Fire Chief of the Year

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The Fire Chief of the Year is presented annually by the IAFC and Pierce Manufacturing at the general session of Fire-Rescue International. The award honors one career and one volunteer fire chief for their leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity, service to the public and contributions as a whole to the fire service.

Nominating Organizations

A nomination in one or both categories will be accepted from:

  • All sections and divisions of the IAFC
  • Any IAFC member
  • Any state association of career and/or volunteer chiefs
  • Center for Public Safety Excellence
  • Congressional Fire Services Institute
  • IAFC Diversity Executive Leadership Program (iDELP)
  • IAFC Women Fire Chiefs Council (WFCC)
  • 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 Volunteer Fire Council
  • Native American Fire Chiefs Association
  • Previous winners may nominate one chief and are not limited to their own winning category

Nomination Process

The 2019 nomination period opens February 1 and closes May 19 at 11:59 PM ET. The nomination link will be available on this webpage or by contacting

Four steps to prepare the official entry:

  1. Complete the official nomination form. Remember, this is a lifetime achievement award, not one specific incident.
  2. Statement describing in less than 1,000 words the nominee's major accomplishments and why the candidate is being nominated.
  3. Current resume or CV detailing the candidate's involvement in the fire service. This is optional, however it is also highly recommended.
  4. Limit of three 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 more information makes it easier to determine worthy recipients.

Two awards will be presented in 2019; 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 winners 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 2015 through 2017. 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 form 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.

Selection Process

Each nomination package will be reviewed by a selection committee to choose the winners. The IAFC reserves the right to omit an award. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 and honored on Thursday, August 8 at Fire-Rescue International in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, the winners will be featured in IAFC On Scene and on

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Past Fire Chiefs of the Year


  • Herbert Leusch, Glen Echo Fire Department (Bethesda, Md.)
  • Joanne Hayes-White, San Francisco Fire Department


  • Marvin Riggins, Macon-Bibb County (Ga.) Fire Department
  • Brian Wade, North Lenoir (Kinston, N.C.) Fire and Rescue Department


  • Harry Beck, Mesa (Ariz.) Fire and Medical Department
  • Willard H. “Bill” Halmich, Washington (Mo.) Volunteer Fire Company


  • Charles Addington, Wolfforth (Texas) Fire & EMS
  • Dan Eggleston, Albemarle (Va.) County Department of Fire Rescue


  • Alan Martin, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Fire and Rescue
  • Chris Barron, Manchaca (Tex.) Fire Rescue

Complete Fire Chief of the Year winners list.