Chicago Fire Commish named Society of Fire Protection Engineers 2008 Person of the Year

At its Annual Awards Luncheon, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) recognized Commissioner Raymond E. Orozco as SFPE Person of the Year. Orozco serves as Commissioner of the Chicago (IL) Fire Department (CFD).

The SFPE Person of the Year Award was created in 1973 to recognize significant achievement in fire protection. The award winner must come from beyond the membership of SFPE.

“Orozco was recognized for his unyielding commitment to proactive management, establishing and nurturing constructive community relations and planning for the future of the CFD,” said SFPE Engineering Program Manager Chris Jelenewicz. “He recognizes the value of technology, research and innovation and has led the CFD in implementing changes in fire fighting strategy, fire safety equipment and life safety education.”

As commissioner, Orozco has shown significant support of the CFD’s Public Education Unit. During the past two years they have distributed over 120,000 smoke alarms and the unit has developed a library of free DVDs on topics such as high-rise fire safety. Many of the videos are posted on YouTube. In 2007, the public education unit conducted 5,500 programs bringing the fire department’s fire safety message to over ½ million Chicago citizens.

“Under Commissioner Orozco’s direction, the Chicago department partnered with National Institute of Standards and Technology to conduct research on the use of positive pressure ventilation fires,” said Jelenewicz. “These fans can be used to provide safer conditions for both fire fighters and occupants by pressurizing the stairs and limiting the flow of smoke and heat into the stairwells. The data from these research activities is being used by fire departments around the world.”

Past SFPE Persons of the Year include: Movie & Television Star Dick Van Dyke, University of Maryland’s Dr. John L. Bryan, Former FDNY Fire Chief Daniel A. Nigro and Director/Under Secretary for the Federal Emergency Management Agency R. David Paulison.

Organized in 1950, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers is the professional society for engineers involved in the field of fire protection engineering. The purposes of SFPE are to advance the science and practice of fire protection engineering, maintain a high ethical standing among its members and foster fire protection engineering education. SFPE’s worldwide members include engineers in private practice, in industry and in local, regional and national government. Chapters are located in Canada, China, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

More information about SFPE can be found at

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