The America Burning Audio Book Project
If you’ve been a firefighter for long enough, you’ve heard about the federal report from 1973 called America Burning. You probably heard it during your recruit training and then forgot about it. Then as you grow up in the fire service, you hear that title again and again. It was the product of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, and the recommendations of the report led to the establishment of the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Academy. Many of the things we take for granted today are a direct result of the recommendations of this report.
So it’s a pretty important document in the history of the fire service in the United States. It’s also required reading for some classes at the National Fire Academy. And when Bill had to read it for a class, he went looking for an audiobook version. It turns out, there isn’t one. So after approaching the National Fire Academy Publications Office to make sure it didn’t violate any copyright laws, we decided we wanted to create an audio book to make it easier for people to access this important document.
Now, many of you may have recorded audio books before, but this was a real learning process for us. Each page of text of the 149 of the report that we chose to record took about 45 minutes. You’ve never read so slow and re-read so many times in your life. You learn a lot about your breathing, which words to stress, and the fact that you aren’t as good at speaking as you thought you were. Then all of those audio clips that you’ve created have to be edited together until you get your audio book.
All told, it was about a 200 hour process. Enjoy.