Fire chiefs from across the nation are in Israel this week as part of a critical homeland security mission to the region. Working for the first time as partners, the mission is being coordinated by the American Israel Education Foundation, a supporting organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the. The group departed on Saturday, Feb. 3, and will return Sunday, Feb. 11.
The delegation includes 14 fire chiefs from 13 different states, including the chiefs of fire departments in several major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Baltimore, Miami and Las Vegas.
The week-long mission brings together some of the nation’s leading fire chiefs for high-level meetings, demonstrations and exchanges with Israel’s senior emergency response and fire command officials. The trip is part of AIPAC’s homeland security initiative aimed at fostering bilateral relations between the U.S. and Israeli homeland security and first responder communities.
“Israel has been preparing for and responding to terror attacks for 50 years. Our goal is to ensure that U.S. first responders have the opportunity to learn from Israel’s vast experience and bring home those important lessons to help save American lives.” said AIPAC Board Member Harriet Zimmerman.
The fire chiefs are set to participate in an intensive series of meetings and policy discussions with, among others, representatives from the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Fire Brigades, Israeli National Police, Israel’s national medical emergency response service Magen David Adom, and other emergency response agencies. The sessions will allow the American and Israeli fire and first responder officials to share their experiences relating to information sharing, search-and-rescue techniques, private sector involvement, and national emergency and mass-casualty incident response.
Trip highlights include a visit to the Haifa Fire Department and tour of the areas hardest hit by rocket fire during last summer’s conflict with the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hizballah, a tour of Hadassah Hospital’s trauma unit, considered to have one of the best mass-casualty response units in the world, and meetings with numerous area fire chiefs
Trip participants include: Asst. Chief Eugene Campbell, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue; Chief Tom Carr, Montgomery County (Md.) Fire & Rescue; IAFC Second Vice President Chief Kelvin Cochran, Shreveport (La.) Fire Department; Chief Frank Cruthers, New York City Fire Department; Chief Rebecca Denlinger, Cobb County (Ga.) Fire and Emergency Services; IAFC Metro Fire Chief Section Director Chief Luther Fincher, Charlotte (N.C.) Fire Department; Chief William Goodwin, Baltimore (Md.) City Fire Department; IAFC President Chief James Harmes, Grand Blanc (Mich.) Fire Department; IAFC Immediate-Past President Chief William D. Killen; Chief Herminio Lorenzo, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue; Chief Mary Beth Michos, Prince William County (Va.) Department of Fire & Rescue; Chief of Training John O’Gorman, Ponderosa (Texas) Volunteer Fire Department; Chief Jay Reardon, Northbrook (Ill.) Fire Department; Chief Jerry Rhodes, Cunningham (Colo.) Fire Protection District and IAFC EMS Section Director Chief John Sinclair, Kittitas County (Wash.) Fire District Two.