Army forts' fire chiefs get new designation

By Ed Brock

Army Garrison Forts McPherson and Gillem now officially have three of the top firefighters in the world.

On Aug. 20, the International Association of Fire Chiefs' Commission on Chief Fire Officer Designation will induct Fort McPherson's Chief Fire Officer David L. Ellis and Assistant Chief Norman Blankenship, a resident of Riverdale, and Fort Gillem's Assistant Chief Leroy White as Chief Fire Officers. They are among 85 new CFOs who will be inducted at the association's conference in Dallas, according to garrison spokesman Ron Morton.

"This is another step toward professionalism," Blankenship said.

To qualify for the CFO designation a review board evaluated the three on their experience, education, professional development, professional contributions, active association membership, community involvement and technical competencies. The designation is good for three years and in order to maintain the designation the three must continue to develop in professional development, professional contributions, active association membership and community involvement.

The CFO program is intended to "identify top leaders in fire and emergency services and to create a set of criteria enabling communities to effectively judge the quality of leadership in their fire service organization," according to Morton. As of Feb. 22 there were 214 CFOs designated around the nation and Canada.

Among the other CFOs to be inducted this month will six from federal agencies, four with the Army and two from the Navy.