Metro Fire Chiefs/Urban Fire Forum Make DHS Recommendations

Quincy, MA – The Urban Fire Forum, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which includes the executive board of the Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Section, met at NFPA Headquarters in Quincy, MA recently after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Fire Chiefs from the following cities/counties participated:

  • Shreveport, LA
  • Miami, FL
  • Cobb County, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Boston, MA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Contra Costa County, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Worcester, MA
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Alameda County, CA
  • Fairfield, CA

After reviewing the preparedness, response, and aftermath of both hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Urban Fire Forum recommends the following:

  • The utilization of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is essential to the successful coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery for all incidents.
  • The mandated implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) must be accelerated and enforced at all levels of government (Federal, State, Local), without exception.
  • The Director of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) must be elevated to a Cabinet level position to ensure that the prevention, response, mitigation and recovery efforts, pertaining to natural and man-made disasters/emergencies, receive appropriate commitment and support.
  • Qualified individuals with appropriate fire service/emergency management experience must be appointed to the following key positions: FEMA Director, Under Secretary for Preparedness, and Administrator of the United States Fire Administration.
  • The American Fire Service developed the Incident Management System and has demonstrated experience in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The leadership role of the Fire Service in Emergency Response and Public Safety must be utilized through appointments to key positions in the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

As the Federal Government re-evaluates the roles and responsibilities of Federal Agencies responding to natural disasters and acts of terrorism the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs offer our collective experience and resources to assist with the re-structuring efforts. In a first step the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Section will work collaboratively with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to develop a list of qualified and experienced individuals for appointment consideration to these key positions in the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

We want to be actively involved in the process to improve and enhance our nation’s capabilities to respond to natural disasters/acts of terrorism

For more information, contact Chief Kelvin Cochran, Chair, (318) 673-6655, CochranSFD@mycingular.blackberry.net, or Russ Sanders, Executive Secretary, (502) 894-0411, rsanders@nfpa.org.

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