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Tim Sendelbach Joins FireRescue as Editor-in-Chief

Issue 5 and Volume 3.

Publisher’s note: Tim Sendelbach was named editor-in-chief of FireRescue magazine on April 14. 

FireRescue Readers:

It’s an honor and a privilege to assume the role of your editor-in-chief. Over the past 22 years, I, like so many of you, have awakened each morning as a participant in one of the most rewarding professions imaginable. Throughout my career I’ve been mentored by many and influenced by many more. I’ve experienced years of pride and love for my job; at the same time, I’ve endured some of my saddest days as a member of this unique family.

On Aug. 16, 1985, I joined the Wilder (Ky.) Volunteer Fire Department as a second-generation firefighter. I had spent many of my formative years socializing at the local firehouse while my father attended drills and responded to alarms. I quickly understood the level of commitment it took to be a firefighter in our community after witnessing the long hours and personal sacrifices my father made.

My career has spanned a number of states throughout the United States. I’ve had the distinct privilege of serving as a volunteer firefighter, and as a result, understand first-hand the challenges of time management, family commitments and the ongoing battles of recruitment and retention. I’ve served as a ranking officer in small- and moderate-size paid departments and have experienced budget constraints, personnel conflicts and resistance to change.

As a student and educator, I’ve traveled, taught and attended many conferences and seminars featuring some of the most accomplished members of our profession. I’ve drunk gallons of coffee with fire service veterans, listening to their stories about the old days. In each case, I have walked away with information that I find myself returning to later, information that provides guidance and clues on how to solve future challenges.

Today, I embark upon a new journey, a journey that brings forth distinct challenges and opportunities. I assume this role with the greatest admiration and respect for the visionary leader who created it. I welcome these challenges not with the thought of filling that person’s shoes, but rather with the idea of following the footsteps he left behind.

Chief James O. Page exemplified leadership, dedication and determination throughout his career. As the founder of FireRescue magazine, Chief Page shared the vision of “Read it today, use it tomorrow.” This vision reflects the spirit of forward progression, training and professional development dedicated to achieving a safer, more effective fire service. It’s also a vision that has special meaning for me. As the president of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors from 2003 to 2008, I’ve taught across the country at departments large and small, urban and rural, career and volunteer. I’ve seen firefighters and officers using techniques and tactics that can help advance the fire service as a whole, and I’m excited to share what I’ve seen in the pages of FireRescue.

As I continue my fire service journey with you, I take great pride in joining the FireRescue family and the many technical minds that have made this a leading fire service magazine. As I see it, my quest is to help produce, promote and share the safest, most up-to-date concepts and ideas that will enable us to work toward becoming a safer, more effective profession in which everyone goes home.

For the last 200 years, the fire and rescue service has provided us with some of the most memorable and tragic lessons from which we can learn so much. Yet without the dedication, determination and self-initiative of you—our readers and contributors—these lessons will be shared amongst a few, while firefighters in this and future generations will be forced to suffer the consequences of our selfishness.

The fire and rescue service has long been filled with traditions, some of which serve as the backbone of our successes; still others present some of our most formidable challenges. Each and every year we needlessly lose members of our family due to health- and fitness-related issues. Our overly aggressive driving habits, coupled with our less-than-adequate fireground risk assessments, continue to claim the lives of firefighters and civilians nationwide. It’s my firm belief that the answers to each of these problems exist within our ranks. The key is to motivate and influence those who possess this knowledge with the hope that they will share their ideas.

It’s my goal as your editor-in-chief to seek out these men and women and put forth the innovations and advancements that will eventually become the footsteps our future leaders will follow.

Again, I wish to express my appreciation for this opportunity—and I stand ready to listen and learn. If you have comments about FireRescue, please e-mail me at [email protected] msn.com. The door is open.