NFPA announced its new Officers and the election of Dr. Denis Onieal to its Board of Directors.
Amy Acton, a burn survivor and former burn nurse and nurse manager, has been named Chair of the NFPA Board. For only the second time in the nearly 125-year history of NFPA, the Board will be led by a female. Acton serves as the Executive Director of Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, working to refine Phoenix Society’s mission and business outreach strategy to ensure that more people are aware of burn causes, injuries, rehabilitation, and recovery. She is joined by John Bonney, the first Board member from outside North America serving serving in an officer role on the NFPA Board of Directors.Bonney, owner of Alendi Consulting Ltd. and Alchemy Management Solutions, Ltd. which help organizations identify, quantify, and map risk and then employ strategies to reduce that risk, is the new Board secretary. He is a former national president of the Chief Fire Officer’s Association in the United Kingdom and was chief fire officer in Hampshire County, England for ten years. Rounding out the rest of the NFPA Board leadership team are Russell Leavitt as 1st vice chair, R. David Paulison as 2nd vice chair, Donny Cook as assistant secretary, Roger Montembeault for a second term as treasurer, Kwame Cooper as assistant treasurer, and Keith Williams as immediate past chair.
Onieal, the newest member of the NFPA Board, recently retired from his role as deputy fire administrator for the United States Fire Administration (USFA), where he oversaw more than 400 career and contract employees, as well as a 110-acre campus with 26 historic buildings. Onieal was responsible for the United States National Fire Academy (NFA) which trains 100,000+ mid- to senior-level firefighters and officers in all aspects of executive leadership. He was also a senior member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) governing council.
During his tenure, Onieal championed fire-related research on causes of fire as well as on lithium batteries, protective clothing for firefighters, emergency vehicle conspicuity, firefighting strategy and tactics. He was also responsible for the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) – the largest incident-based, all-hazards database in the world that involves 24,000+ fire departments across the nation and captures 27 million incidents per year. A gifted collaborator, Onieal worked with senior federal officials within The Department Homeland Security (DHS), Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Defense, Treasury Defense and Interior – as well as with executives at the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control.
Prior to USFA, Onieal served as the Superintendent of NFA for nearly 20 years overseeing on-campus resident programming, off-campus training and on-line education that attracted more women and people of color than ever before as both students and faculty. Onieal helped improve the rigor of academic programs; today both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are regarded as national models for professional development in fire and emergency services. During vacancies between presidential appointments and periods of crisis, he also advised the FEMA Administrator and the Secretary of DHS on fire-related/disaster issues.
Prior to his federal roles, Onieal was a member of the Jersey City Fire Department in New Jersey for almost 25 years – ultimately rising to the level of chief of the department.
Onieal has been the recipient of the International Association of Fire Chiefs President's Award for Outstanding Leadership, the Congressional Fire Services Institute Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award, the New Jersey Professional Firefighters Association Humanitarian Award, Firehouse Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, and was recognized as a New York University Visiting Scholar.
He joins NFPA Board of Director members Brion Callori, Martha Connors, Teresa Deloach Reed, Reginal Freeman, William Fries, Hatem Kheir, Patrick Morrison, Lou Paulson, Michael Wallace, and Stacy Welch who are continuing terms.