Photo credit: Atlanta Fire Department
Home sprinklers, fire safety education, radio interoperability and the FIRE Act grant were among issues USFA Administrator Nominee Kelvin J. Cochran addressed Wednesday during his confirmation hearing.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, said he hopes the vote to confirm Cochran will come before Congress recesses on Friday, adding that they'll be gone for a month.
Calling home fire sprinklers "one of the greatest fire safety initiatives," Cochran said he sees the USFA playing a greater role in prevention measures. He said it will be his mission to promote projects that will reduce the number of people killed and injured in fires in America.
The measures also have a direct impact on firefighter deaths and injuries, he said adding that reducing line-of-duty deaths is high agenda.
On an unrelated matter, the longtime career firefighter said he has the utmost respect for volunteer personnel. Cochran explained that while at the IAFC, he worked closely with the NVFC on a number of issues facing volunteers.
He added that he will depend on those contacts to keep him apprised of situations. Working together, he said, is very important.
Several Senators mentioned that their communities are served by volunteers, and were interested in getting Cochran's feelings.
When asked why he was willing to take the job that will no doubt change his life, Cochran responded: "I believe I can make a difference."
He said he believes he was born to serve. Becoming a firefighter was all he ever wanted to do.
And, Cochran said he is passionate about learning so he can serve better.
That's why in addition to moving up the ladder on the job, he also volunteered for various task forces and committees with the IAFC and Metro Chiefs. As with the new position he is vying for, he believes he can make a difference.
In an interview with Firehouse.com last month, Cochran tried to describe how it felt when he was contacted by White House staff about the nomination.
"I am humbled beyond words that he would consider my credentials and background for such a position. I consider it a tremendous honor to be asked to lead the American fire service..."
Cochran currently serves as the chief of the Atlanta Fire Department and was first vice-president of the IAFC before taking that position last year. He previously served as chief in Shreveport, La. from 1999 to 2008.