A member of the Los Angeles Fire Department received this year’s California State Firefighters Association Training Officer of the Year Award on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. Captain II Jack Fry was acknowledged and received this year’s honor. The award was presented at the Fire Service Appreciation Night on the U.S.S. Midway as part of the Firehouse World Conference in San Diego. It’s a great tribute and shows the pride and respect Captain Fry has earned for his continual efforts in the areas of hazardous materials and homeland security.
Dedication and Determination
Jack Fry is one of the most giving and caring firefighters in the fire service, having touched the lives of so many people across the state of California. His impact has been far reaching, extending well beyond his LAFD roots. His influence and inspiration has reached thousands of firefighters and fellow first responders from San Diego to the Oregon border. He has mentored and instructed thousands of first responders, military personnel, college students, and career firefighters for more than three decades of service and dedication.
Jack is a current member of FIRESCOPE which is a program intended to complete the legislative attempt to unify various fire agencies together into one voice and direction. This is where Jack devotes a great deal of time and energy. The synergy created by these diverse fire agencies truly provides valuable input to the Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) in addressing the future of fire/rescue services in California and assures excellent representation for the continued development of FIRESCOPE products.
Jack’s recent work in this arena includes being Chair of the FIRESCOPE Hazmat Committee and the National Team Typing Committee. His efforts in resource typing helped to enhance emergency readiness and response at all levels of government. His efforts, especially as Chair, helped to facilitate an already overwhelmed jurisdiction to augment its response resources during an incident. This experience helped Jack enhance critical firefighter safety issues statewide.
Effectiveness and Leadership
Jack has over 33 years of service with the LAFD and has been a captain for more than 21 years. He has held the ranks of Firefighter Paramedic, Captain I, and Captain II, working throughout the city on various assignments and details.
Fry’s current assignment takes him into the world of intelligence. He is assigned to the Joint Regional Intelligence Center located in Norwalk, California. This assignment requires him to develop, maintain, coordinate and train members for all fire, public health, law enforcement, and non-government organizations in seven counties on the Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) Program. This involves effectively training and sharing information with first responders within a seven county region which includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange. Jack’s focus is on safety, while developing guidelines for State, local and private organizations.
Jack has actively sought out extra responsibilities that not only impact the LAFD but other fire agencies as well. For instance, in May 2011, Jack’s experience and skills as an instructor were requested when a Military Tanker Boeing 707 crashed and slid off the runway in Point Mugu. The aircraft was carrying 150,000 pounds of fuel – turning the emergency response into a large scale hazardous materials incident. Jack just happened to be returning from a teaching assignment in Northern California and was contacted by his professional colleagues outside the fire department asking for his advice on how to off load the remaining fuel in the swamp like terrain. Jack spent the next two days, without compensation, assisting with the unique, multifaceted, difficult, and hazardous off-loading operation.
On several occasions the United States Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton has asked Jack to provide training for their military personnel prior to being deployed overseas. Due to budgetary issues and time constraints, Jack made arrangements to provide training to the military at his own expense. This required putting together a cadre of specially trained volunteers who would donate their time, equipment, and materials to ensure the military members got trained prior to deployment.
This training focused on hazardous materials which, because of their chemical, physical, or biological nature, pose a potential risk to life, health, or property when released. Based on the threat, Jack thought he would do whatever he could to ensure the military was prepared to handle consequence management due to terrorism based hazardous materials incident.
The economic climate and challenging times for our public education prompted Jack to run for the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District Board of Education. His appointment to the Board provided him with the opportunity to confront the tough challenges the school system faced. By working collegially to overcome some dynamic obstacles, Jack drew upon his teaching background, harnessing his incident command abilities, to establish some common goals and set forth a strategy to transform an educational vision into reality.
Jack has distinguished himself in the area of training and education because he is excited and passionate about safety. He has completed numerous State Fire Marshal, Hazardous Materials, and Terrorism courses to enhance his skills in organizational leadership. He is currently the lead hazardous materials instructor for the California Specialized Training Institute responsible for all the hazmat specialists series courses for the past six years.
Several years ago, Jack was recognized as the “Hazardous Materials Instructor of the Year” for his continued efforts training fire service, military, and private sector personnel. Each year the hazardous materials community recognizes a fire instructor whose acts and deeds as an instructor serve as an example to the profession, their department, their community and their peers alike. Jack is known for his ongoing commitment to the fire service and hazardous materials field by teaching and encouraging others to progress and to pursue excellence. Jack has played a key role in creating and promoting innovations in hazardous materials training, homeland security through his terrorism course development, and with his FIRESCOPE efforts supporting and educating first responders.
For Jack’s ongoing and continued efforts, he is a worthy recipient of the CSFA 12th Annual Training Officer of the Year Award. He has a positive image that has been acknowledged throughout the state of California for his innovative teaching style, outstanding performance, and his effectiveness as an instructor. His attention to detail, mentoring ability, and teaching expertise demonstrates his commitment to the fire service, to the community, and to the students, putting him in an elite class of professionalism. The LAFD is proud to recognize and honor his devotion and teaching performance during the past 33 years.
By Robert Nelson, B/C