Who We Are

Chief Billy Goldfeder, EFO, a firefighter since 1973, serves as a Deputy Fire Chief of the Loveland-Symmes FD in S.W. Ohio. LSFD is an ISO Class 1, fire & EMS accredited full service ALS department providing a full range of traditional and non-traditional emergency & community services. A Chief Officer since 1982, he has served as a Fire Chief in Ohio, Virginia and Florida. Chief Goldfeder also served as a Public Protection representative covering southern New York, for I.S.O. as well as a Company Officer, starting with the Manhasset-Lakeville F.D., in Long Island, N.Y.

A 1993 graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, he is the former Chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs VCOS Comm.  In 2001, Chief Goldfeder was honored with an appointment of Hon. Battalion Chief of F.D.N.Y. and is a member of the Board of Directors of: The International Association of Fire Chiefs, The September 11th Families Association,  The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and is a subject matter expert for the CDC NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program.

A 1993 graduate of the National Fire Academy’sExecutive Fire Officer Program, he is the former Chair of the InternationalAssociation of Fire Chiefs VCOS Comm.  In2001, Chief Goldfeder was honored with an appointment of Hon. Battalion Chief of the F.D.N.Y. and is a member of the Board of Directors of: The International Association of Fire Chiefs, The September 11th Families Association,  The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and is a subject matter expert for the Federal CDC NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program.

Goldfeder is the recipient of numerous operational and administrative awards and recognitions including most recently the Loveland-Symmes FD Departmental Award Of Excellence in 2003 and 2010, the Int’l Assoc. of Fire Service Instructors Fire Instructor of The Year Award for 2004, the Dana Hannon Fire Training Award For 2004,  the Int’l Assoc. of Fire Chiefs Presidential Award for 2005, the 2007 (IFSTA) Int’l Fire ServiceTraining Assoc’s Everett E. Hudiburg Memorial Award for Firefighter Training Excellence, the 2007 Nassau County (N.Y.) Frances X. Pendl Fire Service Humanitarian Award, the 2008 Firefighter Cancer Support Network Dallas Jones Memorial Award, an IAFC Exemplary Service Award in 2013 and in 2008, the Annual Chief Billy Goldfeder Fire Service Organizational Safety Award was named and created through the IAFC and isco-sponsored by VFIS. In 2015, Goldfeder was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Loveland City Council and the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department. In 2018 Goldfeder received the Chief Tom Brennan Fire Engineering LifetimeAchievement Award at the Fire Department Instructors Conference. In 2021,Goldfeder was the recipient of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award.

Chief Goldfeder completed a 6 year term limit as a Commissioner on the Commission of Fire Accreditation International (CPSE) and he serves as an Associate/ContributingEditor for FIRE ENGINEERING, FIRE RESCUE, FIREHOUSE Magazines (including several regional fire publications) as well as a news editorial columnist for Fire Engineering.com, FireRescue1.com and Firehouse.Com. He has spoken on, as well as published,numerous articles on subjects such as fire service risk management, leading combination FD’s, fire command and tactics, communications, firefighter/fireground safety,apparatus design/deployment and fireground staffing. His monthly columns”Close Calls” appears in FIREHOUSE Magazine and “Nozzlehead” appears in Fire Rescue Magazine- FireFighterNation.com.

ChiefGoldfeder has served on several NFPA and IAFC Committees, was Chair of the Int’l Assoc. of Fire Chiefs Safety, Health and Survival Section for a decade and also serves on the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting Task Force Board (IAFC). He is and has been an Instructor at all national fire service training conferences including IAFC’s Fire-Rescue International, Firehouse Expo, Firehouse World, FD Safety Officers Association, the FDNY Fire Officers Management Institute (F.O.M.I.) and at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (F.D.I.C.), where he has instructed for the past 39 years as well as serving as a member of the FDIC Advisory Board. He has and does provide consulting services for municipal and private corporations with an exclusive focus on firefighter safety and survival.

His Best-selling book “PASS IT ON…What We Know-What We Want You To Know” is a compilation of stories from 100 fire service contributors sharing their life experiences. 100% of Goldfeder’s royalties are being donated to the Nat’l Fallen FF Foundation and the Chief Ray Downey Scholarship Fund. In the Spring of 2016, his second book, “Pass it On…The 2nd Alarm” was published by Pennwell/Fire Engineering, adding the Firefighter Cancer Support Network to the above two charities that will benefit from the sales. In 2019,his third “Pass It On-Making Good Progress” was published as part of the series, and continues to be a fire service best seller, raising funds for the above charities.

Chief Goldfeder, along with Commander Gordon Graham, police/fire service risk management expert, and attorney, hosts and sponsors the website: www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com , a100% non-commercial, independent and free site with only 1 focus:  Firefighter Safety, Survival and Getting Everyone Home. Both can be contacted via www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com.

Gordon Graham is the co-founder of www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com.

Gordon is a 40 year veteran of California Law Enforcement. His education as a Risk Manager and experience as a practicing Attorney, coupled with his extensive background in law enforcement, have allowed him to rapidly become recognized as a leading professional speaker in both private and public sector organizations with multiple areas of expertise.

In 1973 Gordon was selected as a candidate for the California Highway Patrol. Thereafter, he proudly served as a motorcycle officer for most of his first ten years in the Los Angeles area.  In addition to his patrol work, he helped design the first DUI task force, assisted in the development of the DRE (drug recognition program), was an instructor in the initial “Mod I and II” Haz Mat program, and wrote his first of many technical papers: “PCP–An Officer’s Survival Guide.”

Simultaneously he was furthering his formal education during his off hours. Spending two years at Long Beach State College under the tutelage of Dr. Richard Kaywood led to his receiving a Lifetime Teaching Credential.

Following this degree, he attended University of Southern California in their Institute of Safety and Systems Management.  He will quickly tell you that this was the best education he ever received from the best and the brightest people in the field.  His professors included Chaytor Mason, Ted Ferry, Bill Petak and Harry Hurt.  His relationship with Professor Hurt led to his being selected as a team member collecting data for The Hurt Report.  Published in 1980, this report on motorcycle fatalities was and is recognized as the single greatest treatise on motorcycle safety.

After completing his Masters, his off duty time was then spent at Western State University School of Law, where he was graduated in 1982 with his Juris Doctorate.  He passed the California Bar Exam the same year and opened his law offices in Hollywood, where he focused his efforts on family law, immigration and personal injury work.

In his law enforcement life, Gordon was promoted to Sergeant in 1982 and supervised his former unit–the motorcycle cops of his agency assigned to Los Angeles.  He and his fellow Sergeants on “B” shift stressed the values and beliefs and built the most productive team of motorcycle officers in the history of the department.

During this time period, he saw deficiencies in how officers were trained, and revolutionized law enforcement training in California with his SROVT program: Solid, Realistic, Ongoing, Verifiable, Training. This daily training bulletin concept resulted in his later being awarded the California Governor’s award for excellence in law enforcement training.

His personal life took a definite change for the better when he met his lovely bride, Reneé, and they were married in 1983. In 1992 Gordon was transferred to a staff position and assigned to headquarters where he continued his work in law enforcement training. He also sharpened his focus on how his education and training in systems and his legal background could work together to improve the quality of law enforcement operations by incorporating real risk management into police operations.

During this time window he commenced delivering his training programs to private sector organizations, including those involved in commercial real estate, hospital operations, manufacturing companies, aerospace operations, nuclear power plants, auto racing operations and many others.

He also expanded his efforts to assist other public safety organizations and in 2002 worked with Chief Billy Goldfeder to develop FireFighterCloseCalls.comwhich is now recognized as “the source” for information about fire fighter safety.  This effort led to his assisting the International Association of Fire Chiefs with a similar effort–and the development of their FireFighterNearMiss.com safety site.

In 2005 the International Association of Fire Chiefs awarded Gordon with the Presidential Award for Excellence for his lifelong work in improving firefighter safety and performance.

In 2002, along with Bruce Praet, Gordon became a founder of Lexipol–a company designed to standardize policy, procedure and training in public safety operations. Today, most of the law enforcement agencies in California are using the Lexipol Knowledge Management System and nearly half of the States are now using this approach to law enforcement operations. This effort has greatly improved the safety of police personnel while also influencing a dramatic reduction in claims, settlements and verdicts adverse to law enforcement agencies.

In 2006 the idea of a Lexipol fire related program was discussed by Gordon and after 10 years of intense research and development, the Lexipol FIRE program was born. Here is a short video about that:  https://lexipol.wistia.com/medias/debg1bshta

Gordon held his law enforcement headquarters assignment until his service retirement in 2006.  In 2008, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from California POST. In 2015, he received the Lifetime Dedication Award from the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute.

In 2018, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association gave Gordon two special honors before he took the stage at CFS for the fifth straight year. First, he was presented with an honorary NATCA membership that the 17th Biennial Convention voted last April in Philadelphia to bestow on him. Next, Gordon was given the James Oberstar Sentinel of Safety Award.

Today, Gordon divides his time between study, research, writing, speaking, and consulting in the discipline of risk management. His innovative programs, based on the values and beliefs he learned as a child along with a passion for continuous improvement, are the standard for any organization that wants to improve existing operations and prevent things from going wrong.

He and “Mrs. G” are the proud parents of two adult children–who hopefully will take the values and beliefs along with them in their personal and professional lives.  A resident of Southern California, he enjoys spending every possible moment with Mrs. G “cruising the coast” either in their vintage wooden boat or their wooden car and finding new adventures and new places to enjoy a great meal.

Brian P. Kazmierzak, EFO has a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration from Southern Illinois University and serves as the Director of Operations for www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com. Brian was the recipient of the 2006 F.O.O.L.S. International Dana Hannon Instructor of the Year Award, the 2008 Indiana Fire Chiefs Training Officer of the Year Award Recipient and the 2011 ISFSI/FDIC George D. Post Fire Instructor of the Year. In addition, Brian completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program in 2006 and is a CPSE credentialed Chief Training Officer. Brian was on the UL FSRI PPV Research Study Panel and the ISFSI/UL FSRI Basement Fire Tactics Study Panel.  Brian has been a student of the fire service since 1991 and has taught and consulted for small departments as well as departments as well as the Chicago and Washington DC Fire Departments.  Additionally, Brian serves as a subject matter expert for the NIOSH Firefighter Line of Duty Death program.

Forest Reeder began his fire service career in 1978.  He retired as Fire Chief of the Tinley Park Fire Department.  Forest is the Fire Officer 1 & 2 coordinator for the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and also serves as the Eastern Regional Director of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI).

Additionally, Forest is the author of the weekly drill feature at www.firefighterclosecalls.com and at www.fireengineering.com.  He has instructed at FDIC for over 10 years and trains both locally and nationally on fire service training, safety and officer development related topics.  Several articles on these programs have been published in major trade publications.  Forest is a Director with the Illinois Society of Fire Service Instructors and has served as President.  He is the co-author of Fire Service Instructor Principles and Practices 2nd edition published by Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Forest holds many Illinois fire service certifications including Fire Officer 3, Training Program Manager, and Fire Department Safety Officer.  He has an Associates of Applied Science Degree in Fire Science Technology, a Bachelors Degree in Fire Department Administration from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University.  He was awarded the George D. Post Instructor of the Year by the International Society of Fire Service Instructors at FDIC in 2008.

He serves Director of Operations for www.firefighterclosecalls.com where he runs the day to day operations of the leading fire service safety and training website along with publishing THE SECRET LIST and recently launched the website www.ModernFireBehavior.com with Firefighter Close Calls and the UL FSRI.  Brian was the recipient of the 2006 F.O.O.L.S. International Dana Hannon Instructor of the Year Award, the 2008 Indiana Fire Chiefs Training Officer of the Year Award Recipient and the 2011 Fire Engineering / ISFSI George D. Post International Fire Service Instructor of the Year Award at FDIC.  He is a member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, Indiana Fire Instructors Association, Michiana FOOLS and has served as a Peer Assessor and Team Leader for the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.  Brian is also a partner in the website www.TheTrainingOfficer.com as well as running his own company – KAZ-FIRE – Consulting, Simulation and Training. Brian is also a board member of the ISFSI serving as a Director at Large and serves as the Lead Author of the ISFSI Principles of Modern Fire Attack Program and is the lead instructor for that program. Brian also served on the UL FSRI PPV and Basement Fire Research Study Panels.

Barry Furey began his public safety career in 1970 and has served as Chief of the Valley Cottage New York, Deputy Chief of the Harvest Alabama, and Training Officer of the Savoy Illinois Fire Departments. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Safety (Human Services) from the State University of New York, as well as numerous professional certifications. As director of large consolidated dispatch centers in four different states, he has been involved in fire service communications as both a provider and an end user. His most recent assignment as Director of Communications for the Raleigh-Wake North Carolina 9-1-1 Center placed him in command of a facility that processed more than a million inbound and outbound telephone calls, and dispatched approximately one-half million incidents per year.

A Life and Senior Member of the Association of Public-safety Officials (APCO) International, and winner of their President’s Award, he has served on or chaired numerous committees, including the APCO Editorial advisory Board and the Social Media Sub-committee of the Emerging Technology Committee, and was founder of the APCO Homeland Security Task Force. Furey has published in several trade journals including Fire Engineering, Fire Command, Fire Service Digest, Fire Chief, Law and Order, CALEA Update, Mission Critical Communications, American City and County, and APCO Bulletin. He is currently a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine and former management columnist for 9-1-1 Magazine.com. He also authored the communications chapter for the 2003 release of The Fire Chief’s Handbook and 2014 release of the National EMS Management Association Managing Ambulance Services texts, and the book, Volunteer – 25 Years of Smoke and Sirens. In 2017 he was inducted into the Firehouse Magazine Hall of Fame.

He currently serves as CEO of Barry Furey Public Safety Consulting and Training Services (barryfurey.com) and can be reached at [email protected].

Rudy Horist began his fire service career in 1983 and currently is the Fire Chief for the McHenry Township Fire Protection District in McHenry, Illinois.

Rudy serves as a Director of the Illinois Society of Fire Service Instructors and has served as President. He is also a member of the Volunteer and Combination Officer committee of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

Rudy holds many Illinois Certifications including Fire Officer III and has a Bachelors Degree in Fire Department Administration from Southern Illinois University and a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer program.

Rudy is an instructor for the Illinois Society of Fire Service Instructors. He has also taught at FDIC, regional fire schools and throughout the state of Illinois. He is also a member of the FDIC Associate Advisory Board.

Ignatius Kapalczynski has a diversity of experience in all aspects of the fire protection profession.

He conducts evaluations of municipal fire service resource deployments and operations and serves as a technical consultant on building and fire code application to enforcement and design professionals.  He advises on the development of fire protection strategies and resolution of systems design issues.  He conducts seminars on emergency planning, code enforcement, public safety education, and assists fire departments undergoing grading and accreditation.

He teaches in the Fire Technology and Administration program of the Connecticut Community Colleges and serves on several NFPA Technical committees. He is the author and publisher of the American Fire Services directory and maintains the nation’s most complete database of public and private fire protection services.

He was a specialist surveyor evaluating fire safety, environment and disaster planning in health care facilities, prior to joining the Bureau of Engineering in the Connecticut Office of State Fire Marshal where he provided fire protection consultation to local fire marshals and design/construction professionals.

He served as a Firefighter/EMT-I in Prince George’s County, while studying fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland.

Chris Shimer retired from the Howard County, MD, Department of Fire & Rescue Services in 2008 after 29 years of service.  At the time of his retirement, Chris was the Deputy Chief of Training.  He also served as Deputy Chief of Emergency Medical Services during his tenure with the department.  Upon his retirement, Chris accepted a job as a contractor for the United States Marine Corps Fire & Emergency Services, a position he currently holds.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science from the University of Maryland University College and an Associate of Science degree in Nursing from the Catonsville Community College.  He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.  He maintains his license as a Paramedic in the State of Maryland and an inactive license as a registered nurse.

Chris has been involved in Firefighter Close Calls since 2006, when he began posting stories related to EMS.

Patrick Kenny, Chief Kenny has been a member of the fire service for over 33 years. He serves as a member of the Illinois Fire Chief’s Promotional Assessment Board and is a past president of the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association. Chief Kenny recently received the highest certification in the state of Illinois for a Chief Officer and is a current recipient of Chief Officer Designation by the International Fire Chiefs’ Association. He has articles published in the areas of leadership, fire safety, mental health and fire code challenges.

David T. Phelan is a certified fire investigator and fire protection specialist who previously served for 25 years with the Bergenfield NJ Fire Department and holds a ProBoard Fire Officer 2 certification.  He remains actively involved in code enforcement and the code development process serving on various NFPA committees.  Dave has taken his knowledge and practical experiences into the classroom and presented on a wide range of fire service and fire code topics which focus on the cause & effect relationship between fireground operations and the codes.  Through his post fire investigation experience and as a court recognized expert witness he is afforded the unique opportunity of presenting his topics with a greater understanding of the sequence of events which led to an incident failure and how similar outcomes can be avoided in the future.  As a part of the FFCC team Dave developed the concept for the Line of Duty Calendar and continues to research and update the database as both a memorial and learning tool for fireground safety.

Seth Barker is the Deputy Chief of Operations for the Big Sky Fire Department in Big Sky, MT. Chief Barker is a Logistical Coordinator for FireFighterCloseCalls.com and has contributed to the 13 Life Safety Initiatives for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.  He sits as the Vice-Chair for the Volunteer Combination Officer Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs Cancer Alliance Committee. Barker is one of the contributing authors for the Lavender Report issuing the 10 Best Practices of Cancer Prevention in the Fire Service.  He is a featured author in Fire Rescue Magazine over the past 4 years and delivers multiple courses on preplanning your community in an all hazard discipline environment.  Barker holds the Liver Fire Instructor certification and the Training Officer Credential through the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI). He is part of the curriculum development team that produced projects funded by the American Fire Grants with partnerships with Underwriters Laboratories and ISFSI that included Principals of Modern Fire Attack, Safe Law Enforcement Fire Ground Operations, and recently Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires. Barker is a Blue Card Instructor, has served as an instructor for the Montana State Fire Service Training School, and is a Modern Fire Behavior Instructor.  He serves as the 2ndVice President for the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.  Chief Barker holds the Fire Officer and Chief Training Officer Designation from the Center of Public Safety and Excellence. He recently received the Jim Blankenship Award from the Montana State Fire Chiefs Association for excellence in Fire Training.

Karl K. Thompson retired as the Fire Marshal for Pasco County (Florida) Fire Rescue. Previously, he was employed by the Florida Division of the State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire Prevention as the Chief Engineer responsible for managing the Plan Review and Construction section. He entered the fire service in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1972 as a volunteer firefighter and made it a career including 26 years with Brevard County Florida Fire Rescue. He has attained certification from the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office as a Fire Code Administrator, Fire Inspector II, Fire Investigator II, Fire Service Instructor III, Fire Officer II, and Firefighter II; and is certified by the International Code Council as a Building Inspector and Mechanical Inspector. Karl is recognized as a Certified Fire Protection Specialist by the National Fire Protection Association, is a Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers, and a Fellow with the Florida Fire Marshals’ and Inspectors’ Association. He serves on the National Fire Protection Association committees on Fire Officer Professional Qualifications (NFPA Standard 1021), Standard for Pre-Incident Planning (NFPA 1620) and Guide for the Evaluation of Fire Risk Assessments (NFPA 551).

JOSEPH KNITTER is a 40 year fire service veteran and is the retired Fire Chief of the South Milwaukee (WI) Fire Department, where he has served the past 36+ years. Chief Knitter has an AAS Degree in Fire Science, a BS Degree in Fire Service Management, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. He is also a State of WI Certified Fire Officer II, Fire Instructor II, and Fire Inspector and is a ProBoard Certified Safety Officer.  Chief Knitter teaches fire certification classes for Milwaukee Area Technical College; incident management for the State of Wisconsin, Division of Emergency Management; and lectures on various topics throughout the area and serves as a representative for the Wisconsin Technical College System Fire Service Training Office.

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