WASHINGTON – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, held a nomination hearing Wednesday morning for Ernest Mitchell, Jr., nominated to be head of the United States Fire Administration (USFA).

Mitchell is a former fire chief for the Morovia and Pasadena, California fire departments.  He also served for two years as president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, representing nearly 13,000 chiefs and emergency officers.

“Clearly, Chief Mitchell understands firefighting and the needs of firefighters, and I appreciate his willingness to take on another chapter in his life of public service.” Lieberman said. “The U.S. Fire Administration is an important national resource, helping to improve fire safety and provide essential training for fire fighters and others throughout the country.  Particularly in a climate where all agencies need to take a long hard look at what they can do to maximize efficiencies and make the most of fewer resources, Chief Mitchell’s experience will serve him well in the coming months and years, and I look forward to moving him through the Senate and into his new position as quickly as possible.”

Collins said: “The Fire Administrator is the steward of our nations’ firefighters, and is responsible for research, data collection and analysis, and fire education initiatives.  The position plays an important role in the professional development of fire services personnel through the National Fire Academy, by providing courses in Fire Prevention Management, Hazardous Materials, Incident Management, and Arson, as well as many other critical subjects.  I appreciated hearing Chief Mitchell’s vision for the U.S. Fire Administration and how he will build upon the good work that has been done.”

 The USFA collects, analyzes and disseminates data on fires and emergency situations, in addition to training mid-and senior-level officers both at the National Fire Academy and online.  The USFA also assists the Federal Emergency Management Agency in administering the Assistance to Firefighter Grants and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program.