All Press Releases for April 10, 2024

Shawn C. Bloemker has been Inducted into the Prestigious Marquis Who's Who Biographical Registry

Mr. Shawn C. Bloemker is noted for his success and tenure in fire safety, education, and public service

When the Max Fire Box arrives at fire departments and colleges, I travel to the location and assemble the Max Fire Box and provide train-the-trainer sessions. This is by far my favorite part.

    GODFREY, IL, April 10, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Shawn C. Bloemker has been inducted into Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

"When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade firefighters came to my school to talk about fire safety. The firefighters showed us their air-packs and the fire truck. I remember thinking, when I grow up, I will be a firefighter.

When I turned 18, I started testing for career positions on fire departments. I also enrolled in my community college's fire science program. At the age of 19, I got hired as a paid on-call firefighter. Twenty-nine years later, I still remember walking into the fire house for the first time. I remember the smell of the fire trucks and the smell of the fire gear. When I was issued my first set of fire gear at the age of 19, I felt as if I was on top of the world. I had a 10-minute drive home after getting my fire gear. I was so excited; I had to stop and use a pay phone to call my mom and tell her I got fire gear. For the younger generations reading this, a pay phone is something we used to make phone calls on prior to cell phones.

I wasn't a good student in high school. I was lucky to graduate. Everything changed when I started the fire science program at the community college. I was all in for learning any and everything about the fire service at the community college. When not in class, I would frame houses to make money. During my lunch breaks, I would study nonstop. I would always have 3×5 index cards with me with test questions on one side and the answers on the other side so that I would do well on my tests.

For a few years, I traveled the USA testing for career firefighter positions. It was extremely competitive. On September 6, 1999 I got hired as a career firefighter. It was a dream that came true for the opportunity to work as a career firefighter. As a career firefighter, I would take advantage of any and all classes and training opportunities that were available.

After obtaining multiple state firefighter certifications, the coordinator of the fire science program requested I assist with teaching a fire behavior class. I was so excited, I couldn't sleep for nights leading up to the class. I wanted to ensure the fire behavior class I assisted with would be an amazing class. I thought back to my first fire behavior class. The class was good however, it was all classroom. The instructor would use a projector and show us overhead slides of fire behavior definitions and slides of fire inside a structure. For the younger generation this is before what I now call death by power point.

I also thought back to my first acquired structure burn. The instructor took all the students into the burn room, reviewed a few objectives and then ignited the fire. Once the fire started to grow, I remember thinking, I wonder if I'm going to melt, this is cool. However, I couldn't see anything because of the smoke. I also couldn't hear the instructor because he was wearing an air-pack.

While thinking about my experiences as a student of fire behavior training, I knew there must be a better way of teaching fire behavior. For the fire behavior class I assisting with, I built small wooden burn boxes. My thoughts were: if I covered a few objectives in the classroom and then showed the class the definitions with the wooden burn box it would prevent death by power point and the dreaded sitting in the classroom. I also believed using the wooden burn boxes would allow visual learners an easier way of remembering definitions instead of memorizing words to pass tests. The wooden burn box would also allow me to show firefighters conditions that would injure or kill them on a scene. Conditions that you are unable to show inside a burn tower.

The class I taught was a success and the wooden burn box made the class much more educational than other fire behavior classes. After teaching the fire behavior class multiple times, I realized the wooden burn boxes were an excellent training tool. However, the issue with the wooden burn box was when the box would heat up and get to the point of showing the key definitions, the joints on the box would fail because of the high temperatures. The cost and time to build the wooden burn boxes for onetime use made me think there must be a better way. That's when I started working on developing the Max Fire Box. The Max Fire Box is made in the USA, engineered to last, and named after my son Max.

I have been blessed beyond words to travel the USA and Canada thanks to the Max Fire Box.

When the Max Fire Box arrives at fire departments and colleges, I travel to the location and assemble the Max Fire Box and provide train-the-trainer sessions. This is by far my favorite part.

I fell in love with the fire service at a young age. I looked forward to every training session and every shift at the fire department. Twenty eight years after entering the fire service I still look forward to every shift and learning more. I worked for years developing the Max Fire Box. My main goal was to ensure a quality product that would last. I wanted to provide a lifetime warranty on the Max Fire Box. Naming the educational training tool after my son and loving the fire service required guaranteeing a quality product. I also knew the Max Fire Box would provide firefighters quality training that would allow them to recognize rapidly changing conditions that would save lives. I also believed in changing the way fire behavior and thermal imaging training was taught. I thought the Fire Service Learning Ladder of Fire Behavior and Thermal Imaging Training would help firefighters:

Fire Service Learning Ladder
Properly teaching fire behavior requires more than just providing a short lecture on the topic. The fire service needs to create a proactive approach that incorporates multiple steps. Each of these steps should build on each other to accomplish their goal, similar to climbing a ladder. Unfortunately, most fire fighters are expected to be ready for action after just the first step.

Classroom lectures are an important first step in understanding how fire behaves, but it is only the first step. The next step is viewing and understanding the different stages of a fire in a live environment. The Max Fire Box allows for the live study of fire on a safe, manageable scale, while remaining affordable to small departments. By studying live fire in this way, it prepares fire fighters for the next step, acquired structure burns. This step is where many aspects of fire fighting start to come together, and in order to make the most of these training opportunities, fire fighters should already have a solid knowledge of fire behavior. Recognizing the environment around them will allow for quicker, better decision-making and allow them to better perform their assigned task.

I also believed in a better approach to education.

Firefighters must be able to make life and death decisions in rapidly changing environments. To do that effectively they need to be able to not only recognize the signs of changing environments but also recognize what factors cause the environment to change. Although classroom training is a great way to teach fire fighters the basics of fire behavior such as definitions and what they need to be looking for in live events, actually seeing those definitions first hand can be a much more impactful way to learn. When properly used, instructors are able to define multiple fire behavior and thermal imaging terms while teaching with the Max Fire Box. The Max Fire Box comes with an instructional video that will prepare instructors to give their class a hands-on demonstration, as well as classroom materials that will help integrate the Max Fire Box into their lecture. This will include slides and some of the video clips from the instructional video so that students will be able to more easily recognize the different stages during the live demonstration. This integration of traditional and hands-on learning is part of what makes the Max Fire Box the most complete approach to fire behavior education.

The Science of Fire Fighting

As research is being done on fire behavior, we realize that there are scientific principles that dictate how and why fires progress. There are many factors that impact fire behavior, and as organizations such as UL and NIST continue to provide important research on door control, flow path, and the importance of cooling super-heated gasses, fire departments need to have access to training equipment that demonstrates the behavior of live fire. The Max Fire Box is the only tool that safely recreates these environments in a way that is easy to see and understand. By using the Max Fire Box, instructors can show how changes directly affect fire. By repeating the process with the same results, it is easy to see how their actions can quickly affect fire in a way that can make the environment more survivable or more deadly. Our goal is to provide instructors with an efficient way to demonstrate potentially life-saving research in a way that is hands on and engaging.


Most fire departments and colleges with fire science programs are unable to properly train with live fire because of the cost and space needed for live burns, and even with the benefits of burn towers and similar structures, it is hard to safely demonstrate critical stages of a fire such as flashovers, backdrafts and smoke explosions. The Max Fire Box provides an economical solution for fire behavior and thermal imaging training that doesn't require a lot of space. It is one of the most cost effective fire behavior training tools available and its live demonstration of fire behavior and thermal imaging could save lives.

As a career firefighter, I work 24 hours on shift and 48 hours off. On my days off I would work any and every job I could to make money to invest in the Max Fire Box. I would do landscaping, frame houses and teach fire science classes at the community college. I would save up money and invest in the research and development of the Max Fire Box. I met with multiple engineers and fabrication shops. Multiple units I would get back from the fabrication shops would not provide the quality product I wanted. Many of the units I tried failed after a couple of burns. My goal was to assure a lifetime warranty.

After failing multiple times, investing thousands of dollars and countless hours, I knew I was close to the finish line. I was out of money and decided to resign from teaching classes at the community college. This was a hard decision because I loved teaching in the fire science program at the college. I resigned from the college so that I could cash in my pension and invest it into the Max Fire Box. If I didn't resign from the college, it would have taken me much longer to bring the Max Fire Box to market.

Once I knew the Max Fire Box was a quality product and I could provide a lifetime warranty, I wanted to get in front of the leaders of the fire service. Knowing the Kentucky Fire Commission was one of the elite training organizations in the USA I traveled to Kentucky to demo the Max Fire Box. While driving to Kentucky I was beyond words nervous and intimidated. I remember thinking, I have every penny my family has invested in this, and I have no clue if they will see value in the Max Fire Box. Once I set everything up and started my demo, everything started to flow. I was comfortable and knew I had the attention of the leaders of the Kentucky Fire Commission. After the demo, the leaders of the Kentucky Fire Commission talked about the value they had seen in the Max Fire Box. I was beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity.

A few months later the Kentucky Fire Commission purchased 15 of the Max Fire Box Phase I Training Tools. As of today, the 15 Max Fire Boxes are still traveling the Commonwealth of Kentucky providing Fire Behavior and Thermal Imaging Training. Out of multiple training aids the Kentucky Fire Commission has available, the Max Fire Box is the most requested training tool in Kentucky. After developing the Max Fire Phase I, I developed the Max Fire Box Phase II. The Kentucky Fire Commission also purchased 3 of the Max Fire Box Phase II Training Tools.

While traveling last year, I stopped for fuel in Kentucky. A firefighter from Kentucky asked if I was Shawn from Max Fire. I told him yes sir. He referenced he recently attended the Kentucky Fire Commission Max Fire Box Burn & Learn Class. The firefighter told me he loved the class and thanked me for developing the Max Fire Box. I was overwhelmed and grateful beyond words."

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