Dennis Smith is a former FDNY firefighter and is the best-known advocate for firefighters in the United States. In each day of his eighteen years as a New York City firefighter, he developed profound respect for the professionalism of the firefighters with whom he worked, and their willingness to give of themselves in the course of their duty.
His remarkable career as firefighter, best-selling author, magazine publisher, and director of important not-for-profits provides him with the experience needed to help plan and manage fire, emergency, and charitable organizations throughout the United States.
Mr. Smith began his career as a firefighter in the New York Fire Department, and served in some of the city’s most active and dangerous fire districts. When Mr. Smith published Report from Engine Co. 82, a non-fictional account of life in the South Bronx firehouse – the world’s busiest –in which he served, the book became an immediate New York Times best seller, sold more than 3 million copies, and was translated into thirteen languages. Three more national best sellers about firefighting followed. In all, Mr. Smith has written sixteen books, and his A Song for Mary was chosen by Book-of-the-Month Club as the best memoir of 1999. His most recent best seller, Report from Ground Zero, was at the number 2 position on the NY Times list, and has become the acknowledged historical record of that tragic day and the ensuing months. About this book, the Senior Counsel to “The United States Commission on September 11th” has written, “I have read much of the writing about the emergency response that day, and have found “Report from Ground Zero” to be the closest to a definitive account.” His 16th book, “Of Love And Courage” is an important novel that explores the status of woman in Islam, in the setting of the religious and political turmoil in today’s world.
Mr. Smith is founder of Firehouse magazine, the largest circulating magazine for firefighters in the world. This magazine quickly became the journal of record for the American fire service, and accorded Mr. Smith as its editor the opportunity to educate himself on most if not all of the nation’s emergency management concerns. He has sold Firehouse, but continues as Founding Editor. Mr. Smith also created the Firehouse Expo and Convention now located in Nashville, the nation’s most successful emergency services annual convention.
Mr. Smith is a prominent leader in a number of New York City and national charitable organizations. He was the founding chairman of the New York Academy of Art, and for ten years provided the kind of leadership required to take the school from its modest beginnings to one of the most reputable, degree granting art institutions in the nation.
His concern for youngsters and for the vibrancy and viability of neighborhoods is illustrated by his work with young people and with youth professionals. For more than twenty years, he was president or chairman of Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Southeast Bronx, where 15,000 youngsters are members. For more than thirty years he has served on the national board of advisors of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and was recently elected to that institution’s prestigious “Hall of Fame”. In consequence his bronze bust resides in the lobby of the BGCA’s Atlanta headquarters.
Mr. Smith’s service to firefighters and his leadership in their causes have been recognized in numerous significant awards, most recently by the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fire Academy, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Mr. Smith was a founding trustee of the New York Fire Foundation, an important charity that supported special projects and needs of the New York City fire commissioner. This organization purchased the pass alert devices for firefighters, computer services for firehouses, and has been in the forefront of investigating needs of firefighters and the department. Finally Mr. Smith was also the founding chairman of the NYC Fire Museum on Spring Street, and there is a bronze plaque of the entry wall of that Museum honoring him for his contributions.
Dennis Smith also served for ten years as a trustee of the New York Police & Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, an important charity that benefits the families of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.
The recent International Association of Fire Chiefs award cited Mr. Smith
“for your accurate and colorful portrayal of the fire service in your books, for your vision in creating the Foundation for the Health and Safety of American Firefighters, and for your dedication to education by pioneering Firehouse Magazine.”
This award from the nation’s most prestigious emergency organization indicates the esteem in which Mr. Smith is held by the most important fire service organization in the country, and perhaps the world.
Mr. Smith is the creator and Chairman/CEO of www.wavepeg.com, a new and innovative vertical-dynamic social media website.
He was a registered Series 65 Investment Advisor, and has also held a Series 7, Series 45, and Series 63 licenses. In addition, Mr. Smith has held a NY State Insurance Broker’s license, and was also licensed in 42 other states.
Mr. Smith received a B.A. in English from New York University, and an M.A. in Communications, also from NYU.
Mr. Smith lives in Venice, Florida where he maintains an office for Wavepeg.com.