NFPA Announces Award Winners

June 17, 2024
The 2024 NFPA Stars at Night Gala celebrated 14 individuals or organizations across seven award categories.

The NFPA held its 2024 Stars at Night Gala during the annual NFPA Conference & Expo® (C&E) in Orlando, FL, on Sunday, June 16, 2024. During the ceremony, they honored 14 individuals or organizations.

James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal

Tonya Hoover, Deputy Administrator of the United States Fire Administration (USFA), was awarded the 2024 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding advocacy in promoting fire safety for the general public and the fire service.

One of Hoover's most notable achievements was her steadfast advocacy for home fire sprinklers in California. Her efforts ensured that the requirement for sprinklers remained in effect, significantly enhancing fire safety standards and saving countless lives. Her advocacy extends far beyond this achievement, as she has been a relentless champion for fire safety issues nationwide.

As Deputy Fire Administrator at the USFA, Hoover oversees the training of over 100,000 first responders annually, manages the National Fire Incident Reporting System, and leads critical fire prevention and public education programs. Her leadership and vision have profoundly impacted the fire service community.

Standards Medal

William E. Peterson, senior vice president at Strategic Government Resources, was awarded the 2024 Standards Medal, which recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to fire safety and the development of NFPA codes and standards. It is the most distinguished award given by the NFPA Standards Council.

Peterson's nearly six decades of work to secure safety are a testament to his fire and emergency management leadership. His involvement with NFPA dates back to 1977 when he became a Technical Committee Member on Fire Service Training. Peterson's journey began as a volunteer firefighter and led to his role as a fire chief and emergency management coordinator for the City of Plano, Texas. He was later appointed FEMA Region 6 Administrator, where he led federal emergency management activities across five states.

Peterson has continued his extensive involvement with NFPA, including tenures as a former Standards Council member and a past NFPA Board of Directors member. His involvement continues today, including being the Immediate Past Chair of the Correlating Committee on Professional Qualifications.

Harry C. Bigglestone Award

The article “Recurrent Convolutional Deep Neural Networks for Modeling Time-Resolved Wildfire Spread Behavior” was awarded the 2024 Harry C. Bigglestone Award. This prestigious award is given annually to the paper appearing in the journal Fire Technology that best represents excellence in communicating fire protection concepts. 

The researchers' use of advanced machine learning techniques to create a model that predicts wildfire spread with significant accuracy was highlighted as exemplifying the power of technology and science in solving real-world fire and life safety problems. The award recipients, John Burge, Matthew Bonanni, Lily Hu, and Matthias Ihme, were honored for their dedication, curiosity, research advancing the field of fire science, and working to ensure that communities are better prepared to protect lives and property from the devastating impacts of wildfires.

Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal

The project on Validating Cleaning Procedures for Firefighter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was awarded the 2024 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal. This prestigious award recognizes a project completed in the previous year that best exemplifies the Research Foundation’s fire safety mission, commitment to tackling technical challenges, and collaboration on project execution.

This year’s winning project, funded by a Department of Homeland Security/FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant, focused on assisting the fire service in identifying persistent contaminants from the fireground and validating cleaning methods that effectively remove these contaminants. This critical research is aimed at protecting firefighter health and safety from the many dangerous substances they are exposed to on the fireground and at other emergency response scenes. The project was lauded for providing actionable insights and contributing important updates to NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.

The award recipients were Jeff Stull, Crystal Forester, Jay Tarley and Marni Schmid.

You can learn more about this year’s recipients by visiting the awards section of the NFPA website.

About the Author News

Content curated and written by Firehouse editorial staff, including Susan Nicol, Steven Shaw, Peter Matthews, Ryan Baker and Rich Dzierwa.

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