Gaines Serving as Acting USFA Head

EMMITSBURG, Md. --

The people at the helm are no strangers to the positions. Glenn Gaines reassumed his role as acting USFA Administrator, and Denis Onieal is acting deputy administrator.

While Oneal is holding down that role, Kirby Kiefer will be acting superintendent of the National Fire Academy.

The moves were precipitated by Kelvin Cochran's departure to return to lead the Atlanta Fire Department. He left after just nine months as the chief of the nation's fire service.

His photograph has been taken down.

Cochran said last week he was confident that the USFA staff would carry on the mission. "One of my greatest joys here was getting to know so many wonderful people."

"Glenn (Gaines) is very dedicated. He fully supports the nation's fire service, and understands the challenges they are facing."

Gaines said Monday a smooth transition is underway. "I am prepared to guide the USFA forward, and carry on the mission. Everyone here is aware of our goals. Our work is solid."

The former chief in Fairfax County, Va. held the position for six months prior to Cochran being nominated and confirmed.

Last week, Cochran was involved with a number of staff meetings during which a number of on-going issues were discussed.

Gaines said the staff is vigilant about keeping tabs on ever-changing trends to make sure fire and rescue personnel stay ahead of the game.

Gaines said he was pleased to have represented firefighters during recent sprinkler code hearings in Baltimore. "That was a monumental show of unity. Home sprinklers will save the lives of firefighters and civilians."

What causes him the most pain is the number of firefighters who die annually while serving their communities.

"I'll do anything I can to reduce the pain and suffering," he said.

He added that it's imperative that all responders practice safety year-round. "So many deaths are preventable. It's so important that everyone get physicals, and be fit to do their jobs."

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