Tim Bradley from the North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission has been awarded the Martin E. Grimes Award by IFSAC at their spring meeting in Oklahoma City. This award is considered one of the most prestigious awards bestowed by the fire service.
The Martin E. Grimes Award was established in 1996 by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress for the purpose of recognizing individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the fire service by elevating the level of professionalism through leadership in the development and improvement of professional qualifications standards, certification and accreditation.
This award is for an individual whose accomplishments in the field of fire service professional qualifications, certification, and accreditation are meant to serve as the standard by which nominees for this prestigious award shall be measured.
Martin Grimes was born January 3, 1926 in Bristol, England where he served in the British fire services from 1941-1960. His experience there was progressive in three departments, Bristol, Derbyshire and Surrey. His promotion through all rank levels up to Divisional Officer was gained under the nationally competitive system used in the United Kingdom at that time.
In 1960 while serving as Senior Fire Protection Officer for Surrey, a metropolitan county, he was invited to reorganize the entire fire protection service of Bermuda. For this he would later affectionately become known as the “Commissioner.” As the colony’s Fire Commissioner, he carried out this operation which involved the fire services, fire and building code development and adoption. Using a blend of European and American equipment, techniques, codes and standards, he successfully completed this in 1969. He was awarded the Queens Medal for Distinguished Service in 1970 in recognition of his service to the British and Commonwealth fire services.
Martin Grimes was a graduate of the United Kingdom’s National Fire Service Staff College having completed courses in fire engineering, fire law, fire science and risk surveying. He was awarded the Fire Service Research Trust Prize in 1953. A member of the Institution of Fire Engineers by both examination and election, he additionally attained every level of the national qualifications system established by the British government for the fire services. He attended courses in public administration and numerous special fire related courses at various institutions.
As a recognized expert opinion witness on fire, Martin Grimes was involved in cases at all jurisdictional levels both civil and criminal. He lectured on most aspects of fire protection at colleges and served on legislative and standard committees. He acted as a consultant to several foreign governments. His fire service career included service in a police/fire department, a national fire service, a large industrial city, a metropolitan county, and a colonial fire service.
Martin Grimes joined the staff of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in late 1969. It is during his time with NFPA that he had the greatest impact on the development of national professional qualifications, certification, and accreditation systems for the North American fire service. The ancestry of the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) can be traced back to this early work, much of which remains today as the foundation on which IFSAC has been built, and around which its activities continue to revolve.
Upon joining the NFPA, Martin Grimes quickly endeared himself to the North American fire service, gaining respect as an accomplished writer and speaker. Unsuspecting visitors to his office would often find themselves captive for hours as he regaled them with stories of his fire fighting experiences during World War II or talked about contemporary fire service issues. When asked what they remember most about Martin Grimes, those closest to him often respond by saying he was the “consummate fire officer-an individual whose great achievements did not preclude him from talking to the firefighter on the street.”
Of his many achievements, the one for which Martin Grimes will be most remembered is the role he played in the early development of a fire service professional qualifications system for North America. Drawing upon his experience with the British fire service, he served as a leader on the first committees dedicated to the development of national professional qualifications and the concept of certification and accreditation in North America. His leadership and vision was not only instrumental in the establishment of such a system but also vital to its survival in an environment of the time less accepting of this system.
Like Martin Grimes, recipients of this award are individuals who have the following attributes:
• The majority of their working life has been spent associated with the fire service.
• They have had long and distinguished careers that feature progressively responsible experience and a wide variety of recognized achievements in the field of fire service training and education which specifically includes involvement with professional qualifications, certification, and accreditation on a national level.
• Their efforts have had a significant, enduring, and broad impact upon the fire service.
The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress seeks nominations from the public by distributing a call for nominations. This is done by mail, electronic means and other methods. The call for nominations takes place between April 1 and July 1 every year. Information distributed by mail and by electronic means includes the information contained in this document explaining the purpose of the award, criteria, and eligibility and nomination procedures. The Martin Grimes Award information is also available on the IFSAC website at www.ifsac.org. Sitting members of IFSAC boards and active employees of Oklahoma State University are not eligible to receive this award.
During the spring meeting, Mr. Bradley announced he was retiring effective July 1st. He will be take the job of Executive Director of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association. He will be replacing Mr. Paul Miller who is retiring after many years of service with the Firemen’s Association.
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