Our crew provides a wide variety of different backgrounds and experiences, from the busiest engine companies to small city fire departments. Together, we have over 175 years of fire experience. We all share a common belief and passion towards engine company concept. Each member has been hand selected by Jeff Shupe. Together, we teach the principles and practices of engine company discipline[s].
Jeff Shupe began his career in 1974 and retired from Cleveland (OH) Fire Department in 2011. He then served briefly as a Division Chief in North Myrtle Beach (SC) Fire and Rescue. As he continued to serve as a volunteer firefighter. He is an Ohio certified fire instructor. He was a Field Training Officer for the State of Ohio Fire Academy for 24 years and taught for many years in basic and advanced firefighter training programs. He is the of author of numerous fire service articles over the years for Fire Engineering, Firehouse, and FireNuggets.com. He is a co-author of the "Fire Streams" and "Salvage" chapters in the FF I-II manual published by Fire Engineering. He continues to contribute to Fire Engineering with his own written articles. He has an associate degree in Fire Technology from a Cuyahoga Community College and attended the University of Cincinnati for Fire Protection Engineering. Recently, he was featured in the Elkhart Brass "Brass Tacks, Hard Facts" series.
He is married and has two children.
Jerry Knapp is a 43 year veteran Firefighter/EMT with the West Haverstraw (NY) Fire Department. He is a training officer at the Rockland County Fire Training Center in Pomona, NY. He is the Chief Officer for Rockland County Hazmat Team and a former Nationally Certified Paramedic. He is the author of the "Fire Attack" chapter in the FF I-II manual published by Fire Engineering. Other publish works including numerous articles on the subject of 'house fires' and 'engine company operations.' He is a member of the technical panel for the UL Study on Fire Attack at House Fires. He is retired from the US Military Academy, West Point as the Plans Officer and Director of Emergency Services. In 2017, he was featured in the Elkhart Brass "Brass Tacks, Hard Facts" series. Recently, he is a co-author of the Fire Engineering book[s] House Fires and Tactical Response to Natural Gas Emergencies.
He is married with one son, Kyle.
John Matier is with the Cleveland Fire Department (OH), since 2000. He is a Lieutenant. Most recent assignment, he was in the Fire Training Academy Division as a Lead Instructor. He rode tailboard on Engine 11 for over a decade at Firehouse 11, the home for Engine 11 and Truck 11. Together, the two companies work between 400 to 500 working structure fires annually. His experience on Engine 11, allowed him to practice what SFT teaches in the real work environment. Jeff Shupe was John's 'Senior Man' on Engine 11. As a student and teacher of the trade, John is a committed disciple of Shupe's lessons. Not a day goes by that he doesn't play with his hose. Which is truer than ever…currently, he is assigned to the CFD training academy as a Lieutenant. He is a perfect role model for every engine company firefighter both in skills and looks.
He is married with four children, two older boys and two younger girls.
Jeff Diederich is with the Bedford Fire Department (OH), since 1995. He is a member of their Technical Rescue and Haz-Mat Team. He is a company officer since 2013. He was a fire academy instructor for 13 years at Cuyahoga Community College. His fire service experience on his one (1) station department in the suburbs of Cleveland, validates SFT's big city strategies for small town approach. He is a true ambassador for aggressive engine company operations, while keeping it safe and simple. Don't be fooled by his humbleness, he is witty and sophisticated. He exemplifies his street experiences in many ways, including publishing intellectual articles, which are located under “Resources” drop tab “PDFS.”
He is married and has three very active boys... yes boys!
Chad Gruver is with the Addison Fire Department (TX), since 1999. He is a native Texan who has been a firefighter/paramedic for over 25 years. Currently, he is a Captain and has over eleven years on an Engine. Although he is a Captain by title, he is a true firefighter at heart. Addison is densely packed with several high-rises and large apartment buildings. He applies the SFT's philosophy and big city tactics to his suburb of Dallas fire department. He is true in his spirit and passion for the trade, including his thick southern accent.
He is married and has four children. Needless to say, he is very busy. In a previous life he was a professional drummer, not a musician. Micah hopes to recruit his children to attend Kansas State University.
Micah Hydeman is a former captain of the Manhattan Fire Department (KS), from 2006-2021. He recently discovered his true calling... a traditional blue-collar firefighter and joined the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department as a Firefighter/EMT, since 2021. His transition from a moderate size city to a large size city will be a testimony to the disciplines and skills that the SFT group practices. He is a certified fire investigator, 1403 Live Fire Instructor-Fixed, and a Haz-Mat technician. He is passionate about being a well-discipline and aggressive engine company firefighter.
He is married and has two children, also expecting a third in June/July 2023. They all bleed purple for the Kansas State Wildcats. Oddly enough, his favorite bird is the flamingo.