Mitchell Confirmed as New U.S. Fire Administrator

The Senate voted Friday to confirm President Obama’s nominee of Ernest Mitchell Jr. as U.S. Fire Administrator.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate thanked the Senate for confirming Mitchell. USFA, a component of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the lead federal entity responsible for providing support to America’s fire departments and fire services organizations.

"With decades of experience fighting fires and leading fire service organizations, Chief Mitchell will be a great addition to our team at FEMA and a tremendous asset to firefighters and first responders around the country," said Fugate in a prepared statement.

"As with our other senior leaders at FEMA, he comes from a state and local background, which means he understands the kind of support our nation’s fire departments and fire service organizations need. He will be a tireless advocate for firefighters and the communities they serve and I look forward to working with him."

The U.S. Fire Administration is an agency Mitchell sees as “elevating and enhancing the American fire service’s response capability,” according to his Senate testimony last month.

The IAFC endorsed Mitchell’s nomination when it was announced in August. “This is a great day for America’s fire service,” said Chief Al Gillespie, IAFC president and chairman of the board, in a prepared statement.

“Chief Mitchell has a leadership style that draws from the best of the fire and emergency service tradition, and combines it with a modern outlook and a progressive vision. I cannot think of a better person to lead our industry during these difficult times and into a bright future.”

According to the IAFC, before he retired in 2004, Mitchell served as fire chief and assistant director of disaster emergency services for the Pasadena (Calif.) Fire Department, and as IAFC President. His career encompasses 30 years of experience.