Heritage Documents

“Let me pay tribute here to the remarkable accomplishments that have been registered over the years by fire protection engineers and fire preventionists throughout industry, throughout the fire insurance business, in many of our municipal fire departments, and in numerous Federal and State agencies. The work of these men [and women] is not spectacular and seldom reaches the public consciousness. Big fires are front page, but a fire prevented is not news.”

Percy Bugbee eloquently summed up the diligent work performed by fire safety professionals in his address at the President’s Conference on Fire Prevention in May 1947, and the sentiment rings as true today as it did then. The proceedings from the President’s Conference are among many documents that form the cornerstone of the modern fire protection industry. For many years, dog-eared copies of conference proceedings, industry and government studies, test reports and sketches of the profession have been held in private libraries, educational institutions and government archives. Some of these documents, like the America Burning series, were requested enough to have enjoyed multiple printings and wide availability. Others have been hidden away in collections unavailable to the general public.

The SFPE Foundation recognizes the importance of these Heritage Documents to our technical and professional history, and fully believes in the adage that one cannot know their future without understanding their past. To that end, the Foundation is striving to make publicly available Heritage Documents from a variety of sources. The idea started with a cooperative project with the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (BFRL-NIST), which agreed to electronically duplicate a variety of reports that have been difficult to access for decades. Generous donors have provided additional documents. With the help of SFPE members and affiliate organizations, the Foundation will expand the effort to highlight Heritage Documents that document our past and shape our future.

Many of these texts are available exclusively from the Foundation and are available for free. To support the continuing efforts of the Foundation, users are asked to donate here . The Foundation strives to update the list as new documents become available. Please check back often to find new items!

Contributors: David Evans, Morgan Hurley, Nora Jason, Ozzie Mirkhah, Paul Reneke, David Tomecek

SFPE takes no responsibility for the content of those documents not produced by SFPE. This website indicates, where possible, the originating source in order to respect copyrights, registrations, patents or other legal claims to the content of the documents.

The views and conclusions expressed in these documents are those of the identified author or authoring agency and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SFPE.

Neither SFPE nor any document contributor(s) is responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of information contained within the documents, nor shall be liable or responsible to any person or entity for any loss or damage caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly by the information or ideas contained therein.