NFPA hosts Urban Fire Forum

October 30, 2008 – Twenty fire chiefs from around the world participated in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Urban Fire Forum in Quincy, MA October 23-26. Also in attendance was Gregory Cade, Administrator of the United States Fire Administration (USFA) who was formerly the chief of the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

The forum focused on a wide range of topics including fire and life safety challenges in a depressed economy, community/fire service partnering projects directed at the many challenges caused by the housing foreclosure crisis, the NFPA-Columbus (Ohio) fire safety project, cultural recruitment, fire-based EMS, multi-agency large housing development community projects, incident management, trends in fire fighter deaths and injuries, succession planning, wind-driven fires, formulating a fire service legislative strategy, the fire data model/data exchange project, as well as updates on successful sprinkler installation programs, the Metro Chiefs-International Association of Fire Fighters alliance, the Staffing & Deployment Project, terrorism and homeland security, the NFPA Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, the Center for Public Safety Excellence, and much more.

Also, post-incident reviews were presented on the Los Angeles Griffith Park fire and the Toronto propane explosion. The forum is sponsored by the NFPA.

"Today’s fire chiefs lead sophisticated organizations that provide fire, rescue, EMS, hazardous materials and environmental services, as well as a wide array of public education, code enforcement and community health programs," said NFPA Metro Chiefs Executive Secretary Russ Sanders who coordinates the event. "The Urban Fire Forum brings together the chiefs who are responsible for protecting some of the largest urban centers in the world – the objective of the program is straightforward: to provide the chiefs an opportunity to learn from their peers and for NFPA to stay abreast of current trends and needs in the fire service."

This year’s participants were:

• Chief Douglas Barry, Los Angeles City, CA
• Commissioner John Brooks, Chicago, IL
• Chief William Bryson, Miami, FL
• Chief/USFA Administrator Gregory B. Cade
• Chief Sal Cassano, FDNY, New York, NY
• Chief Kelvin Cochran, Atlanta, GA
• Chief George Farrell, Providence, RI
• Chief Greg Frederick, Louisville, KY
• Chief P. Michael Freeman, Los Angeles County, CA
• Chief Michael Grant, New Haven, CT
• Chief Robert Hendricks, Lexington, KY
• Chief Peter Holland, Lancashire, England
• Chief Doug Holton, Milwaukee, WI
• Chief Michael Lombardo, Buffalo, NY
• Chief Kevin MacCurtain, Boston, MA
• Chief John McGrath, Raleigh, NC
• Chief Ned Pettus, Columbus, OH
• Chief Doug Ratto, (Retired), Stockton, CA
• Chief Keith Richter, Contra Costa County, CA
• Chief Dennis Rubin, Washington, DC
• Chief William “Bill” Stewart, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The facilitators for this year’s forum were Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association President and Toronto Fire Chief Bill Stewart, Metro Chiefs Executive Secretary and NFPA Regional Manager Russ Sanders and NFPA’s Director of Public Fire Protection, Curt Varone.

The core group of the Urban Fire Forum is the Metro Chiefs Executive Board. In addition, approximately 15 “at large” chiefs are invited each year on a rotating basis.