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Founding F.O.O.L.S.

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Chief Michael H. Gilbert

Brevard Fire Training Academy, Cocoa, Florida

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Chief Gilbert is a 30-year veteran of the fire service. Mike currently serves as Chief of the Brevard Community College Fire Training Academy in Florida; he also holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Melbourne Fire Department.  He has been an FDIC staff member and a HOT instructor since 1992.  The Chief also instructs for Firehouse Expo and Firehouse World.


Mike is certified by the State of Florida Bureau of Fire Standards & Training as a Firefighter, Company Officer, and Instructor.  He holds an Applied Science Degree in Fire Science.  Mike is a well-seasoned instructor in the areas of firefighter survival, engine  & truck company operations, and has been instrumental in the development of the Fire Service Hydraulics, Apparatus Operator, and Firefighting Standards for the State of Florida.  He is also a member of the Florida Fire Training Directors.


District Chief Mike Stallings, Jr.

City of Orlando Fire Department, Florida

Mike has been a member of the fire service since 1992, currently serving with the City of Orlando Fire Department since 1996, where he holds the rank of Lieutenant and is a member of Engine Company 1.  Mike has been an FDIC instructor, proudly teaching from 1999-2002.  He is on the organizational committee of the Orlando Fire Conference as a Hands-On Training Advisor and has been involved in training brother and sister firefighters in Maine, California, Baltimore, Indianapolis, and many parts of Florida.  Mike is a member of Florida USAR Task Force 4 (FLTF-4) as a Rescue Specialist.  Mike also holds the rank of Lieutenant at the Brevard Fire Training Academy.  In his department, Mike is the co-founder of the Orlando Firefighters' Pipes & Drums, where he holds the rank of Pipe Major.

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Lieutenant John "Bart" Simpson

Osceola County Fire Rescue, Florida

John "Bart" Simpson has been a member of the fire service for over 33 years and is currently assigned to Tower Ladder 72 in Celebration, Florida.  John started his fire service career with the Peters Township Fire Department in Pennsylvania.  He has been an FDIC staff member and a HOT instructor since 1987.  John also instructs for Firehouse Expo and Firehouse World and has taught internationally.  He is certified by the State of Florida Bureau of Fire Standards and Training.  John is well versed in the areas of truck & engine company operations, RIT, firefighter survival, and thermal imaging.  In his department, John participates in various committees.

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District Chief Walter Lewis

City of Orlando Fire Department, Florida

District Chief Lewis has been involved in the fire service for over 24 years; the last 18 years with the City of Orlando Fire Department.  He is and has been an instructor and eternal student of the fire service.  As a past Executive Board member and Founder of F.O.O.L.S. International, he has been involved in various training and fundraising events for the F.O.O.L.S. and charities they support.

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Lieutenant Ken Ireland

City of Orlando Fire Department, Florida

Ken Ireland has been in the fire service for over 20 years, serving with Brevard County Fire Rescue, Orlando International Airport Fire Department, and for the last 15 years with the City of Orlando Fire Department.  Ken is currently a Driver assigned to Tower 7 on the west side of Orlando.  Ken as has an A.S. in Fire Science and is currently working towards his Bachelor's Degree.  He is a Florida State Certified Fire Instructor, live burn instructor, and lead instructor for Bevard Community College Fire Academy.  Ken also serves as an instructor for the Orlando and Fort Lauderdale Fire Conferences, Hawaii Fire Conference, and previously FDIC; all working with VES techniques.  He is also a member of Florida Task Force 4 where he holds the position of Rescue Specialist.

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District Chief Tom Redmond

City of Cocoa, Florida

District Fire Chief Tom Redmond has been in the professional fire service since 1995. His responsibilities include oversight of fire suppression, emergency medical response and rescue activities. Prior to his current appointment, Chief Redmond has held the ranks of Deputy Fire Chief, Division Chief, Captain, Firefighter, and Volunteer Firefighter. He has served in the roles of Training Instructor, Acting Fire Chief, and project manager for a large capital fire apparatus project. Chief Redmond is a founding member of the Fraternal Order of Leatherhead Society (F.O.O.L.S.). He is a certified Fire Officer, Fire Inspector, Fire Instructor and Paramedic by the State Of Florida. He holds an Associates degree in Fire Science, and he has completed university-level coursework as he pursues a Bachelors degree in Fire Administration. Tom also is a member of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association and International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Founding F.O.O.L.S. Emeritus


Consultant - Ellen Brown
City of Hollywood Police Department / Code Enforcement, Florida (Ret)

For those of you who don't know Ellen, she is the F.O.O.L.ish MOM.  Ellen has been with F.O.O.L.S. International since early 2001, handling membership and general every day administrative business.  Ellen and her husband Dick are retired from the City of Hollywood (FL).  Dick retired as a Captain of the Hollywood Fire-Rescue Department and Ellen was with the PD and Code Enforcement.  F.O.O.L.S. has been such a tremendous part of their lives, enjoying the friendship and camroderie that comes along with being a F.O.O.L.

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Captain Michael Dugan (Ret)

Michael M. Dugan is a 38-year veteran of the fire service and a 26-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), serving as captain of Ladder Company 123 in Brooklyn. As a firefighter in Ladder Company 43, Dugan received the James Gordon Bennett medal in 1992 and the Harry M. Archer Medal in 1993, the FDNY’s highest award for bravery. He became the F.O.O.L.S. International Training Trustee, helping organize training events through out the country with local F.O.O.L.S. chapters.  He was an instructor at the inception of the FDNY’s Annual Education Day and has developed programs currently taught to all FDNY members during the annual event.


Mike is a member of the IAFC Safety, Health & Survival Section. He serves as a HOT instructor at Firehouse Expo and FDIC, and is a regular contributor to fire service magazines. He also lectures at various events around the country on topics dealing with truck company operations, building construction, scene size-up and today’s fire service. 

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