Through the efforts made by its members, OFIA, over the past four decades has contributed to the growth of the fire service in Oregon. Its emphasis has been to educate firefighters, and through knowledge and skill, make the job safer for front line personnel.
A big step for Fire Service Training in Oregon took place in 1973 when the Legislative Assembly established the Fire Standards and Accreditation Board. This gave the instructors an accepted standard to teach toward. Also from this came the Fire Service Administrators Institute and a coordination of the Associate Degree Programs offered by the Community Colleges. These programs took OFIA from training firefighters to educating fire service personnel.OFIA - Pointing the Way.
How OFIA Came to Be a Part of Oregon's Fire Service...
In February of 1961, about 20 representatives of the area fire departments including Bob Mobley, Ted Miller, and Earl Albright met at the Four Corners Fire Station for a brain storming session. Note: this meeting was cut short due to freezing rain. The group felt the concept had merit and set a date in March for the next meeting.
The first formal meeting was held March 18, 1961 at the Four Corners Fire Station and played to a full house. There were 53 representatives present. These members established themselves as Charter Members of a yet to be named organization. They decided to go for it and the name, "Oregon Fireman Instructor's Association", was selected. A committee was formed to draw up a set of by-laws and a statewide contest was established to develop a banner emblem.
The first official meeting of the Oregon Fireman Instructor's Association was held in early June of 1961 in Corvallis on a hot Sunday afternoon upstairs in the main station. Election of officers was held with Walt Pflughaupt serving as President, Justin George, Vice-President, and Cecil dill acted as recording Secretary. A Board of Directors was also appointed. The emblem contest was judged and a young firefighter from the Portland area, Bruce MacPherson, won the contest and was awarded a $25.00 prize. This banner now hangs with a plaque in Bruce's honor at the Chemeketa Community College Fire Station.
A lot of time was spent in those early days trying to improve ourselves in presenting lessons. We used a method similar to Toastmasters and had a lot of fun picking each other's speeches apart.
The Fire Department Training Manuals during OFIA's beginning consisted of:
1. The NFPA Handbook on Fire Protection
What was the fire service like then and has there really been any progress?
An early project that OFIA took on was to develop an Oregon Fire Service Training Manual which, when completed, resembled the University of Maryland Manual.
The OFCA asked the Fire Instructors to put on a series of classes at their June conference on current fire training practices in 1961, 62, and 63. These were all well received.
OFIA also developed a series of competitive evolutions that were based on firemanship and safety. These were conducted at the Fire Services Conferences held in June of each year. This was continued until about 1968. The competition consisted of hose and ladder evolutions, mask and rescue evolutions, and replacing a section of bursted hose evolution. All evolutions were done in full turnouts.
About 1961, the indirect method of fire attack was coming into being. This theory was being promoted by two young fellows, Bob Mobley and Cecil Dill. They took on such projects as burning down the City of Arlington to demonstrate the use of this method.An interesting comment that was made by a now retired Chief at the OFCA Conference about the instructors during this period. "I don't trust these young turks, cause I don't want my men smarter than me." Fortunately, this is not the attitude of the modern day fire chiefs in Oregon.
Through the years of 1963-77 the same format for OFIA continued, meeting every three months for a weekend workshop and business meeting. OFIA conducted annually, an advanced fire school, a basic fire school, and an instructors school during the early seventies. It also assisted the State Fire Marshal's Office with burn-to-learns and oil fire schools. About the same time State Fire Training was removed from the Department of Continuing Education and placed in the State Fire Marshal's Office.
A big step for Fire Service Training in Oregon took place in 1973 when the Legislative Assembly established the Fire Standards and Accreditation Board. This gave the instructors an accepted standard to teach toward. Also from this came the Fire Service Administrators Institute and a coordination of the Associate Degree Programs offered by the Community Colleges. These programs took us from training firefighters to educating fire service personnel.
In 1977 OFIA was faltering. Attendance was down with no real direction for the organization. Change had caught up with OFIA. Under President Bruce Lamb's leadership, OFIA was reorganized into our present day format. There were only four (4) active regional associations at this time. Today there are twenty (20) officially voted on active regionals covering the entire state. The name OFIA was also updated during the reorganization to Oregon Fire Instructors Association.
Through the leadership of President Dick West, the First Annual Conference was held in Eugene in 1979 with about 45 in attendance. Since the Eugene conference, OFIA has reconvened at the following sites:
In 1980, the first Officer School became a reality. It was a success and has grown to be a highly recognized school in the Northwest. A new banner design was proposed during this time period and Pointing the Way became a reality.
OFIA over the past four decades has contributed to the growth of the fire service in Oregon. This is an organization of all fire instructors in the state governed by representatives from each regional training association in the state.
As Life Member Marv Manning stated at the 1990 Conference, "All movement has been forward with one change or development complimenting another".OFIA is always pointing the way.
OFIA Life Members
Life Members are persons so voted by the association, by virtue of their many years of service to the Association. All Life members have been members of the Association for at least ten years and have demonstrated exceptional direction towards promoting the OFIA, fire service training, and education as a whole. They have participated in committee work and special projects at both the local and state levels.
The following individuals have been honored with this distinction:
Earl Albright - Oregon State Fire Training
Milton "Bing" Bingenheimer - Liberty-Salem Heights Fire Department
Orval Johnson - Bend Fire Department
Bruce Lamb - Cottage Grove Fire Department
C. Walter Stickney - Oregon State Fire Training
C.E."Buzz" Buzalsky - Eugene Fire Department
W.C. "Ted" Miller - Marion County FD No. 1
Carlton Brown - Silverton RFPD
O.W. "Sox" Lee - Beaverton Fire Department
Cecil Dill - Oregon State Fire Training & Chemeketa Community College
Dick West - Milwaukie Fire Department
Robert P. Mobley - Chemeketa Community College
Marv Manning - Eugene Fire Department
Justin George - Forest Grove Fire Department
Skip Emerson - Chemeketa Community College
Rod G. Martin - Multnomah No. 10 and Portland Fire Bureau
Don Milligan - Polk County Fire Distrcit No. 1
Lee Ann Janusch Powell - Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office
Brian Bay - Chemeketa Community College
Bruce Macpherson - Multnomah No. 10 and Portland Fire Bureau
Frank Divers - Eugene Fire Department
Bob Cambas - DPSST
Dave Simmons - Toledo RFPD
Harold Snyder - Hermiston Fire Department
Bill Anderson - Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue
Jim Whelan - Stanfield Fire Department
Dale Kamrath - Lane County Fire District No. 1
Steve Abel - Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue
Dick Ragsdale - Corvallis Fire Department
Dale Scobee, Hood River
Gene Fisher, Chemeketa Community College
Jeff Jones, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
George Jamieson, DPSST
Todd Reynolds, Pendleton Fire Department
Al Blodgett, Newberg Fire Department
Rod Smith, Lane County Fire District #1
Sam Phillips, Hillsboro Fire Department
OFIA Instructor of the Year
2011 - Tim McLaren, Crooked River Fire and Rescue
2010 - Shawn Morgan, Corvallis Fire Department
2009 - Michael Kinkade, Forest Grove Fire
2008 - Sam Phillips, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue
2007- Jim Whelan, Stanfield Fire Department
2006- Tim Dietz, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue
2005- John Oliver, Clackamas Co. Fire District #1
2004 - Don Willis, Sun River Fire Department
2003 - Gene Fisher, Chemeketa Community College
2002 - Era Horton, DPSST
2001 - Rod Smith, Lane County Fire District #1
2000 - Emmitt Cornford, La Grande Fire Department
1999 - George Jamieson, DPSST
1998 - Dan Riblett, Klamath County Fire District No.1
1997 - Mike Warren, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue
1996 - Dale Kamrath, Lane County Fire District No. 1
1995 - Todd Reynolds, Pendleton Fire Department
1994 - Randy Wells, Pendleton Fire Department
1993 - Bob Cambas, BPSST
1992 - Jim Whelan, Stanfield Fire Department
OFIA Past Presidents
2010-2011 Michael Kinkade, Forest Grove Fire and Rescue
2009 - 2010 Michael Kinkade, Forest Grove Fire and Rescue
2008 - 2009 Emmit Cornford, LaGrande Fire Department
2007 - 2008 Sam Phillips, Hillsboro Fire Department
2005 - 2007 Kevin Wickman, Keizer Fire District
2003 - 2005 Jim Thiel, South Lane Fire & Rescue
2001 - 2003 Bob Sjolund, Jefferson Co. Fire District No.1
1999 - 2001 Johnny Mack, Chemeketa Community College
1997 - 1999 Todd Reynolds, Pendleton Fire Department
1995 - 1997 Mike Warren, Tualitan Valley Fire and Rescue
1994 - 1995 Tay Robertson, Eugene Fire Department
1993 - 1994 Jim Whelan, Stanfield Fire Department
1991 - 1993 Dick Ragsdale, Corvallis Fire Department
1989 - 1991 Bill Anderson, Tualitan Valley Fire and Rescue
1988 - 1989 Frank Divers, Eugene Fire Department
1986 - 1988 Rick Hopkins, Polk County Fire District No.1
1985 - 1986 Buzz Buzalsky, Eugene Fire Department
1984 - 1985 Rod Martin - Multnomah Fire District No. 10
1982 - 1984 Dave Simmons - Douglas County Fire District No. 2
1981 - 1982 Floyd Scott - Springfield Fire Department
1978 - 1981 Dick West - Clackamas RFPD No. 56
1977 - 1978 Bruce Lamb - Cottage Grove Fire Department
1976 - 1977 Ken Teel - Cottage Grove Fire Department
1974 - 1976 Skip Emerson - Chemeketa Community College
1972 - 1974 Bill Gilliam - Tualatin Fire Department
1971 - 1972 Gary Hill - Corvallis Fire Department
1970 - 1971 Dieter Schultz - Springfield Fire Department
1969 - 1970 Don Milligan - Monmoth Fire Department
1968 - 1969 Bert Lucas - Marion County Fire District No. 1
1967 - 1968 Eugene Merk - Roseburg Fire Department
1966 - 1967 Art Taylor - Tualatin Fire Department
1965 - 1966 Walt Pfluhupt - Corvallis Fire Department
1964 - 1965 George Howland - Multnomah Fire District No. 10
1963 - 1964 Hal Richards - Portland Fire Bureau
1962 - 1963 Cliff Thrasher - Roseburg Rural
1961 - 1962 Walt Pfluhupt - Corvallis Fire Department
1961 - 1962 Organizational Meeting Held at Four Corners Fire Ted Miller