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05/13/2013

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Ken Willette

I started in the fire service in August of 1974 , right after the release of America Burning. I remember how it seemed to be the main feature in every fire service magazine and journal, and the keynote presentation at every major conference. It seemed we had the nations attention and the number of deaths and injuries caused by preventable fires were finally noticed.

The creation of a U.S. Fire Administration and a National Fire Academy have been the most watershed events in our national fire service history. These moved us towards a more professionalized fire service and over time, grants to supplement local budgets to improve safety and staffing.

Civilian fire deaths are down from the early days of the Fire Administration, as are firefighter deaths, but the work is not done. We must remain vigilant and continue the work laid out by America Burning. Given the fiscal challenges and political climates the fire service faces, it will take all of us.

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