James P. Smith was appointed to the Philadelphia Fire Department on June 29, 1966. He was promoted to lieutenant on December 18, 1972; to captain on December 30, 1974; to battalion chief on August 3, 1981; and to deputy chief on June 27, 1987. Deputy chief is the highest fire department civil service position. Chief Smith reported to the deputy commissioner. He retired on July 7, 2007 and continues to lecture and write on firefighting.
He has worked on both engine and ladder companies and in every section of the city. He has served as director of the Philadelphia Fire Academy. In this role, he was the departmental Safety Officer and responded on multiple alarm fires performing the Safety Officer’s function. Additional areas of responsibility included the research and planning unit.
Chief Smith has been associated with the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, since 1982. He is a graduate of the prestigious Executive Fire Officer’s Program and is an adjunct instructor. He has developed and taught many programs.
He has lectured throughout the United States on incident management, safety, church fires, building construction, building collapse, strategy and tactics, incident command systems, tank farm fires, and high-rise firefighting.
Chapter 1: Preparation
Chapter 2: Management Tools
Chapter 3: Decision Making
Chapter 4: Company Operations
Chapter 5: Building Construction
Chapter 6: Building Collapse and Scene Safety
Chapter 7: Special Situations and Occupancies
Chapter 8: Health Care and High-Risk Populations
Chapter 9: Commercial and Industrial
Chapter 10: Technical Operations
Chapter 11: After the Incident