, Oklahoma A&M, along with several other partners, co-published a fire training manual titled Essentials of Firemanship. Blackwell, Oklahoma Fire Chief John Taplin had written this text.

In 1933, Mr. Heisler hosted a meeting of Oklahoma fire training officials in Stillwater to develop a curriculum for training the firefighters within the state. They originally developed a list of ten general topics that should be included in the training. By 1934, the first of many manuals to support these courses was completed, with hand drawn illustrations, An Introductory Course. It later became the first "Redbook" (noted by the red covers). 

 Later in 1934, an insurance industry trade association named the Western Actuarial Bureau invited fire training representatives from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas to a meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. The purpose of the meeting was to convince other states to follow the model that was being used in Oklahoma. Ultimately, the group decided to work together to develop these materials and designated Oklahoma A&M College to publish and distribute them. The group was originally named the Fire Service Training Association. The organization grew quickly and its name changed to the International Fire Service Training Association when the first Canadian participants joined the organization in 1955. The group agreed to meet in Stillwater each July to develop new and update existing materials.

Fred Heisler was the author, coordinator, and editor of the Redbooks for the next 20 years. The publication and distribution of these fire training manuals evolved into a separate entity which, starting in 1973, would be known as Fire Protection Publications. After Heisler’s retirement in 1955, Everett Hudiburg became editor of the Redbooks - an operation which was housed in the Number Two Fire Station on the campus of OSU. By 1965, the staff of FPP outgrew the fire station, and the people involved in the writing and publishing of the manuals were moved into Quonset Hut #2, a World War II temporary building on the OSU campus. 

Throughout the 1960s, firefighters across the nation used the training manuals published at OSU and validated by the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA), which originated from that first meeting of fire professionals held by Fred Heisler back in the 1933. In 1970, the publisher of the Redbooks (FPP) and the OSU Fire Service Training separated from the School of Fire Protection and became two cooperating entities. 

Fire Protection Publications continues to write, produce, edit, and market IFSTA-validated manuals (many with study guides), FPP manuals, curricula, training videos and CD-ROMs, electronic products and other materials for the fire service. The mission of Fire Protection Publications is to provide high-quality, technically accurate, and affordable training material and excellent customer service to the fire and emergency services. 

 

 

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