The 17th Annual Truman Legacy Symposium was held on May 5-7, 2019. Each year, the symposium focuses on a different area of interest or action taken by former President Harry Truman. This year, the symposium dealt with the former President’s legacy on Fire Prevention, Fire Safety and Historic Preservation and the 1947 National Conference on Fire Prevention report in which he was a leader. Countering rising fire incidents In early 1947, President Truman invited representatives from every facet of the country’s fire service, local, state and federal governments, as well as luminaries from every other conceivable interest to the conference. At that time, Truman was horrified and angered by three deadly fires, and convened the gathering of the country’s best and brightest to attack a problem he believed was ravaging the country. The high life loss fires at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, LaSalle Hotel in Chicago, Illinois and Ice Plant Fire in Manhattan claimed 217 lives in 1946. Truman, in his inimitable way, knew how to be a man of action, and had enough by then. The commission met in Washington DC under the direction of Major General Philip Fleming of the Federal Works Agency The commission met in Washington DC under the direction of Major General Philip Fleming, Administrator of the Federal Works Agency in the United States Government. The result of their work was the President’s 1947 National Conference on Fire Prevention which advocated the imperativeness of fire safety measures to save properties and human lives. This landmark document served as the catalyst for addressing a fire problem that was the antithesis of an industrialized nation with the prowess and progress of the United States of America. Fire prevention tactics 80 national subject matter experts were in attendance at the Little White House in Key West, Florida for the event. The event focused on five key areas of action in fire prevention for the future. Among those in attendance were Troy Markel, VFIS President and Treasurer of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Dr. Bill Jenaway, VFIS Executive Vice President and President of the Congressional Fire Services Institute. All major fire service organizations were represented as well at the event. The first day focused on what the status of fire prevention was in 1947 and where we are today, the gaps in expectations from the 1947 conference and some thoughts on where we need to go to improve fire prevention. Steps to improve fire safety The second day of the event involved a panel discussion on current concerns followed by a group consensus project The second day of the event involved a panel discussion on current concerns followed by a group consensus project to develop next steps. With over 20 items on action identified as needed, the top five were chosen for future action, to be driven by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s assigned staff. The events were centered around the Little White House, where President Truman spent considerable time during his Presidency and was followed by almost every President since for key meetings. Attendees were also able to chat with the grandson of President Truman, Clinton Truman Daniel, who closed day 1 with a reading of President Truman’s speech during the 1947 conference. Fire prevention symposium The hope is that the 2019 conference identified priorities that will play a key role in taking action to improve fire safety in the United States for decades to come. The goal of the symposium is to reflect on Truman’s legacy and identify a path forward to protecting our nation from fire and other hazards. The symposium will include presentations by fire service leaders and historians, including President Truman’s grandson.
In partnership with the Congressional Fire Services Institute and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, VFIS is proud to sponsor the Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award annually. The award is designed to honor organizations that provide outstanding contributions to firefighter safety and wellbeing. This year, co-recipients have been selected, and these incredible organizations are set to formally receive their award at the 31st Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Awards Criteria Awarded criteria were based on these 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives: Cultural change Accountability Risk management Empowerment Training & certification Medical & physical fitness Research agenda Technology Fatality, near-miss investigation Grant support Response policies Violent incident response Psychological support Public education Code enforcement & sprinklers Apparatus design & safety Health And Safety Training Program One of the 2019 recipients was the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative, who works to bring together fire service members and advocate for their health and safety by sharing information on best practices. Their program is continuously growing and now covers all five of Florida’s regions. They focus on cancer prevention, health and physical fitness, emotional and mental wellness and safety during emergency incident response. The supportive elements of the program have been fully integrated with the department’s safety In addition, the Denver Fire Department is being recognized for their dedication to developing a truly comprehensive health and safety training program. The program incorporates nutrition support, fitness and behavioral health elements that can be custom-tailored to each firefighter’s individual needs. The supportive elements of the program have been fully integrated with the department’s safety and training program, so they are regularly and fully utilized by all members, beginning with new recruits and ending with long-term firefighters. Making Profession Safer VFIS extends its congratulations and gratitude to these organizations for working hard to make an incredible impact on those in the emergency service industry. Along with NFFF Chairman Dennis Compton, VFIS Executive Vice President Dr. Bill Jenaway noted, “We are witnessing dramatic changes in the fire service on the issue of health and safety—changes inspired in part by firefighters at the local level who are passionate about making the profession safer.” “We comment both the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative and the Denver Fire Department for the establishment of two successful health and safety programs. What makes these programs successful is the collaboration and cooperation of so many individuals at the local level who care deeply about the health and safety of their fellow first responders. We look forward to honoring both organizations at the 31st Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner.”
The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s Board of Directors has chosen Chief Russ Sanders to receive the 2019 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award. The official award presentation will take place during the 31st Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Public Safety And Prevention VFIS Executive Vice President Dr. Bill Jenaway noted, “Russ Sanders has distinguished himself on so many levels and in so many areas within the fire and emergency services. He has made significant contributions in the areas of public safety and prevention, research, codes and standards and leadership. Like the late Mason Lankford, he has dedicated his career to building and stronger and safer profession for all who serve. The CFSI Board of Directors congratulates him and looks forward to honoring him on April 25, 2019.” He has served as a member of the fire and emergency services since 1967 Chief Sanders has certainly earned this honor. He has served as a member of the fire and emergency services since 1967 and has been a member of the Louisville, Kentucky Fire Department for more than 27 years running. For nine of those years, he served as chief, and worked hand-in-hand with local city officials to pass important legislation mandating that all unsprinklered high-rise buildings throughout the city be retrofitted to offer automatic sprinkler protection. After its approval, this measure undoubtedly had a significant impact. National And International Organizations During his lengthy career, Chief Sanders has also served in important leadership positions for various national and international organizations and committees. He spent time as: Executive Secretary of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association President of the United States Delegation to the Comite Technique Internationale de Prevention and D’Extinction de Feu NFPA representative to the European Fire Service National Fire Chiefs Council of the United Kingdom, Institution of Fire Engineers, Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council and the Global Fire Service Leadership Alliance VFIS would like to sincerely congratulate Chief Sanders on his accomplishments and this award, and to deeply thank him for his dedication and commitment to the fire service, which as undoubtedly made an impact on many lives.
At the recent International Association of Fire Chiefs conference in Dallas, Texas, the Center for Public Safety Excellence conducted its annual professional credentialing and designation process. This program is voluntary and designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate their excellence across seven measured areas including: education, experience, professional development and contributions, association membership, involvement in community and technical competence while identifying a plan for future professional development. Professional Credentialing Program Dr. Bill Jenaway is one of just 117 CTOs in the nation and 1,306 CTOs across the world Designations included in the professional credentialing program are: Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Chief Training Officer (CTO), Chief EMS Officer (CEMSO), Fire Marshal (FM) and Fire Officer (FO). VFIS is proud to announce that VFIS Executive Vice President of Education, Training and Consulting, Dr. Bill Jenaway, was the recipient of re-designation as a Chief Fire Officer and Chief Training Officer. He is one of just 117 CTOs in the nation and 1,306 CTOs across the world. To determine credential recipients and evaluate candidates, the designation programs use a comprehensive peer review model. The Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) awards selected designations only after an individual has successfully met all of the organization’s stringent criteria. Emergency Medical Services During the International Association of Fire Chiefs conference, Jenaway was also the recipient of a 40 year membership pin. It was presented by Jim Yates, President of the Eastern Division of IAFC. We congratulate him on 40 years of dedicated commitment to this incredible organization. IAFC members are the experts in emergency medical services, terrorism response, firefighting, spilling of hazardous materials, search and rescue missions, public safety policies and natural disaster response.