History

  1. MU Column Fire

    The University of Missouri Columns

    January 9, 1892

    The University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute would be remiss if it did not mention the most famous fire in the history of the University. While the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute was decades from being conceived, this incident most certainly weighed heavily in people's memories. It more than likely inspired many to help strive to achieve adequate fire protection and rescue training for both the University and the public. Without this tragic event MU FRTI may have never formed.

  2. 1933 Fire School

    The First Central Missouri Fire School

    October 25-26, 1933

    Mid-Missouri fire departments join with the University of Missouri to address the need for more advanced training for firefighters. Through their efforts the first Missouri Central Fire School is conducted in 1933. The name of the school eventually changes to the Summer Fire College, and finally to the name it still bares today, Summer Fire School.

  3. W. Bush Walden

    First State Instructor Appointed

    1941

    Summer Fire College remains the single main initiative for statewide fire training. The State Department of Vocational Education appoints one fire instructor position to conduct training in the state. W. Bush Walden is appointed to fill the position. Walden goes on to become a major force and integral part in the development and evolution of the statewide training program.

  4. Old Engine

    The Insurance Industry Lends a Hand

    1944

    The Missouri Inspection and Rating Bureau, an insurance industry group, takes over responsibility for the fire training program and Instructor Walden transfers with the program. The University of Missouri continues to play a role during this transition as both state entities partner to offer the annual Summer Fire College.

  5. University of Missouri Seal

    Developing A Training Program

    1946

    A need across the state for fire training allowed the program to grow quickly and many training classes were held on campus in the early years. This photo is of a Fire Officer Training Class held at Tate Hall on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

  6. University of Missouri Seal

    Firemanship Training Program

    1947

    The state fire training program finds a permanent home when the Missouri Inspection and Rating Bureau turns over all programming to the University of Missouri. A full-time fire service training program is created within the University of Missouri as part of the Division of Adult Education and Extension Services. The new program is officially named Firemanship Training.

  7. Joe Fetters

    A Program Administrator

    1949

    Joe Fetters is assigned as the administrator for the Firemanship Training program. He serves the University of Missouri firefighters training program and will also go on to help found the Fire Fighter's Association of Missouri.

    MU FRTI Patch
  8. Live Burn
    Watch Video

    A Training Moment

    May 22, 1955

    The Firemanship Training program holds a controlled live fire burn on Sunday, May 22, 1955, in Ferguson, Missouri. The demonstration is conducted at the Etling house, a donated property which is scheduled for demolition. Much of the Missouri fire service is in attendance for the demonstration and the Ferguson Fire Department, Florissant Valley Fire Protection District, and the Normandy Fire Protection District are all on hand to help control the blaze. This type of controlled burn is not possible today due to regulations and environmental concerns. Firefighter training is always evolving and it is MU FRTI's goal to learn from the past in order to lead into the future.

  9. W. Bush Walden

    W. Bush Walden, Coordinator of Fire Training

    1957

    Instructor W. Bush Walden acquires the title of Coordinator of Fire Training at the University of Missouri. Having started out as the first state fire instructor his reputation precedes him and is welcomed to head the program. He will go on to lead the program for many years and have a great impact on its development.

  10. Ashland Gravel Road

    A New Location

    1960s

    Firemanship Training occupies its most prominent location on campus during the sixties. The University of Missouri erects a combination office and classroom building that is designed similar to a fire station including apparatus bays to house the program’s fire trucks and various equipment. The building is located on Ashland Gravel Road just South of the main campus and is associated with the agricultural farm. The building still survives today and functions as a working fire station for the City of Columbia Fire Department.

  11. Training Class

    Crisscrossing the State

    1963

    At this time the program consists mainly of Circuit Classes and Regional Fire Schools. The majority of instruction provided is in the form of three hour evening classes presented to four communities at a time. Instructors typically leave Columbia on Monday and drive to their first location to teach. They then service neighboring communities during the week before returning on Friday. In addition Regional Fire Schools sponsored by county associations are being held. These programs are held on weekends and consist of several different class offerings. Local schools generously provide facilities to hold these classes.

  12. Columbia FD Patch

    City of Columbia Fire Department

    1966

    By this time the City of Columbia is desperately in need of a new fire station in order to better protect a growing university campus. This need compelled the University’s Board of Curators to enter into an agreement with the Columbia City Council and lease part of the training program's building to the city. The location would be utilized to house an engine company within the building along with the training program. The existing building is in the ideal location to service the University of Missouri campus and is easily converted to a working fire station.

  13. A Partnership is Formed

    1969

    Firefighters and fire officers throughout Missouri gain a great asset to aid their training and development to learn the art of controlling flammable liquids and gas fires. The program's new focus on LP Gas training is planned, developed, delivered, and administered with the help of the Missouri LP Gas Association. This focus continues to be successful today due to the mutually beneficial partnership developed between the fire training program and the association.

    LP Gas
  14. Truman Patch

    College of Public and Community Services

    1970s

    Throughout its existence, the firefighter training program has been a unit within a number of different academic colleges or divisions within the University of Missouri. During the seventies and into the eighties, the program was included as part of the College of Public and Community Services. In 1988 that college was disbanded due to a restructuring effort by the University of Missouri System, and those departments were then distributed to the College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

  15. A. William (Bill) Westhoff, Jr.

    A New Era

    1973

    After twenty-four years of total service with the program, W. Bush Walden retires and A. William (Bill) Westhoff, Jr. is newly appointed as the Coordinator of the University of Missouri's Fire Training program. Westhoff, who has previously worked as an instructor with the program continues to expand the fire training available across the state.

  16. MU FRTI Patch

    Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Program

    1976

    Over the years the program continues to grow and offer new courses and training for fireman across the state. In 1976, the name is officially changed to the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Program to better reflect its expanded training mission. A new insignia is designed around this time to promote the program across the state.

  17. MU FRTI Fleet

    Growing as a Program

    1979

    The University of Missouri Fire Training program continues to expand over the years. Increasing both its student numbers and the equipment need to present training to Missouri firefighters.

  18. The First Annual Winter Fire School

    February 26-28, 1982

    The continued success of the Annual Summer Fire School inspired the program director and staff to expand their efforts in training more firefighters. In 1982 the program began offering a second annual training event. In 1982 the first Winter Fire School was held and has been a successful annual event ever since.

    Winter Fire School Brochure
  19. MU FRTI Patch

    Institute Accreditation

    July, 1, 1982

    Through the dedicated work of key leaders in the state’s fire service along with the support of Missouri’s fire service, the University of Missouri provides additional resources to expand the program. With the expansion, the University granted full Institute accreditation to the program on July 1, 1982, and formally changes the name to the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute. - University Archives, University of Missouri-Columbia, Record Group: 16 C Sub - Group: 11.

  20. 50th Anniversary
    Summer Fire School Brochure
    MU FRTI Patch

    50th Anniversary

    August 1983

    The Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute celebrates its golden anniversary with another Missouri State Fire School.

  21. Paul Adams

    A New Director

    1984

    A. William (Bill) Westhoff, Jr. leaves the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute and Paul Adams is appointed as his successor.

  22. Instructor Conference

    Missouri Emergency Services Instructor Conference

    December 1984

    The training and education delivered by an agency is only as good as what is provided to its instructors. Ever since its inception, MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute has taken great care in delivering current and safety conscious education and techniques to their instructors. Those informed instructors in turn pass along this life saving knowledge to emergency service professionals during training sessions. In 1985 the Institute took this initiative one step further and held the very first conference dedicated solely to instructors who are preparing and presenting training programs for emergency services personnel, and public fire education. The Missouri Emergency Services Instructor Conference was born and has continued to this day.

  23. Bruce Piringer

    Bruce R. Piringer

    1986

    After spending five years as a Fire Service Management Specialist with the National Fire Academy, an organization within the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Bruce R. Piringer takes on the role of director at the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

  24. MU FRTI Patch

    University of Missouri Extension

    1988

    Although the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute has been affiliated with the Division of Extension as far back as 1982, the Institute does not fully transfer into the University of Missouri Extension until 1988. From that date forward the Institute would considers itself a proud and grateful member of the wide variety of University of Missouri Extension programs.


    MU Extension

  25. MU FRTI Patch

    The University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute

    1991

    In compliance with changes occurring across the University of Missouri Columbia campus, the Institute’s name is officially changed in 1991 to the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute, the name it retains still to this day. As a note, abbreviations that the Institute has deemed as acceptable when referring to Institute include: the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute or the acronym MU FRTI.

  26. Heinkel

    Moving Across Campus

    1998

    Throughout its existence the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute has occupied a variety of locations on the University of Missouri's Columbia campus. In 1998 the Institute relocates to the Heinkel Building at 201 S 7th St., in Columbia, Missouri.

  27. Campus

    Expanding the Mission

    2000

    At the turn of the millennium, MU FRTI expands its mission beyond traditional firefighting education and adds programming in the areas of counter-terrorism and emergency management. These programs are expanded beyond their original scope and today, provide specialized response and emergency management training to local responders, military personnel, state and local governments, and private entities.

  28. Columbia College

    Columbia College and the Degree Program

    2001

    MU FRTI proudly partners with Columbia College to create an Associate in Science (AS) in Fire Service Administration (FSAD) degree program. Allowing firefighters the opportunity to directly transfer applicable Institute courses for college credit. As part of this partnership, MU FRTI maintains American Council on Education (ACE) college credit recommendations for selected fire service courses. MU FRTI has participated in the ACE review process ever since and continues to support the process so that the Institute’s students have the ability to transfer course work for college level credit.

    Learn More About the MU FRTI Degree Program
  29. Gary Wilson

    Director Gary Wilson

    2002

    After sixteen years with the Institute Bruce R. Piringer retires and Gary Wilson steps in on an interim basis. Less than two years later he is appointed as the director of the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute. “It’s an honor to be offered this position and to have the opportunity to lead an institute with such a strong national reputation,” Wilson said shortly after accepting the position.

  30. Fire Service Leadership Enhancement Program

    The graduating class from the 2017 Fire Service Leadership Enhancement Program is pictured above.

    Fire Service Leadership Enhancement Program

    2003

    The Fire Service Leadership Enhancement Program (FSLEP) is designed, developed and delivered to its inaugural class of graduates. During the process a partnership is formed with the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri along with the sponsorship of the Missouri Association of Fire Chiefs and the Missouri Association of Fire Protection Districts. The annual event continues to prepare fire and rescue service executives for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century and enhances their leadership skills to this day.

    Learn More About the Fire Service Leadership Enhancement Program
  31. Mobile Aircraft Firefighting Trainer

    A Time For Growth

    2004

    Emergency management training is further expanded at this time by the addition of the Exercise and Evaluation Program. This program assists local and state governments, volunteer organizations, and businesses develop operational exercises to test their emergency plans and procedures. The Institute now has three years of experience operating its first Mobile Aircraft Firefighting Trainer, a high-tech, traveling, plane-crash simulator. This simulator services airports across the nation when funds are not available for local airport fire and rescue workers to travel for such training. The mobile simulator provides a much-needed service to these employees and ultimately to air travelers.

  32. David Hedrick

    Partnership with FFAM

    2006

    The University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute partners with the Fire Fighter's Association of Missouri in a combined effort to design, edit, and publish the FFAM bi-monthly newsletter. The two organizations have a long history of collaborating in order to promote and grow the fire service community in Missouri.

  33. David Hedrick

    Director David E. Hedrick

    2007

    David E. Hedrick is appointed as the director of the University of Missouri Extension's Fire and Rescue Training Institute after Gary Wilson steps down from the position. Hedrick has been involved in fire and emergency services for over 30 years at the time of his hiring, beginning his career as a Firefighter/EMT, and serving as a volunteer fire chief. As the former Director of Fire Service Training with the Tennessee Fire & Codes Academy, Hedrick leads the Institute in to the future.

  34. Fleet at Faurot

    Planning, Developing and Delivering

    2010

    MU FRTI ranked tenth in the nation in number of fire and emergency responders trained per year. Annually the Institute delivers training to over 15,000 students and generates over 250,000 student instructional hours. Every hour of instruction received and every emergency first responder trained translates directly into safer firefighters and safer communities. In order to accomplish this goal MU FRTI maintains a fleet of trailers that transport training props and/or support equipment and annually travels over a quarter of a million miles each year providing training to all 114 Missouri counties and surrounding states. Enabled by this training, Missouri’s emergency responders have made a significant impact on the protection of lives and property from fire and other disasters.

  35. College Avenue

    A Change of Scenery

    2013

    Once again the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute relocates on the University of Missouri's Columbia campus. Moving to a newly donated and renovated building that remains as the current location of the Institute on College Avenue.

  36. Vehicle Firefighting

    Modern Mobile Training

    2016

    Over the previous nine years through various gifts, partnerships, and State and Federal grants the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute acquires multiple mobile training props. Starting in 2007, MU FRTI receives a customized Propane Trailer that holds a 500-gallon liquid propane tank and firefighting prop that assists the institute in training for natural gas emergencies. Then in 2010, they take ownership of a Hazardous Materials Training Support Trailer to facilitate training for natural and man-made disasters involving harmful substances. In 2012 they implement a Fire Cause Determination Training Unit to help educate about fire cause determination, arson awareness, and scene preservation. The following year a replacement for the Mobile Aircraft Firefighting Trainer is developed to aid with the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Training program. In 2015 a Grain Engulfment Rescue Training Unit and curriculum is initiated to train fire and emergency service responders how to respond to and safely handle grain entrapments and engulfments. The following year they take delivery of a new Specialized Mobile Fire Training Simulator System. The simulator is designed to provide specialized training in fire scenarios involving vehicles, dumpsters/trash receptacles, liquid spills, and gas cylinder fires. All of these training props aid MU FRTI in reaching first responders who may otherwise be unable to afford the travel and/or equipment expenses involved, and alternatively are able to attend presentations at their local agency.

  37. Online Training Grows

    2017

    By this time MU FRTI has fully developed and is proudly delivering five online courses. The 85th Annual Summer Fire School also receives its first delivery of Blended Learning classes. These classes combine both online classes and hands-on skills training at the annual event. Just four years previous, MU FRTI offers Hazardous Materials/WMD Incident Response: Awareness as its first online course in 2013. Starting the process of building and offering online courses for emergency service professionals. Aided by the advancements in technology and high speed internet availability for rural communities the Institute can now reach not only the state of Missouri but anyone with an internet connection.

    Learn More About the MU FRTI Online Classes
    Online Classes
  38. A Commitment to Education

    It is the mission of the University of Missouri Extension's Fire and Rescue Training Institute to plan, develop, deliver and administer state-of-the-art continuing professional education courses which meet the comprehensive training needs of fire and rescue personnel and other emergency managers and responders utilizing the most efficient and effective means possible, thereby enabling them to better protect lives and property within their communities. We pledge to do our best to accomplish this mission not only now, but for years to come.

    MU FRTI Logo

Our Story

Although fire service training has always been a part of every organized fire department, the early years in Missouri saw few training opportunities outside one’s own department. In 1933, central Missouri fire departments joined with the University of Missouri to address the need for more advanced training. Through their efforts the first Missouri Central Fire School was conducted that year. The purpose of this first school was to provide training that was needed for firefighters to perform their duties safely and efficiently. Some of the training topics of that first school included Ventilation and Gas-Masks and First Aid and Resuscitation. Even in the thirties, fire training addressed health and safety issues for firefighters, as well as providing medical services for citizens. The Missouri Central Fire School was a great success and became an annual event. The name of the school changed to the Summer Fire College, and then to the name it bears today Summer Fire School. From these modest beginnings the University of Missouri took a lead role in the training of Missouri’s fire and emergency service responders. This training mission has continued for over three quarters of a century.

Statewide fire training in Missouri remained fairly rudimentary throughout the thirties and early forties. Summer Fire College, supported by the University, remained the single main initiative. In 1941, the State Department of Vocational Education established one fire instructor position to conduct training in the state. The instructor that was appointed to fill the position was W. Bush Walden. The Missouri Inspection and Rating Bureau, an insurance industry group, took over responsibility for fire training in 1944, and Instructor Walden transferred with the program. The University continued to play a role during this transition as both state entities partnered with the University to continue to offer the annual Summer Fire School. Three years later, state fire training found a permanent full time home with the University of Missouri when the Missouri Inspection and Rating Bureau turned over all programming to the University. A full time fire service training program was created within the University of Missouri as part of the Division of Adult Education and Extension Services. The new program was named the “Firemanship Training” program. Instructor Walden continued his position as the fire service instructor with the new program. Walden retired from the program in 1973, with the title of Coordinator of Fire Training. Over the years the program continued to expand and offer new courses. In 1976, the name officially changed to the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Program to better reflect its expanded training mission.

Through the dedicated work of key leaders in the state’s fire service along with the support of Missouri’s fire service, the University of Missouri provided additional resources to expand the program. With this expansion, the University granted full Institute accreditation to the program on July 1, 1982, and formally changed the name to the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute (University Archives, University of Missouri-Columbia, Record Group: 16 C Sub - Group: 11). In compliance with changes on the University of Missouri Columbia campus, the Institute’s name was officially changed in 1991 to the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute, the name it retains today.

Throughout its existence the fire training program/institute has been a unit within a number of different academic colleges or divisions of the University, as well as occupied a variety of home locations on the University’s Columbia campus. During the seventies and eighties, Fire and Rescue Training was a part of the College of Public and Community Services. Though the program was tied with the Division of Extension starting in 1982, it did not fully transfer into Extension until 1988, when the College of Public and Community Services was disbanded. Fire and Rescue Training occupied its most prominent location on campus during the sixties when the University built a combination office and classroom building that was designed like a fire station with actual apparatus bays to house the program’s fire trucks and equipment. The building was located on Ashland Gravel Road just South of the main campus and associated with part of the agricultural farm. In 1966, the growing need for another City of Columbia fire station to better protect the growing campus of the University compelled the University’s Board of Curators to enter into an agreement with the Columbia City Council to lease part of the Institute’s space to the city to house an engine company. Initially, Fire and Rescue Training shared space with the engine company. However, the need for apparatus and crew space continued to increase which displaced the Institute. The original building went through a number of remodels and is now Columbia Fire Department’s Station #3. In 1998, the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute relocated to the Heinkel Building and in 2013 moved to its current location at 1110 South College Avenue, Room 232 on the Southeast end of the MU campus in Columbia.

Since the inception of the “Firemanship Training” program in 1947, the program has utilized traditional fire service insignia in an emblem designed to identify and symbolize the program. The first emblem was circular with “University of Missouri • Firemanship Education” around the edge and traditional fire service symbols incorporated in the center. With the granting of Institute status by the University in 1982, the Institute incorporated a new emblem utilizing the traditional, internationally-recognized fire service Maltese Cross with the wording Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute. By a 1991 directive from the Chancellor’s Office, the stacked “MU” logo was placed in the center of Institute’s Maltese Cross emblem which established the official Institute title of the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI). In 2001, MU FRTI’s emblem was engraved in granite, along with the other major fire service organization and agencies, as part of the Missouri State Fire Fighters Memorial in Kingdom City, MO. MU FRTI’s emblem stands in tribute to Missouri’s firefighters who have fallen in the Line of Duty, as well as those who continue to serve.

In addition to coordinating and delivering the Institute’s training programs, MU FRTI works in concert with the National Fire Academy (NFA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to provide NFA programming at the state level. As the local face of the National Fire Academy, MU FRTI maintains the same quality of instruction and high standards established by the National Fire Academy. As the state Enfranchised Program for the NFA, the Institute teaches NFA hand-off courses, as well as teaching curriculum developed by MU FRTI that carries NFA credit endorsements.

In late 2000, MU FRTI expanded its mission beyond traditional firefighting education and added programming in the areas of counter-terrorism and emergency management. These programs have expanded beyond their original scope and today, provide specialized response and emergency management training to local responders, military personnel, state and local governments, and private entities. In January 2004, emergency management training was further expanded by the addition of the Exercise and Evaluation Program. This program assists local and state governments, volunteer organizations, and businesses develop operational exercises to test their emergency plans and procedures.

In 2001, MU FRTI proudly partnered with Columbia College to create an Associate in Science (AS) in Fire Service Administration (FSAD) degree program. This program provides firefighters the opportunity to directly transcript and transfer applicable Institute courses for college credit towards this degree. As part of this partnership, MU FRTI maintains American Council on Education (ACE) college credit recommendations for selected fire service courses.

The ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) connects workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping adults gain access to academic credit for formal courses and examinations taken outside traditional degree programs. MU FRTI has meticulously groomed courses specific to this degree to meet the high standards of the ACE organization. MU FRTI has participated in the ACE review process since 2001 and continues to support the process so that the Institute’s students have the value added ability to transfer course work for college level credit.

MU FRTI works closely with the Missouri Division of Fire Safety (DFS) and the Missouri Fire Education and Advisory Commission to ensure that MU FRTI courses, where applicable, address state fire service certification requirements. The Institute also works with other state and federal entities regarding approvals and acceptance of training courses delivered by the program.

MU FRTI is listed as the sixth oldest state level fire training program in the United States. The Institute’s mission continues to be focused on providing effective, standards-based, quality training and education for our state and nation’s emergency responders. Examples of the comprehensive areas of emergency response training include: structural, wildland, and aircraft firefighting; emergency medical care; technical rescue; environmental emergency mitigation; fire service instructor and company officer development; counter-terrorism; emergency management; and emergency planning and exercise evaluation.

Following the Land Grant University model for Extension outreach, MU FRTI is the state’s “classroom” and technical skills training program for Missouri’s fire and emergency service responders by delivering programming across the state to local communities, as well as through annual and regional fire schools. MU FRTI maintains a fleet of trailers that transport training props and/or support equipment and annually travels over a quarter of a million miles each year providing training to all 114 Missouri counties and surrounding states. Enabled by this training, Missouri’s emergency responders have made a significant impact on the protection of lives and property from fire and other disasters. In 2010, MU FRTI ranked tenth in the nation in number of fire and emergency responders trained per year. Annually the Institute delivers training to over 15,000 students and generates over 250,000 student instructional hours. Every hour of instruction received and every emergency first responder trained translates directly into safer firefighters and safer communities.

 

The mission of the University of Missouri Extension's Fire and Rescue Training Institute is to plan, develop, deliver and administer state-of-the-art continuing professional education courses which meet the comprehensive training needs of fire and rescue personnel and other emergency managers and responders utilizing the most efficient and effective means possible, thereby enabling them to better protect lives and property within their communities.


The History of the MU FRTI Logo

 

Since the inception of the Firemanship Training program in 1947, the program has utilized an insignia, or as is traditional in the state and nation’s fire service an emblem, badge, and patch, to identify and symbolize the program. The following are examples of the different emblems that have identified the University of Missouri’s Fire and Rescue Training program throughout its history as the preeminent educational institution for fire and emergency service training in Missouri.

 

 

 

MU FRTI Logo

1949

MU FRTI Logo

1970s

MU FRTI Logo

1982

MU FRTI Logo

1988

MU FRTI Logo

1991