WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Wednesday heard testimony from Kelvin J. Cochran, nominee to be Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration. Cochran is currently Chief of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and previously served as Chief of the Shreveport, La., Fire Department.
“Chief Cochran is a very impressive nominee and I have confidence in his capacity to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration,” Lieberman said. “The U.S. Fire Administration is an important resource for fire departments across the country and serves a unique role within FEMA, DHS, and the federal government. Chief Cochran is an outstanding candidate to lead it.”
Collins told the nominee that one of her top priorities is ensuring workable, interoperable emergency communications, which would allow fire fighters, police and medical officials to communicate with one another during an unfolding emergency. Currently, she said, first-responders find it difficult to communicate with each other in real time, on demand, during a crisis. “We have made progress in the area of interoperable emergency communications,” she said. “Senator Lieberman and I have passed legislation to increase funding, accelerate the development of technology standards and emphasize solutions to non-technological barriers, such as the absence of governing agreements and standard operating procedures. But more work must be done.” Cochran pledged to make this a top concern if he is confirmed.
The Committee must still vote on Cochran’s nomination before it can go before the full Senate for final approval.