Firefighters Mourn Loss of Phoenix Fire Chief

Like this post? Share it!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Firefighters worldwide are mourning the loss of one of their most respected brothers with the loss of former Phoenix Fire Chief, Alan Brunacini, who died suddenly on Sunday, aged 80. Serving as a Fire Chief for over 28 years, Brunacini joined the Phoenix Fire Department in 1959, holding every position in the organisation. From Firefighter, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief and Assistant Chief, to Fire Chief in 1978, it is fair to say that Alan had his fair share of experience in the industry. Brunacini was the author of various books related to the provision of firefighting services including Fire Command, Command Safety, Timeless Tactical Truths, Essentials of Fire Department Customer Service and The Anatomy and Physiology of Leadership, but is most well known in the industry for his work on the Blue Card Incident Command Training System.

Blue Card, which is based predominantly on Brunacini’s book, Fire Command, has been adopted by firefighting organisations right around the globe, including Fire & Rescue NSW in Australia, and helps firefighters and incident controllers maintain effective communication with their crews, and continual accountability for those working on a fireground. In light of so many on-duty firefighter deaths in the United States, Brunacini relentlessly encouraged firefighters to reflect on firefighting operations and to identify weaknesses in risk identification, risk mitigation and incident command structures. His commitment to continually learning, and teaching those around him what he had learned explains why he was regarded as such an influential mentor to so many firefighters, with wit and wisdom, and an insatiable passion for firefighting.

Brunacini was a huge advocate for the use of residential sprinkler systems, and is famously quoted as saying “nothing unburns, but everything dries out”, a quote often repeated by firefighters talking about the efficiency of fire suppression systems, and their integral role in saving lives. Continually working to ensure that firefighters worked as safely as possible, and that communities were afforded the utmost level of compassion and understanding during the aftermath of devastating fires is an excellent example for current and future firefighters to live by.

It is this mentality that makes firefighters safer, more efficient and more effective. Throughout his career, Brunacini chaired the Technical Committee for NFPA standard 1500 – Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health and 1710 Standard for the Organisation and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. His work and involvement in various research programs which focussed on fire science and behavior, and firefighter health and safety, ultimately made firefighters around the world safer, and we are forever indebted for his tireless work in these areas.

Alan leaves behind his two sons and daughters, all three of which are firefighters. Our thoughts and condolences are with all of Alan’s family in what is a very sad time for all firefighting brothers and sisters around the globe, and indeed his close friends and families.

Trusted Voices: Alan Brunacini

Trusted Voices: In this video, FE Chief Bobby Halton talks to Alan Brunacini about his career and one of his prized possessions: a restored Mack fire truck. Bruno, retired Phoenix chief and longtime FE contributor, passed away suddenly yesterday. Watch a clip and see the full series of interviews at

Posted by Fire Engineering on Monday, 16 October 2017

Thank you, Sir. We’ll take it from here.

Like this post? Share it!


I founded Flashover to promote Australian Firefighting. I've been a volunteer and a paid firefighter but now I spend my time chasing up leads, promoting good mental health and making the occasional Grumpy Firecom comic!

You may also like...