Firefighters honor late columnist at FDSOA
Vol 26 Spring
Hundreds of firefighters paused Jan. 25 to pay silent tribute to the late Bob Barraclough at the Annual Apparatus Symposium of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA), an event he helped create 23 years ago.
Barraclough, the chief columnist of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment magazine, died Friday at his home in Plano, Texas. He was 70, and his heart had been failing.
In 2009, Barraclough celebrated 50 years of dedication to the fire service and the fire industry by inviting friends to a party in Dallas during the annual Fire-Rescue International conference and trade show. The following month, his friend and colleague, C. Peter Jorgensen, the founder and publisher of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, died of cancer.
During the past year, Barraclough told people close to him it was time for the next generation of firefighters to take charge at FDSOA. At Monday’s symposium opening, Janet Wilmoth, editorial director at Fire Chief magazine, praised Barraclough for his commitment to education and for his passion for putting people together to advance their knowledge and the cause of safety. She urged everyone to take that message home and create new networks for the benefit of the fire service.
Barraclough, the son of a volunteer firefighter, grew up in Pennsylvania across the street from a firehouse and was a volunteer firefighter for more than 20 years. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as fire marshal on the USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
After the military, he went to work for National Foam and later took executive positions at Hale Pumps, E-ONE, Span Instruments and Class 1. In recent years he testified as an expert witness in litigation involving fire industry products and was a consultant to Rosenbauer America.
He was also a prominent member of fire service and industry organizations. In addition to playing a major role in FDSOA, he was an influential member of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 1901 fire apparatus standard committee for more than 20 years and was a member and past president of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association (FAMA). He was also on the Board of Directors of the Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI).
He was honored at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in the spring of 2004 as a recipient of The Joe Fishelson Award, which is presented annually to recognize those who have “given back” to the fire and emergency service industry.
In recent years as his energy waned, Barraclough rode an electric scooter to help him get around the fire industry trade shows where he seemed to know everyone.
One of his favorite shows was the world’s largest, Interschutz, which is held every five years in Germany. He would return with photos to illustrate European innovations that he promoted through presentations to firefighters at venues across the country, which always included the annual FDSOA Apparatus Symposium.