Classroom at Training Facility a Tribute to Man Who Changed the Way LR Firefighters Are Trained
(Wednesday, March 21, 2007) – “For 50 years, Rubin Webb served the City of Little Rock. Though retired in 1999, his efforts continue today and will do so into the future,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. The remarks were made at a ceremony dedicating a classroom at the new Fire Training Academy in honor of Chief Webb.
“Under Chief Webb’s leadership, training went from a ‘hands on’ experience to a 16 week intensive, formal process,” said Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr. “The Little Rock Fire Department training produces personnel certified as Firefighters I and II, EMTs, and in HazMat Operations. Chief Webb’s leadership made this program what it is today.”
“Because of Chief Webb’s involvement with training, it is fitting that we dedicate this classroom today in his honor,” said Mayor Stodola.
“It was my privilege to serve the citizens of Little Rock for 50 years,” said Chief Webb. “In that time, I served with outstanding men and women who were truly dedicated to making Little Rock a better place to live and work. It pleases me to see the Little Rock Fire Department continue to grow and expand its services, while maintaining its commitment to community involvement. I am deeply honored by this recognition today.”
Rubin W. Webb
Little Rock Fire Chief 1979-1999
Rubin W. Webb came to work for the City of Little Rock after serving in World War II on May 11, 1949 as a truck driver. He transferred to the Little Rock Fire Department on February 1 of 1954 and was promoted to Driver on October 16, 1959. January 1st of 1965 saw his promotion to Captain and July 28 of 1969 was the date he was promoted to District Chief.
The retirement of Jack D. Davis in 1979 opened the position of department head and District Chief Webb was promoted and took office on October 15 of 1979. May 1st 1999 was the DROP date for Chief Webb and several other senior officers.
Chief Webb, having led the department for 20 years, witnessed many changes during his tenure.
The department went back to custom apparatus which allowed for more reliance and a much longer service life than commercial units. Aerial trucks went from straight stick mid or rear mounts to Tower Ladders with platforms making the operations safer. Engine companies went from 1000 GPM with 500 gallon tanks to 1500 GPM and 750 gallon tanks to allow for quicker knock down.
Chief Webb instituted many programs during his years in office such as Tactical Rescue Team which is now known as Rescue 2. The Hazardous Materials Unit now running out of Station 11 was another of Chief Webb’s additions.
Training for recruits changed drastically in that it went from a fairly basic hands on sort of enterprise to a comprehensive 16 plus week program which turned out personnel certified not only as EMT’s but also as Fire Fighter 1 & 2 as well as Haz Mat Operations Level. Much of these changes were a direct result of Chief Webb’s experience as the LRFD Drill Master during his tenure as a District Chief.
Little Rock’s expansion led to the addition of stations, remodeling of facilities, and company redeployments during Chief Webb’s tenure. More efficient apparatus built according to the city’s need was specified and placed. Station 18 was opened in 1980 followed by Stations 9 and 19 in 1983. Station14 was new in 1985 and Station 15 opened in 1987 as did Station 20. Station 21 in 1992 was the last new station under Chief Webb’s watch.
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