The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has installed Chief Hank Clemmensen, fire chief of the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District of Inverness, Ill., as IAFC president and chairman of the board for 2012-2013. The installation took place during the IAFC’s Fire-Rescue International (FRI) conference in Denver.
As president and chairman of the board, Chief Clemmensen will provide leadership to an 18-member board of directors for the association headquartered in Fairfax, Va., and will serve as the primary spokesperson for the association on matters of national and international interest. He will testify on behalf of the IAFC at U.S. House and Senate hearings, and he will serve as the representative dignitary for the association in all major political and international functions.
During his inaugural address at the FRI 2012 general session, Clemmensen spoke of the changes taking place in the fire service today, “I can’t help feeling that the fire service – and the IAFC – are on the cusp of something truly great. In order to achieve that greatness though, there is much we need to do.”
Clemmensen urged those in the audience to seek allies and partnerships, and to stop thinking about how to fix the economic environment and focus more on managing our economic situation. He challenged members to stop saying, “because” and start asking, “why not” and look to the future and less to the past.
Clemmensen began his fire service career in 1972 with the Glenview Rural Fire Protection District, Glenview, Illinois as a paid-on-call firefighter. He received his EMT certification in 1974 through Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. In 1977, he was hired by the Hoffman Estates Fire Department as a full-time firefighter and received his paramedic certification through Northwest Community Hospital in 1978. Clemmensen was promoted through the ranks and retired as fire marshal / assistant fire chief in 2001. As a lieutenant, he implemented the first computer aided dispatch system for fire and police in Hoffman Estates. He served as the chief administrator of the Hoffman Estates Code Enforcement Department for over a year. Then, during his tenure as fire marshal, he was successful in passing a residential sprinkler ordinance for the Village of Hoffman Estates and all of its unincorporated areas.
Clemmensen was appointed fire chief for the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District, in 2001. The District covers an area of approximately 17 square miles with about 14,000 residents. The fire department has 21 full-time firefighters, 1 administrative assistant, and the fire chief working out of one fire station.
He served as president of Illinois MABAS Division 1 2005-2007, president - IAFC Great Lakes Division 2007-2009, and vice-president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) 2010-2012. Hank is a commercial pilot/flight instructor for airplanes and rotorcraft-helicopters.
Clemmensen holds a Bachelors of Science degree from Northern Illinois University and completed graduate studies in public administration through Northern Illinois University.
Also installed during the ceremony on August 4 were Chief William Metcalf of the North County Fire Protection District (Calif.), as the IAFC’s first vice president and Chief Keith Bryant the Oklahoma City (Okla.) Fire Department as the association's second vice president.