Fire Chief of the Year

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Since 1996, the prestigious Fire Chief of the Year award has recognized one volunteer and one career fire chief for their leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, public service and contributions to the fire service. The IAFC presents the Fire Chief of the Year award in proud partnership with Pierce Manufacturing. The program’s media partner is FireRescue1 by Lexipol.

Nominations for 2023 are now open. All nominations are reviewed by a select committee of IAFC members. The nomination deadline is June 9, 2023, at 11:59 PM ET.

Nominate: Fire Chief of the Year

Nominating Organizations

A nomination in one or both categories is accepted from:

  • All IAFC sections and divisions
  • Any IAFC member
  • Any state association of career and/or volunteer fire chiefs
  • Center for Public Safety Excellence
  • Congressional Fire Services Institute
  • IAFC Diversity Executive Leadership Program (iDELP)
  • IAFC Women Chiefs Council (WCC)
  • Institution of Fire Engineers
  • International Association of Arson Investigators
  • International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services
  • National Association of Hispanic Fire Fighters
  • National Fire Protection Council
  • National Volunteer Fire Council
  • Native American Fire Chiefs Association
  • Previous recipients may nominate one chief and are not limited to their own category

Nomination Process

Four steps to prepare the official entry:

  1. Use the official nomination form via this link. Remember, this is a lifetime achievement award, not one specific incident.
  2. Include a statement describing in less than 1,000 words the nominee's major accomplishments and why the candidate is deserving of this high honor.
  3. Upload a current resume or CV detailing the nominee's involvement in the fire service. While this is optional, including a resume or CV is highly recommended.
  4. Upload up to three (3) other documents supporting the candidate's nomination, such as copies of awards, newspaper articles, or letters of recommendation from appropriate elected or appointed officials. These documents are optional. However such information makes it easier for the panel of judges to evaluate the nominees.


Two awards will be presented at FRI 2023; one for a career fire chief and one for a volunteer fire chief.
  • A volunteer fire chief is defined as one who earns his or her principal livelihood by some means other than serving as a fire chief, even if the position of chief carries some compensation.
  • A career fire chief is defined as one who earns his or her principal livelihood as a fire chief.
  • In each category, the status of the fire department as a whole — paid, volunteer or combination — is not considered.
  • Individuals who are eligible for nomination and selection as Fire Chief of the Year are limited to active chiefs of departments. Previous Fire Chief of the Year recipients are not eligible.
  • Selection criteria will emphasize leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, service to the public and contributions to the fire service as a whole.
  • All of a nominee's fire service activities and accomplishments will be considered. Special emphasis will be placed on the period from 2020 through 2022. A nominee's command role at a major emergency incident, while relevant, will not be enough to place that individual into contention for the award.

No politicking is permitted. The nomination submission and supporting documents comprise the entire documentation for a candidate's nomination. Neither the nominee nor anyone representing him or her is to contact the IAFC staff or any member(s) of the nomination/selection committee after the nomination has been made and before the final selection has been made.  Any violations of this will subject the nominee to disqualification.

The IAFC is not responsible for submissions received past the deadline due to electronic errors. Contact if you experience difficulty submitting your nomination. Submitted nomination information will not be shared with anyone beyond the selection committee of IAFC members and  IAFC staff assigned to administer the program.

Selection Process

Each qualified nomination will be reviewed by a committee of members appointed by the IAFC. The IAFC reserves the right to omit an award. Recipient and regret notifications to the nominators will be issued in July. The recipients will be announced on Monday, August 14,  2023 and honored on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 at Fire-Rescue International in Kansas City, Missouri. Also, the recipients will be featured in iCHIEFS - member enewsletter and on

Questions? Contact:

Current Fire Chiefs of the Year

Fire Chief of the Year 2022


  • Marshall Turbeville, Northern Sonoma County Fire District (CA)
  • Gary Ludwig, Champaign Fire Department (IL)


Past Fire Chiefs of the Year

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