Fire Service Section news

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Chairman’s message

by Gary L. Neilson Chair Fire Service Section Board of Directors 

Chicago, Illinois, was an exciting time and a great learning experience. Those of us who attended the conference enjoyed the fellowship and the courses. The Fire Service Section of NFPA is excited for the upcoming year.  During the NFPA Conference and Expo the section held a board meeting as well as our annual Fire Service Section meeting, which included elections of new board members.

During the meeting we said goodbye to three board members who had termed out.

Former President Peter McMahon from New York, and board members Keith MacGillivray from Scotland and Robert Crawford from Canada.

On behalf of the Fire Service Section Board I would like to thank Pete, Keith and Bob for their dedication to the fire service and the board. I wish them well in their future endeavors.

During our annual meeting we voted in two new members to the board.  Bill Boyes, Deputy Fire Chief City of Barrie, Canada and Robert D. Scott Assistant Chief Officer Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Perth, Scotland.

Please join me in welcoming these two fine gentlemen to the NFPA Fire Service Board of Directors. I am looking forward to working with Bill and Robert, as they both bring many years of experience to the Board.

This has been an exciting year for the Board. This past spring we attended the 2015 F.I.E.R.O. Fire PPE Symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Fire Service Section was a partner with F.I.E.R.O. in putting on the Symposium.

November 12-15, 2015 the Board will be in Clearwater Beach, Florida for the Symposium in the Sun 2015. The Volunteer & Combination Officers Symposium (VCOS) is sponsored by the IAFC. The Board will conduct a panel discussion on the impact of NFPA standards in the fire service.  Please mark your calendars for this event.  You can get to their web page through

We all feel very privileged to serve the fire service and look forward to meeting you at various meetings throughout the year. Please mark your calendars for the next NFPA Conference & Expo June 13-16, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Finally, we encourage you take a moment to read this newsletter, and please feel free to contact us if you have any comments or suggestions for the Board. Your input is greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you.

Fire service: A view “under the hood” of NFPA

This past March 16-18th, the fire service was able to take a look “under the hood” of the NFPA and its standards development process. The event was the 2015 F.I.E.R.O. Biennial Fire PPE Symposium in Raleigh, N.C. The Fire Service Section had a table just outside the session room throughout the event. And, the executive board members introduced each speaker.

What was found “under the hood”? Participants at the Symposium learned from their fellow fire service colleagues as several of the presentations were directly related to NFPA Standards. For example: 

  • Dan Rossos, SCBA technical committee chair and retired lieutenant with the Portland Fire & Rescue Department, explained all the recent and pending changes to SCBA. 
  • Bob Athanas, a fire fighter with FDNY and chair of the Electronics Safety technical committee, discussed the multitude of changes involving thermal imaging cameras, PASS devices and the new standard under development for land mobile radios
  • Gregg Cleveland, Chief of La Crosse Fire Department (WI) and secretary of the Fire Service Board, spoke about the future of NFPA standards and how standards benefit his department and the fire service
  • Chris Farrell, an Emergency Services Specialist with NFPA and former fire fighter with the Chapel Hill Fire Department, conducted a Q & A session. Chris sparked the discussion with questions like—what’s on your mind?  What do you think?

Without fail, all of the other 17 speakers referenced NFPA standards in their presentations. The Symposium provided a perfect conduit between the NFPA and the fire service. Many participants arrived thinking NFPA stood for “Not For Practical Application”. They left with an understanding and appreciation of NFPA standards and the standards development process. 

Come mix, mingle and network with your peers

The International Fire Marshals Association; Fire Service Section; Health Care Section; Fire Science and Technology Educator Section; Education Section; Architects, Engineers, and Building Officials Section; Electrical Section; Research Section; Certified Fire Protection Specialist; and NFPA International Division cordially invites you to join them for an informal gathering at:

The NFPA Conference & Expo
Chicago, IL in the Hyatt McCormick Place, Prairie room
Sunday, June 21, 2015
6:00 to 8:00 pm

Complimentary appetizers will be served with a cash bar.

Attack Fire Hose

There is a lot of interest in the design criteria of attack fire hose and research is underway to  look at the current design and testing criteria. When the results are available, NFPA® will provide them to the Technical Committee on Fire Hose, which develops NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose. NFPA will also facilitate any revisions to the Standard  that the Technical Committee feels necessary. Our process allows for this to happen at any time, regardless if the Standard is in its revision period  or not.

You play a vital role in the development of our Standards. There are two ways you can be part of the discussion on attack fire hose. NFPA 1961 is open for Public Inputs until July of 2015 and this is an opportunity for you and the members of your Department to share your needs and thoughts about fire hose with the Technical Committee. Visit next edition accepting Public Inputs at

The Committee on Fire Hose is seeking members in the interest classifications of Installer/Maintainer, Applied Research/Testing Laboratory, Insurance, Consumer, Enforcer, Labor, Special Expert and User. Your voice and that of your Department is needed and welcomed. To learn more visit submit Fire Hose TC Application online. Enforcer members are eligible for 80% reimbursement of their travel expenses. More information available at Enforcer Funding Program.

You can also view this short video. Feel free to share this with your contacts and network.

Thank you for your continued support of NFPA and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Kenneth R. Willette
Division Manager,Public Fire Protection
National Fire Protection Association
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169-7471
Phone +1 617 984-7299

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