Illinois Fire Inspectors Association Update

Discussion created by ssawyer on Apr 2, 2020

It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of Lonnie Jackson, retired Deputy Fire Chief, Village of Mt. Prospect.


Lonnie was one of the founding members of the IFIA serving as Executive Director for over 30 years. Motivated by the report of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control titled, America Burning, Lonnie became a pioneer in public fire education. He was a contributing author to the first Public Fire Education manual, IFSTA 606 First Edition, published in 1979. He also served as Vice-Chairman of the IFSTA 606 Editorial Review Committee. Lonnie was a member of the Mt. Prospect Fire Dept. when the IFIA was formed in the very early 70s – running it out of his house in Arlington Heights for many years.


At that time public education was an almost unheard-of term. Due to the work he was doing in Mt Prospect and IFSTA, he and the Mt. Prospect Fire Dept. became known nationally. He and Mt. Prospect Fire Chief Larry Pairitz were invited to groundbreaking national conferences to develop materials that have morphed over the years into the Fire and Life Safety education activities that are now normal to every fire department in the country. In addition to his work at Mt. Prospect, he spent decades with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy firefighting crews, and spent his post retirement years with the Bensenville Fire Dept.


If you ever met Lonnie, you would not forget him. His work was legendary and ground breaking. Due to his work with the IFIA, specifically with public education, the IFIA created an award in his name 2007 to recognize his achievements. It is awarded to a person who excels in public education. Lonnie is survived by his wife Carol who served as the IFIA office manager for many years, his five daughters, fifteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.


If you’d like to leave a note on the funeral home guestbook, it can be done here: 

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN  38105.


Regarding covid-19 and the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association, the annual conference had to be cancelled five days away from its start. After much discussion, we choose to not have any “makeup” event, but rather focus on our March 2021 conference in the same location. We are going to try to get many of the same speakers.


Our scheduled Fire Inspector, PFLSE class, and the April sprinkler basics class were all cancelled. We have hopes to reschedule those in the future, but as you would imagine, until things settle down, we cannot begin to say when that would be.


We have tentatively scheduled the sprinkler basics class to August 28. This is planned as a full day event. With many new faces filling people who have retired, we felt it is time to back to the basics. Even if one has many years of experience, there is always something to gain from these classes. Stay tuned for additional details.


Our next scheduled activities would be in late May. Hopefully things will have returned to almost normal levels, but no firm decision have been made yet for that class.


While much is unknown, we have heard nothing regarding the State Fair in August. As a result, we are planning on participating at the Fire Service tent on Aug. 28. Your help is desperately needed for this event. It is only one day, a Sunday, and we will provide entry and parking passes.


Please stay tuned to our newsletter, weekly blasts, Facebook, and our website. As things change, this would be the way we will connect with you. Once things resume normally, we would ask you to simply support us by attending our events. While this isolation impacts us financially, we will recover. It will just take some time, as well as your participation.


NOTICE: UL Warns of Counterfeit UL Mark on Fire Sprinklers. This link will take you to the UL site for pictures and additional information.