WASHINGTON – The United States Senate voted unanimously to confirm R. David Paulison of Miami as the head of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), which is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Paulison, 54, was chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department and past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
As the U.S. Fire Administrator, Paulison will lead a key agency supporting state and local fire service programs and will be responsible for implementing FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh’s initiatives for emergency readiness, as well as firefighter training and equipment in response to terrorism.
Paulison, who has 30 years of fire rescue service experience, has been fire chief in Miami-Dade since 1992. In the position, he oversaw 1,900 personnel with a $200 million operating budget and a $70 million capital budget and the county’s emergency management office.
Paulison began his career as a rescue firefighter and rose through the ranks to rescue lieutenant, battalion commander, district chief of operations, division chief, assistant chief, and deputy director for administration before becoming chief. He is a certified paramedic and a member of the Miami-Date Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. His emergency management experience includes Hurricane Andrew and the crash of ValuJet Flight 592.
A native of Miami, Paulison earned a bachelor of arts from Florida Atlantic University and completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was Florida’s Fire Chief of the Year in 1993 and holds positions in several professional associations.