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John Norman
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Profile Information

Lives in:
Merrick, NY
Fire Department, City of New York
Retired Chief of Special Operations
Years of public service:
Agency structure:
Paid fire department
Top issues in your department:
Life Safety
Professional Qualifications:
See Bio
Topics you provide training for:
Fire and Rescue Operations
Areas of expertise:
Technical Rescue
Fireground Operations
Hazardous Materials
Deputy Assistant Chief John Norman is a veteran of more than 37 years in the fire service, including 27 years with the FDNY, the majority of that time in Special Operations units. Chief Norman served as a firefighter with Engine Co. 290, Ladder Co. 103 in Brooklyn, Rescue Co. #3, and helped organize Hazardous Materials Company #1 at its inception in 1984. As a Lieutenant, he served with Rescue Co.#2, in Brooklyn, and as the Captain of Rescue Company #1. While still assigned to Rescue 1, John worked with the Safety Command and the Fire Commissioner’s High Rise Fire Safety Task Force, investigating and then developing high-rise fire safety legislation in the wake of the fatal Vandalia Avenue and Macauley Culkin fires. Promotion to Battalion Chief in 1999 brought assignment to Battalion 10 and the Y2K Preparation Task Force before assignment to Battalion 16. In the days after September 11th, 2001, and the collapse of the Twin Towers, John was designated as the Search and Rescue Manager for the World Trade Center site. He operated in that position for two months before assuming the job of Chief of Special Operations on a full-time basis. He was subsequently promoted to Deputy Chief in June of 2003, remaining in Special Operations. In August 2004, Chief Norman was promoted to Deputy Assistant Chief, and once again designated as Chief of Special Operations, in addition to being a citywide tour commander, responsible for all operations of the New York Fire Department during his 24 hour shift.

Chief Norman attended Oklahoma State University, majoring in Fire Protection Technology. After college he worked as a Fire Protection Engineer for a major N.Y.C. fire protection contractor, designing sprinkler, standpipe, and other fire protection systems for many buildings in the Metro New York area, including such famous addresses as 666 Fifth Avenue, and portions of the ill-fated World Trade Center. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Service Administration from Empire State College of the State University of New York. He attended the first FDNY/USMA-West Point Combating Terrorism Leadership Program in 2003, and is a graduate of the FDNY/Columbia University Fire Officers Management Institute.

Chief Norman has been an adjunct instructor at the Fire Academy on Randall’s Island, teaching in the Chief Officers Development Course, the Confined Space Rescue, Building Collapse Rescue, and the Foam Coordinator’s/Flammable Liquid Training courses. A Task Force Leader with the New York City Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, John has taught in the Rescue Specialist Training Course given by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the nation’s 28 U.S.A.R. teams. He has been decorated for valor nine times. He is also the author of the best selling “Fire Officers Handbook of Tactics” and its accompanying study guide, and is the author of a chapter on Pre-Incident Planning in the Handbook of Fire Protection. He has written extensively for such fire service magazines as WNYF, Fire Engineering, and Firehouse, and served on validation committees for the International Fire Service Training Association dealing with the following training manuals; Ventilation, Fire Service Rescue, Building Construction Related to the Fire Service, and Terrorism.
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Comment Wall (14 comments)

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At 11:09am on October 7, 2009, Rick Fritz said…
The new Basics book looks great!
At 9:59pm on September 22, 2009, Nick Morgan said…
Hey Chief,
Great seminar last week in "the Gateway City". Looking forward to when you come back for the next one.
God bless and stay safe!
At 12:37pm on August 20, 2009, Nick Morgan said…
Hey Chief,
I just purchased your 3rd edition handbook, and it looks great. I'm looking forward to your seminar here in September. Will you discuss the reasons why WTC 1, 2, and 7 collapsed catastrophically in your presentation? Believe it or not, there are people on our FD who believe the conspiracy theory nonsense about why those buildings collapsed.
Take care!
At 12:54pm on January 21, 2009, Nick Morgan said…
Hey Chief, Hope you're doing well. Thanks for accepting my invite. Your book on FG tactics is truly one of my favorites. I hope to see you at FDIC. God bless and stay safe!
At 12:53am on January 21, 2009, Gary Rauch said…
Hey Chief, Hope all is well with you and your family. And hope to see you at IFSI or at FDIC. BE SAFE!
At 11:30am on January 18, 2009, Mike Walker said…

Through this group, my understanding of High-Rise tactics has grown immensly (excuse the poor spelling), and I know others have as well. For instance, in Oklahoma City we have a little over 100 High-Rises but we have very few fires in them. As our city high-rises change from mainly office highrise to residential highrise our fires in thes buildings are increasing, so what I've learned from the brothers in this group has been tremendous.
At 11:19am on January 18, 2009, Mike Walker said…
Thanks for adding me as one of your friends Chief. It would be an honor if you would check out the High-Rise Group and hopefully join the group. People from all over the country are using this group to improve their high-rise operations and I am sure your input would be extremely beneficial.
At 6:47am on May 11, 2008, Barry Aptt said…

I have met and seen you speak numerous times in MA and Providence R.I. I thank you for some great training and I hope retirement has been good to you.
At 9:45am on May 4, 2008, Jeffrey Post said…
Chief Good to see you again. Maybe we'll bring you back to the Mystic FD sometime!!
At 11:37am on May 1, 2008, Nick Morgan said…
Hey Chief, welcome to the site. It's an honor to have you with us. Thanks for writing your book on fireground tactics; it's helped me as a firefighter and I count it among my favorites! God bless!

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