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Presidents News Letter May 2022

Published on 5/8/2022

Message from the President
May 2022

I would like to thank the branch for allowing me the opportunity to help move our branch forward. As I mentioned in the Annual General Meeting, this movement can only occur because all of us put in a little effort, and we find the synergy among all of our efforts. As we come out of COVID, we have much to do in networking and finding new ways to serve our members.

From Strange Initials Question to President

In 2008, I asked a neighboring fire chief about the “strange” initials that he had behind his mane. You know them as MIFireE. The Fire Chief, BJ Jetter, happened to be the president and emailed me the application so I could have the initials too. This was my introduction to the Institution of Fire Engineers. At the first annual meeting I attended, I recognized that I was surrounded by many of the people I had seen as speakers at conferences, authors of books, and many other well-know fire service leaders. I also noted that this group had a much broader perspective of the fire service connecting many other sectors to ensure the extinction of fire. As a thirty something operations-based company officer, it was enlightening. Fast forward 13 years and I have had the honor to get to know our outstanding board members and serve as the education chairperson, as well as the Vice President. The moral of my story is that we will only find our new members by ensuring that we utilize our post-nominals and being willing to tell the story of the Institution to our friends and mentees. We are all just passing through the fire and engineering services. Let us find the leaders of the next generation and get them involved.

The 3-Legged Stool of our Existence

When people outside the branch, and even some within, ask “What are we about,” sometimes we have a hard time articulating what the institution and the branch stands for or is about. I think of the IFE and the branch as a three-legged stool. The three legs are

1. International Perspective

2. Research-Based information

3. Connection of Engineering and Fire Service


We are the only truly international organization with branches all over the world. This broad reach allows us to give our members more information from areas of the world that may have the same problems, but have different cultures and approaches to the problems.

Many of our members, as well as members of the other branches around the world, have advanced degrees and a research perspective. As we continue to evolve as an American fire service, we must continue to evolve to a research-based profession. This can only occur through continued growth of our perspective and understanding the research that is taking place throughout the world.

While it is a fact that the super majority of our USA branch Membership is from the United States Fire-Rescue Departments, often chief officers, but are a much more diverse group that brings together engineers, investigators, code writers, and private industry. It is this collaboration and understanding that will bring together the bright minds to solve the fire problem in the United States.

I invite you to become involved in one of our committees, author articles for the branch, and attend our annual meetings and educational conference. More importantly, bring a colleague that you think meets the high standards of our branch and get them involved too.


I look forward to the time to serve as your president. If you have ideas or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.




Randall W. Hanifen, Ph.D. FIFireE


Institution of Fire Engineers-USA Branch