Fairfax, Va. – Chief John Sinclair, Kittitas Valley (Wash.) Fire Rescue, was installed August 18 as president and chairman of the board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), pledging to “shine a light” on several important challenges facing the fire and emergency service.
Sinclair will lead the association’s 18-member board of directors. He will serve as the association’s primary spokesman on national and international issues, testify on behalf of the organization at Congressional hearings and serve as the association’s representative dignitary.
During his inaugural address at Fire-Rescue International 2016 (FRI), the annual conference of the IAFC, Sinclair said he would work for and with IAFC membership.
“We are facing significant challenges in the fire service and I want to shine a light on some of them,” Sinclair said. “We are learning more and more about PTSD and behavioral health issues facing firefighters. Firefighter suicide is a trend we must reverse. Firefighter cancer is on the rise and we need to work together to change the culture of the fire service, honoring the nobility of firefighting, but focusing on health and safety issues after the fire is out. Working together, we can make progress on these issues.”
Read Sinclair’s full general session remarks.
Currently the fire chief of Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue and emergency manager for the city of Ellensburg in Washington, Sinclair has held many positions in the fire and emergency service during his career, including firefighter, paramedic, lieutenant, battalion chief, assistant chief and deputy chief.
Chief Sinclair was a member of the IAFC's EMS Section for 19 years and served a four-year term as chair. Additionally, Chief Sinclair served on the advisory board of Fire and Emergency Television Network, the advisory board for Tacoma Community College and Central Washington University’s Paramedic Program and nine years on the board of directors for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Currently he represents the fire service on the National EMS Advisory Council.
Chief Sinclair has worked with the American College of Surgeons Hartford Consensus I and II on Mass Casualty Incident Management and also assisted the Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control with a bystander response project.
In addition to Chief Sinclair’s being installed as president and chairman of the board, Chief Tom Jenkins, Rogers (Ark.) Fire Department, was installed as the association’s first vice president. Chief Gary Curmode, Copper Mountain (Colo.) Fire Department, was installed as second vice president and Chief Richard Carrizzo, Southern Platte (Mo.) Fire Protection District, was installed as treasurer. Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, IAFC President 2015-2016, will continue to serve on the IAFC executive committee and board of directors for 2016-2017 as immediate past president.
During the general session, Kerr and Pierce Manufacturing presented the 2016 IAFC Fire Chief of the Year awards. Chief Willard H. “Bill” Halmich, Washington (Mo.) Volunteer Fire Company, was named volunteer Fire Chief of the Year and Chief Harry Beck, Mesa (Ariz.) Fire and Medical Department, was named career Fire Chief of the Year. Selected by a committee appointed by the IAFC, the winners were honored for their leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity and contributions to the fire service as a whole. Sponsored by Pierce, the awards were presented during FRI’s general session.
Also, Kerr and Motorola Sollutions presented the 2016 IAFC/Motorola Solutions Ben Franklin Award for Valor. This award recognizes firefighters around the world for their expert training, leadership, heroic actions and safe practices. Named after Benjamin Franklin, the nation’s first fire chief, it is the highest honor bestowed by the IAFC. The honorees include:
- USA-1, Fairfax County (Va.) Fire and Rescue Department Urban Search and Rescue. Team members are Lieutenant Robert Garza, Lieutenant Lawrence Mullin and Technician Ryland Chapman.
- USA-2, Los Angeles County (Calif.) Fire and Rescue Department’s Urban Search and Rescue. Team members are Captain Gerald Gonzales, Firefighter Daniel McKeen and Firefighter-Paramedic Matthew Prasch.
More than 10,000 fire and emergency service leaders, experts, exhibitors, guests and industry partners from around the globe participated at FRI, held August 17-20 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. FRI offers current and future career and volunteer fire chiefs and chief fire officers throughout the international community information and education to enhance their professionalism and capabilities. In addition, FRI features more than 400 exhibitors who showcase their products and services for fire and emergency service leaders.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more
Jim Philipps | IAFC Assistant Director, Strategic Communications
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