2020 Award Recipient – Mr. Ed Comeau
The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and the International Fire Service Training Association at Fire Protection Publications, Oklahoma State University (IFSTA/FPP/OSU) selected Mr. Ed Comeau as the recipient of the 2020 Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education.
In 1999, Comeau published the first edition of Campus Firewatch, an electronic newsletter that has raised public awareness about fire safety on college campuses and in communities across the nation. The publication served as a springboard for launching other initiatives, including the Center for Campus Fire Safety in 2003. The nonprofit organization is devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at our nation’s campuses. Comeau served as its first Executive Director.
Active in advocacy at the state and national levels, Comeau played a critical role in the passage of the Campus Fire Safety Right to Know Act of 2008. The measure requires higher education institutions to issue annual fire safety information to students, parents, and the US Department of Education. Comeau was also a catalyst for the declaration of September as National Campus Fire Safety Month. Since its establishment in 2005, governors in the US have signed over 400 proclamations while Congress has approved resolutions recognizing September as the month to raise awareness about fire safety on our college campuses. He has also worked on several FEMA grant projects addressing campus fire safety and students with disabilities.
The number of college-related fire deaths dropped from a high of 20 during the 2006-2007 school year to zero during 2015-2016. It is a testimony to the collective work of schools and communities across our nation in addressing this issue, attributed in large part to Comeau’s leadership.
After 20 years, Ed Comeau recently announced his decision to discontinue publishing Campus Firewatch; however, he remains active in other projects, including The Vision 20/20 Project, a program that advocates for community risk reduction (CRR) programs nationwide.
About the Award
The CFSI/IFSTA Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education
recognizes individuals for outstanding achievements at the national level in fire safety education. It was named in honor of Dr. Anne W. Phillips for her profound and enduring contributions to fire safety education.
Dr. Phillips was a member of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, a 20-member body appointed by President Richard Nixon in 1971 to study our nation’s fire problem and make recommendations for reducing the fire losses across the country. The culmination of the Commission’s work was the seminal report, America Burning. As a member of the Commission, Dr. Phillips authored the Minority Report that pushed the Commission to recognize the critical role of prevention in reducing fire injuries and deaths.
Throughout her life, Dr. Phillips demonstrated an unwavering dedication to fire prevention and preparedness to strengthen fire safety education across the country. The award is named in her honor to keep the work and spirit of Dr. Phillips alive well beyond her lifetime by celebrating those who follow her example to move the field of fire prevention and safety forward.
2007 Jim Dalton
2008 Nancy Trench
2009 Pat Mieszala
2010 Sharon Gamache
2011 Peg Carson
2012 Meri-K Appy
2013 Jim Crawford
2014 Mary Marchone
2015 Catherine B. Lohr and Pamela A. Powell
2016 Gerry Bassett
2017 Marsha Giesler, Downers Grove (IL) Fire Department
2018 Mike Weller, Hagerstown MD Fire Department
2019 Dr. Ernest Grant