The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and the International Fire Service Training Association at Fire Protection Publications, Oklahoma State University (IFSTA/FPP/OSU) are pleased to announce that Mr. Ed Comeau is the recipient of the 2020 Dr. Anne W. Phillips Award for Leadership in Fire Safety Education.
For over 20 years, Comeau has been the leading advocate in the nation for campus fire safety. The genesis of his efforts began in 1999 when he published the first edition of Campus Firewatch, an electronic newsletter that has raised public awareness of 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 non-profit organization is devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at our nation’s campuses. As its first Executive Director, Comeau collaborated with national fire organizations to promote fire safety on college campuses across the US. In 2008, Congress approved the Campus Fire Safety Right to Know Act due in large part to Comeau’s advocacy for the passage of this important piece of legislation, which requires institutions of higher education to issue annual fire safety information to students, their parents and the U.S. Department of Education.
Comeau was also a catalyst for the declaration of September as National Campus Fire Safety Month. Since its establishment in 2005, our nation’s governors have signed over 400 proclamations while Congress has approved resolutions recognizing September as the month to draw national attention to fire safety on our college campuses. He has also worked on a number of FEMA grant projects relating to campus fire safety and students with disabilities.
Because of the increased awareness of the dangers of these fires, the number of college-related fire deaths has dropped from a high of 20 during the 2006-2007 school year to zero during 2015-2016, a testimony to the collective work of schools and communities across our nation in addressing this issue.
After 20 years, Comeau recently announced his decision to discontinue publishing Campus Firewatch, but he remains active in other projects, including The Vision 20/20 Project, a program that advocates for community risk reduction (CRR) programs nationwide.
Bill Jenaway, CFSI President; Craig Hannan, Director of Fire Protection Publications at OSU; and Mike Wieder, IFSTA Executive Director, issued a joint statement honoring the 2020 recipient. “Through Ed Comeau’s actions and efforts, the public safety community has had a passionate leader who has championed the cause of fire safety on college campuses across the nation. As much as we do not like to think about it, the threat of fire in student housing is real – just as it is in our homes and workplace. Like Dr. Phillips, Ed recognizes that our fundamental role in public safety needs to begin with prevention and education, and he has focused his efforts in an area that had not always received proper attention prior to his involvement. We are pleased to be honoring Ed with this award.”
Recognizing the support of IFSTA, Jenaway extended his thanks to IFSTA/FPP and Oklahoma State University. “On behalf of my fellow board members, I thank IFSTA for its continued support of this award, which elevates the value of fire safety education throughout our nation.”
The award will be presented on April 30 at the 32nd Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner in Washington, DC. For more information, contact Bill Webb at CFSI 202 371-1277 or Mike Wieder at FPP 405-744-4255.
Please visit the Congressional Fire Services Institute’s website (www.cfsi.org) for additional information about the 32nd Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner. Approximately 1,500 fire and emergency services leaders throughout the nation are expected to attend the annual program. In addition to the dinner and seminars, attendees will schedule meetings on Capitol Hill to discuss important fire and life safety issues.