The fire in their hearts—it’s not just a job
May 4 is International Firefighters’ Day, a time to honor the dedicated men and women who put themselves at risk to protect our communities and, of course, to remember those who have been injured, were sickened, or gave the ultimate sacrifice while doing so. The day has been observed since 1999 in countries all over the world.
Firefighters are unique individuals. Most of them don’t think of their service as a job, but a calling. They’re compelled by a strong inner desire to serve and protect people and property from fires, natural and man-made disasters, medical emergencies, and the unexpected calamity. They’re selfless public servants, and we owe them a great debt—not just on May 4, but every day.
A community of firefighters
ISO Community Hazard Mitigation is very proud to count so many members of our staff as part of that community of firefighters. Our mitigation managers and field analysts don’t just work with the fire service, many live it themselves. They don’t just conduct surveys for our Public Protection Classification (PPC®) program, they stand beside other firefighters on the front lines or have in the past.
That includes Tom Weber, national director of ISO Community Hazard Mitigation. Tom was an active firefighter for 35 years, served as fire chief in two different communities (in Connecticut and Florida), and is a past president for both the Connecticut and Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association.
Living in the firefighting world
Kevin Kuntz, our vice president of risk engineering, has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 43 years. His intimate knowledge of that world comes from living it, which he still does as an active firefighter in New Jersey.
Field analyst David See retired from active fire service duty after 40 years. His colleagues, fellow field analysts James Alsop and Frank Lafferty, both have 32 years’ firefighting experience. Mitigation analyst Cynthia Maahs-Knobbs has 25 years’ experience and is a retired fire marshal. Seventy-six members of our staff have fire service experience, with a combined 1,605 years—and counting.
What does all this mean—beyond being a source of intense pride for ISO Community Hazard Mitigation? It means that no one knows the fire service better or more intimately than ISO. Our staff has firsthand experience in fire prevention, firefighting, and community risk reduction. That expertise informs all our mitigation services; and that’s why our community surveys, PPC classifications, and fire risk products are so reliable, trustworthy, and accurate. It’s not just a job to ISO people—it’s a calling for them too.
As we celebrate International Firefighters’ Day this May 4, ISO will let our Community Hazard Mitigation staff take a moment to savor their accomplishments and bask in our appreciation—then it’s back into the field!