R. E. Bland Heads Fire Commission
The new chairman of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control is Richard E. Bland, an associate professor of engineering research at the Institute for Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa. He was appointed in August by President Nixon to succeed David K. Williams, who resigned as commission chairman because of the pressure of other duties with the Nixon Administration.
In addition to his academic position as special assistant to the director of the Ordnance Research Laboratory, which is involved in underwater research for the Navy, Bland is assistant chief of the volunteer fire department that protects the Borough of State College and the Townships of Ferguson, College and Patton with a total population of 60,000.
The new chairman, born in Warren, Ohio, September 19, 1925, received a B.A. degree from Hiram, Ohio, College in 1948 and an M.S. degree in physics from the University of Michigan in 1949.
His experience as a volunteer fireman goes back to 1943. Bland is a certified fire instructor and certified emergency ambulance attendant in Pennsylvania, as well as a Red Cross first aid instructor. He also is a member of the Fire Training Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction and has spoken at numerous fire service conferences, including the Fire Department Instructors Conference at Kansas City in 1970.
“It is my firm conviction,” Bland stated when he was appointed chairman, “that technology exists, or is nearly available, that can materially improve the efficiency of fire suppression and prevention forces.”