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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. 

IFSTA/FPP Organizational Relationship

Fire Protection Publications is a department of the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology at Oklahoma State University. IFSTA/FPP is located on the OSU campus in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

Through the years, customers and fire service personnel who have followed the progress of our operation have noticed that at any given time it may be referred to by one of two names: Fire Protection Publications or the International Fire Service Training Association. To some, it may seem that these names can be used interchangeably. To others it is just plain confusing. This will help you understand these two different organizations and their relationship. 

Fire Protection Publications (FPP) is a department of the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology (CEAT) at Oklahoma State University (OSU), a land grant university. FPP is the world’s leading publisher of training materials for the fire and emergency services. FPP serves as the headquarters for the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA). FPP is funded solely by revenues it generates through the sales of its materials; it does not receive funding from the university. Any funds that are left over after meeting operational expenses are used for the development of new products, capital improvements, and support of other fire service initiatives.

FPP employs approximately 75 full- and part-time employees in three buildings on the OSU campus. Each of these buildings was constructed and/or is maintained with funds generated by the sale of the fire training materials. The main FPP office building houses the administrative and business functions, graphic production department, and the library and archives. A second office building houses the editorial and curriculum units. Between these two office buildings is the FPP warehouse and shipping facility.

IFSTA is an association of fire service personnel who are dedicated to upgrading fire fighting techniques and safety through the development of high-quality, peer-validated training materials. It is governed by an Executive Board consisting of 12 elected members, 3 to 6 appointed members, and an Executive Director. The officers of the Board include the Chair, Vice Chair, and Executive Director. The Board has the sole policy-making authority for the Association so long as such policies do not conflict with the procedures of Oklahoma State University. Duties of the Board include establishing policies, establishing standing and ad hoc committees, discontinuing projects, establishing new projects, approving scope and purpose statements, approving titles for new and revised training materials, advising Fire Protection Publications on pertinent matters, and maintaining external relations with other organizations.

IFSTA delegates elect 12 of the board members for a term of three years. The Executive Board may also appoint from 3 to 6 board members for a term of three years. Appointed members typically represent other major fire service organizations and are nominated for Executive Board approval by their organization. The Chair is elected by simple majority of the Board. The Chair presides over all Board and General Assembly meetings. It is also the duty of the Chair to appoint all standing and ad hoc committees.

The Vice Chair is appointed by the Chair from the Board membership. The Vice Chair serves as chair of the Delegate Selection Committee and other duties as assigned by the Board Chair. The Executive Director is an employee of Fire Protection Publications who is approved by the Board. The Executive Director is empowered to act autonomously for the Executive Board in questions of policy that are of concern to the Association until such time as the Board can give those questions due consideration.

Learn more about IFSTA's current Executive Board.

The Delegate Selection Committee selects the delegates who will serve on the validation committees. The Delegate Selection Committee consists of three Executive Board members and two at large delegates. The committee is chaired by the Vice Chair of the IFSTA Executive Board. The committee reviews applications and selects the delegates based upon technical expertise and other demographics. Committees meet and work at the conference and through electronic meetings to ensure that the new content addresses the current standards of the National Fire Protection Association and other standards-making groups as they apply to IFSTA-validated manuals.

These technical experts review all manual drafts and verify that the content is valid from drafts produced by the FPP editorial staff. They are not paid, although travel expenses for some meetings are reimbursed. They participate because of their commitment to the fire service and its future through training. Being on a committee is prestigious in the fire service community, and delegates are acknowledged as leaders in their fields. This unique feature provides a close relationship between the International Fire Service Training Association and other fire protection agencies, which helps to correlate the efforts of all concerned.

IFSTA itself has no employees or funds of its own. IFSTA’s operational expenses are funded solely by FPP. Correspondingly, the FPP offices are also the official IFSTA headquarters.

In short, IFSTA manuals are actually produced, and distributed by the employees of Fire Protection Publications. IFSTA committee members provide the technical review and validation of the manuals while they are in production. Fire Protection Publications also publishes a variety of other training manuals and materials. These items are published under the FPP logo. FPP also does a significant amount of externally-fund research on issues of public and first responder safety.

IFSTA and FPP have been working together to bring the fire service quality training materials for over 79 years. With your support through the purchase of these materials, this partnership is poised to continuing serving the world’s firefighters for generations to come.

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