Meet the Chief


Growing up in the suburbs of New York, every time a fire siren sounded, he almost forced his parents to divert and bring him to the scene of the fire. One of his earliest memories is standing in an FDNY station and admiring the shiny engine company and watching in awe at the brave firefighters preparing for their next alarm.

Shortly after his 18th birthday he joined the Massapequa Volunteer Fire Department on Long Island and served as a company officer, fire prevention specialist and public relations officer there for 15 years. At the same time he began working in the fire apparatus industry as the assistant to the local Mack fire apparatus salesman, and learned the fire truck business from the bottom up, delivering and demonstrating new units to customers all over the NY metro area.

He spent a few years as a certified expert fire investigator for the insurance industry traveling across the USA investigating the cause and origin of major fire losses. In 1983 Chief Usdin was named the Associate Publisher and then acting Publisher of Fire Engineering Magazine, the oldest continually published trade journal. Working with legendary editor Chief Tom Brennan, retired FDNY, Usdin and Brennan transformed the magazine into the training and management resource it is today.

An offer to join one of his friends companies took him to the famed nozzle manufacturer, Task Force Tips, as the eastern sales manager covering a territory from Maine to Virginia. Usdin traveled weekly to trade shows and fire departments and worked with them to demonstrate fire flow equipment and strengthen their firefighting capacity.


In 1988, Chief Usdin formed Northeast Fire Apparatus, the predecessor to Command Fire Apparatus, in New York and moved the company to its current home in Lancaster County PA. For over 24 years he has sold fire units to departments throughout the USA, Canada, South America and Europe.


From 1991 until 2006, Usdin was the first fire chief of the newly formed Lancaster Township Fire Department in PA. With 2 stations serving about 15,000 residents in 16 square miles, ranging from attached row frames, million dollar single family dwelling, acres of garden apartments, and a rural section of farms and brush, the LTFD is one of Lancaster Counties most active and diverse fire departments. He currently serves as Deputy Chief and Board member of the department.


Chief Usdin is married with 3 children. His daughter Grace is a public relations specialist in the health care field, his daughter Ella will be attending the University of Kentucky and his son James has joined him in the family business as a shop technician at Command Fire Apparatus.

When you visit with Chief Usdin, he’ll show his collection of old fire units. His pride and joy is the 1963 Mack 85’ aerial ladder truck he drove for 15 years on Long Island, another is the last Mack fire pumper that was ever built, and the third is a Mack Aerialscope tower ladder from his department. Fire trucks are his life and he looks forward to making new friends with you and the members of your department!

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