“Why I Work In Construction”

Meet John T. Lane

Division Chief, Fire Marshal
Anne Arundel County Fire Department
ABC Instructor, Fire Sprinkler Apprentice Class

How did you get started in the industry?    
I have been a career firefighter since August 1986. I have a BS in Fire Science from the University of Maryland. When I was promoted to Lt. in 1996, I was assigned to the Fire Marshal’s Office. My assignment there spiked my interest in fire protection where I concentrated on sprinkler systems and hood/duct and suppression systems. After six years in the FMO, I was transferred back into operations on an engine company. It was at this time I started working part time designing sprinkler systems for a local sprinkler company. I did this for almost 9 years before going back to the FMO, where I was appointed as the chief fire marshal.

How many years in the industry?
Between conducting plans review, inspection, testing, and sprinkler design, I have been involved 26 years in the industry.

How many years have you been an instructor and in what capacity?   
I have been an instructor for ABC almost 8 years. I am finishing up my second Fire Sprinkler Apprentice Class this spring, and have taught the CORE Curriculum two times. I have also been an instructor in the Fire Service for nearly 30 years. I started instructing in the Fire Service in 1992 and then with two Fire Academy Classes in 1996 and 1997.

Why did you decide to become an instructor?  

It’s a way to give back to your department in training the next generation of fire fighters. I also teach for MFRI (Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute), in a number of different classes and from this I was approached to help teach the Fire Sprinkler Apprentice Course at ABC, which also led me to teaching the CORE Class.

What’s been the most rewarding part of training the next generation?  
I like to see students come in eager to learn about the fire sprinkler trade. They are working every day and are getting great field experience of how to do the sprinkler work and installation. The classroom experience gives them more of the theory and the why of the sprinkler field. Explaining why the codes are what they are and the meaning and history behind them. My phone is always on for the students and I encourage them to call me or send pictures and text about a problem they may run into in the field. We also have discussions on what they are currently working on and any problems they may find on the job site.

What’s your best advice for students and for those who want to succeed in the construction industry? Always do your best like you were building it for yourself. Learn to do it right the first time and never be afraid of asking questions or for help if you do not understand something.