Thursday General Session-Kerber ISFSI Award
Stephen Kerber was presented with the Fire Engineering (FE)/International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI)/George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award at this morning’s General Session. Kerber, the director of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, has led fire service research and education in the areas of ventilation, structural collapse, and fire dynamics.
“As an engineer, it means a lot to be honored by the fire service,” Kerber told FE. “I am blessed to be able to support the best profession in the world, and I believe the fire service can be much more effective if firefighters understand fire dynamics. We are trying to get this information to the fire service in a way that they can understand it and apply it on the fireground. Recently, there really seems to be a positive impact, and this award is motivation to keep doing what we are doing.”
“Chief Steve Kerber has displayed a profound commitment to furthering the cause of the fire service by working tirelessly conducting research; developing courses based on the research; and advancing the cause for operational effectiveness, efficiency, and safety,” says Douglas Cline, president of the ISFSI, which co-presents the award. “Chief Kerber’s research, innovations, and programs have helped improve the training and education of firefighters worldwide. His efforts demonstrate the leadership and role model indicative of the George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award.”
The award incorporates the Training Achievement Award previously given by FE at the FDIC, and is named for George D. Post, a long-time member of the ISFSI. He was a member of the Fire Department of New York, an illustrator of fire service publications, and a developer of instructional materials. Many consider him to be the father of visual training material used to train fire service personnel around the world.
A 13-year veteran of the fire service, Kerber spent most of those years with the College Park Fire Department in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he served in the ranks up through deputy chief. He is working on his doctorate in risk management and safety engineering at Lund University in Sweden.
Kerber looks forward to continuing his work in demystifying for firefighters the fire dynamics on the fireground. “Experience is very important,” he notes, “but without understanding fire dynamics, it is hard to learn from that experience and progress. This is the time to question everything we do, keep what works, and innovate what doesn’t.” Although firefighting is complex, he says, “with the right knowledge, we can be intelligently aggressive, save lives, and limit firefighter injuries and deaths.”