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Raleigh Fire Department: A Century of Service - 1912-2012

Last updated April 18, 2013



Raleigh Fire Department: A Century of Service - 1912-2012 was published by the Raleigh Fire Department in March 2013. This was the fire department's fourth commemorative book, following "history books" published in 1982, 2002, and 2007. The printing company, which also provided design services, was Strawbridge Studios of Durham. The project's content manager was department historian Mike Legeros, who was also the project's writer and researcher. This document compiles corrections and production notes.

For information of the Raleigh Fire Department's 2007 history book, see this web page. It documents the process used to create Raleigh Fire Department: 95 Years of Services, designed and printed by M. T. Publishing in 2007. The book features text and other materials written and compiled by Mike Legeros.



Page(s) Current Corrected Notes
55 Stan L. Health, Stan L. Heath Women firefighters narrative.
167 Recruit Academy 38 graduated on... Recruit Academy 37 graduated on... Group photo caption.

Historical Photo Credits

See this web page.

Production Notes - Part I

Production Notes - Part II

Page(s) Production Notes
General Design Notes
  • Longer text sections of the book were designed using a two-column format, notably to accommodate the design of text reprinted/reworked from earlier history books. Those text sections contained many short paragraphs, which rendered better on pages with two columns insted of one.
Roll Call
Four pages, printed on end sheets
  • For the department's centennial anniversary, a web-based "roll call" was created based on data compiled by the department's historian.
  • The roll call represented a list of all known members of the Raleigh Fire Department.
  • The format was a solid section of text, instead of line or paragraph breaks. Entries were separated with commas.
  • The roll call originally included only full-time members. During the production of the book, it was expanded to included current and some part-time members. There was not enough time, however, to research and add all former part-time employees.
  • Criteria for roll call inclusion was either (a.) successful graduation of the recruit academy or (b.) worked one day or more, if they did not attend a recruit academy (earlier-era firefighters or non-line personnel).
One page
  • During the production process, a "running list" of contributors was maintained, to ensure that the acknowledgements were as comprehensive as possible.
  • Specific areas of expertise and project management were cited, notably to recognize those who contributed or led some of the project's major components. Such as the crew photos from each station, the portraits taken of all personnel, and the work done by the designers.
Fire Chief Biographies
Paragraphs and portrait included in visual history section.
  • These biographies were created for this project.
  • The process started with newspaper clippings and other biographical information from the researcher. These were reviewed and compiled by an assistant into a list of biographical data points.
  • These were expanded by the researcher using a variety of sources, including Google searches for age, birth, and death information; local history library newspaper archives for obituaries and biographical information therein; and oral histories, from the chiefs who were still living.
  • Where needed to fill space on the pages, shorter biographies were expanded with details about the fire department during the time of the fire chief's service.
History - Visual
73 pages
  • The visual timelines were intended as an alternate to a simple collection of historical photos. Visual content over text narratives was emphasized. Non-photographic images were also included, such as newspaper headlines, fire protection report covers, and paper certificates. The format was influenced by a design used by the Greensboro Fire Department, in their 2001 commemorative book.
  • To conceive the timelines, half-size Word documents were created, using a landscape-oriented page to represent a two-page book spread. The margins of the document were adjusted to replicate the proportions of the 9 x 12 book size. Images, photos, and text elements were placed, but at "half-size." A master text file was kept separately, with the "finished" text always copied from that document onto the mock-ups. (And corrections to the mock-ups repeated in the master copy of the "finished" text.)
  • To create the timelines, the graphic designer created full-size versions of each page, based exactly, partially, or in the spirit of the mock-ups. As needed, the designer suggested changes, ranging from removing elements that overcrowded a page to requesting additional text, to fill space on the page.
History - Text
30 pages
  • In addition to a collection of historical photos (repurposed as a visual timeline), a narrative history of the fire department was also desired. The project timeframe did not permit an all-new "beginning to end" history text. Instead, the text sections from the 1984 and 2002 books were repeated, and extended to 2012.
  • Thirty pages were planned for the complete section, which was estimated to require between 30,000 and 40,000 words.
  • Preceding the pages was a one-page historical chart, created in a prior year by the department's historian.
  • The project's writer/researcher had already revised the 1984 text as an earlier project, with extensive annotations and corrections. The 2002 text require revisions and some rewriting, to match or evolve as a narrative style from 1982 to 2012.
  • For the new text, from 2002 to 2012, some existing text was utilized from Raleigh Fire Department newsletter stories of the past six years. Other seed text was generated from web content created by the department's historian.
  • Once the text was completed, pictures were chosen, one per page. They were intended to match the historical era of the narrative.
  • After the first proofs were created, some adjustments were requested to the spacing and positioning of the text. This required filling space with two more images. These were 20th century images inserted into the 19th century narrative sections. Captions were written to tie the newer pictures to older and similar events.
Firefighters in Action
Six pages
  • These pages consisted of current action photos, plus captions of varying lengths.
  • This section continued a tradition started in the 2007 book, which presented incident and event photos from the date of the previous book (2002) to present (2007). Thus, for the centennial book, photos were chosen from 2008 to 2012. .
  • Photos include an incident from December 26, 2012. No content was included in any book section that depicted or represented the fire department after December 31, 2012.
Station Pages
Thirty-two pages
  • These pages consisted of a current facility photo, the station address and assigned units, photos and names of the crews on each platoon, two or more current or historical photos, and a text history of the station.
  • New facility photos were taken for the project, using a pair of photographers over a couple month's time.
  • The facility photos from 2007 were used in the book's visual timelines, where station photos were shown during the decades they were built.
  • For former fire station buildings still standing, new photos were taken of those as well.
  • Crew photos, one per platoon, were taken by the station personnel, or arranged by the station personnel. This was a change from the 2007 book, which used a team of photographers to visit and photograph all stations. The process was not necessarily improved, and still proved a challenge on a number of fronts.
  • Though the station personnel were sent guidelines for their photos, no restriction on "landscape format" was communicated. As a result, one portrait-oriented photo required very tight cropping. A couple other portrait photos required the use of alternate takes.
  • Toward the end of the submission period, the photos were shared with the stations, including those "gaps" waiting to be filled. This resulted in a couple crews submitted newer/alternate photos.
  • One or two of the crew photos was taken at least month past the deadline.
Apparatus Photos
Five pages
  • These pages featured a "grid" of posed apparatus photos, plus one long caption per page.
  • This section replicated the format and even some images from the 2007 book. Some of the same apparatus was featured, but with either newer images or newly found (and better) historical images.
  • One additional apparatus page was added, showing "after they left Raleigh" photos of apparatus in various states of post-Raleigh service or disposal.
  • Apparatus accident photos were largely omitted from book, however, except in a couple instances as shown or referenced in the visual timeline and history text pages.
Personnel Portraits
  • Two rounds of portraits were done. One at the start of the project, with all members of the department requested to have their pictures taken. The photographer was Strawbridge Studios, also the book printer. About ten months later, as the project concluded, a second set of portraits were made, also by Strawbridge. These permitted promoted or retired personnel to have newer pictures made, and included in the book.
  • Portraits were ordered in the book by division, which replicated all earlier history books. Operations portraits, however, were subsequently ordered by name instead of rank. The exceptions were the Asst. Chief of Operations and the Administrative Assistant, who were featured on an introductory page.
  • Portrait names were generated from the internal records management system, then reviewed by committee members for accuracy.
  • Proof pages of the portraits were created by the printer, and made available to the department as low-resolution PDF files. All members of the department were requested to view their pages. An internal online web application was created to track portrait reviewing, and collect feedback on name or data changes.
  • Portrait changes were submitted, and new proofs were created at the very end of the project. Personnel were given two weeks to review the pages again, and communicate any remaining errors.
  • Though the department has some part-time and temporary members, their portraits were not included. One division head chose this direction for their section, and the other sections were brought in line, in the interest of consistency.
Retiree Portraits
  • The committee set an ambitious goal of featuring portraits of every retiree since the since the start of the system in 1949.
  • A portrait format was required for inclusion. Cropped snapshots would not be allowed, in the interest of consistency.
  • This represented some 360 members, but most of whom had been photographed in prior history books. Many of these had already been scanned, and even featured on a web site of retiree portraits, so the uphill climb wasn't nearly as step.
  • The retiree portraits from the three prior books were scanned, which produced moderate quality images.
  • The source photographic prints were located for the 1984 retiree portraits, which improved the quality of those scans.
  • An additional number of portraits were created using cropped snapshots. The backgrounds were removed and replaced with a gradient graphic pattern.
  • Short gaps in service, for military duty, were not noted in the start and stop years for retiree portraits. However, they are noted in the book's roll call section.
  • Once the proofs were made, low-resolution PDF files were placed on a web site, and retirees were contacted to review the names and faces and dates.
  • Corrections to the proofs were made using PDF editor annotations, such as arrows and circles and squares.
Gone Too Soon
One page
  • These are photos of personnel who died off-duty.
  • Portraits were created for a number of these members, see above in Retiree Portraits.
  • The families of some of these members were also contacted, and which resulted in additional photo submissions.
Special History Sections
  • First Responder/EMT
    Some of the initially chosen photos were removed from consideration because they either (a.) showed a patients face (and thus revealed their identity) or (b.) showed incorrect technique in depiction of patient care.



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