With nearly 40 years of fire service experience under his belt, Ernest Mitchell, Jr. has willingly risen in the ranks from wildfire mapper to fire marshal. Now the head of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), he is tackling an array of new responsibilities, from strengthening partnerships with other federal agencies to improving firefighter health and safety.
Many of these tasks go hand-in-hand with NFPA efforts. "I think the things we can do with NFPA are almost unlimted," says Mitchell in the latest edition of NFPA Journal. "Standards are the foundation for our ability to put together coordinated and integrated responses in groups. They go hand in hand. I knew coming into the job that discussions were going on about fire service groups that could respond to disasters in groups of 300, 500, or even 1,000 or more. I knew that there was discussion about more fire service involvement in the command structure under the national response framework. We have so many individual resources in the country that are doing good things, and the key is to connect the dots and pull people together to work on the same issues and problems. Standards can help us make that happen."
Mitchell also discusses USFA's evolving role in wildland/urban fires and its push for residential sprinklers. Read the full interview in the latest edition of NFPA Journal.