James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal

The Shannon Advocacy Medal was established to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the fire loss problem through advocacy. The honor was named after former NFPA president James M. Shannon, who concluded his 12-year tenure in June 2014 with an exceptional record of advocacy to reduce fire loss. 

Call for nominations

NFPA is calling for nominations for the 2023 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal. The nominee application is available for download and can be sent to publicaffairs@nfpa.org until the submission period closes on February 9, 2023.

2022 winner 

NFPA has announced James D. Ford, Jr., retired deputy chief and current director of community risk reduction (CRR) for Cave Creek, Arizona, as the winner of the 2022 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal. Ford has been awarded this year’s medal for his dedication and career-long commitment to fire safety.

Ford was awarded the James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal in recognition of his involvement with groundbreaking residential sprinkler initiatives in Scottsdale, Arizona, which began when a series of successful fire tests (in which Ford was directly involved) resulted in the passing of a residential sprinkler ordinance in 1986. He went on to develop data-driven reports detailing the impact of the ordinance over a 10- and 15-year period. These documents ultimately laid the groundwork for numerous organizations and jurisdictions to strengthen fire sprinkler measures in communities nationwide, which has played a direct role in helping reduce residential fire risk.

Ford is currently director of community risk reduction (CRR) for Cave Creek, Ariz. where he is responsible for oversight and development of the town’s newly created “All-Hazard” emergency fire and medical service. He also oversees implementation of community outreach efforts that work to better educate residents about wildland/urban interface measures and other fire safety issues. Previously, as a deputy chief, Ford helped establish highly successful community fire protection and risk reduction programs and measures that led him to present on the “Scottsdale Experience” to other countries, including Canada, Sweden, England, Scotland, Aruba, Singapore, Prague, Amsterdam, and Wales, as well as organizations like NFPA, UK, HFSC, NFFF, NFSA, AFSA, Vision 20/20, and Fire Team USA.

Ford has received 15 awards for his efforts over the past 20 years and maintains professional affiliations with more than a dozen organizations.

About James M. Shannon

James M. ShannonUnder Shannon's leadership, NFPA considerably advanced its mission of fire safety, better protecting the general public and members of the fire service.

Shannon spearheaded the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, which quickly led to every state passing legislation requiring that cigarettes meet a specific fire safety standard. In collaboration with the fire service and others, this initiative will save hundreds of lives including the lives of firefighters who are at risk every time they respond to a cigarette related fire.

Following the success of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, Shannon intensified NFPA’s work to advocate for mandating home fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes, another critical safeguard to enhance public safety and better protect our nation’s fire service. 

Past winners
  • 2021 - Gary Keith, former president of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), and longtime employee of NFPA and FM Global
  • 2020 - Paul D. Martin, retired Deputy State Fire Administrator, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Service’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control
  • 2019 - Jon Nisja, fire safety supervisor, Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD)
  • 2018 - Jim Dalton, Maryland
  • 2017 - Ann Jones, Rehyl, Wales
  • 2016 - Stephen D. Coan, retired Massachusetts State Fire Marshal