National Fire Academy Grads


Chiefs Martin & DiCristofalo

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department (FMBFD) recognized two of its own at the monthly Board of Fire Commissioners meeting in Town Council Chambers on Wednesday evening, August 28. Ron Martin, Executive Assistant Fire Chief of Life Safety & Support Services, and Vincent DiCristofalo, Assistant Chief of Training, Education & Safety, recently received their degrees from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. Vice Chair Ron Fleming ran the meeting, with Chair Larry Wood on an excused absence, with Commissioners John Bennett, Jacki Liszak, and Bob Raymond composing a quorum.

“We are here tonight to celebrate the major achievements of Chief Ron Martin and Chief Vincent DiCristofalo, for their graduation from the Executive Fire Officer Program from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland,” said FMBFD Chief Matthew Love. “The United States Fire Administration is an entity of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the mission to provide national leadership, to foster a solid foundation for our fire and emergency services stakeholders in prevention, preparedness, and response.”

Chief Love explained, “The National Fire Academy is a state-of-the-art training facility developed by the Fire Administration to educate and train fire service leaders, with the Academy serving as a large, full-service university-type facility. The Executive Fire Officer Program is the National Fire Academy’s top program for executives of Fire & Emergency Services. It entails prerequisites such as college degree requirements, chief officer status, and a lengthy and multi-phase application and selection process. Throughout its variations, the Executive Fire Office Program encompasses as many as four years of course work, bringing students back to the National Fire Academy several times over the course of those years to complete classroom activities, required extensive pre-course work and case studies, and finally the completion of a required six-month applied research project each year.”

Each year in the program Chiefs DiCristofalo and Martin completed an Applied Research Project, similar to a Thesis Project, evaluated by the National Fire Academy Staff, reviewed by a contract evaluator, that they then defended before members of the United States Fire Administration. Chief Martin’s topics included “Firefighter Suicide Prevention,” “Elderly Fire Safety & Abuse Prevention” and “Fire Executive Health & Wellness.” Chief DiCristofalo examined “Professional Development for Administrative Staff Positions,” “Preparing Chief Officers for Emergency Management Roles” and “Annual Training Development for the FMBFD.”

“What this means is clear,” emphasized Chief Love. “The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department will not only benefit from their education, but we have in-depth studies on operations with the department. Not only do we now have the ability to use this, but fire services around the nation as a whole will benefit from these studies done on behalf of these Chiefs and the FMBFD. Theirs were long journeys, and each Chief has a lot of years left in their careers to use these skills. I am proud and humbled to have such well-educated and critical thinking members on our team!”

Chief Love then presented Chief DiCristofalo and Chief Martin with their Executive Fire Officer Diplomas as well as awarding each with their Executive Fire Officer pin. Commissioner Fleming, himself a retired Ohio firefighter, added, “I am personally acquainted with the National Fire Academy, and can attest that your achievements are not only difficult, but prestigious, as this institution is the equivalent to what the FBI Academy is for law enforcement officers. Congratulations on your accomplishments and we are honored to have you as members of the Fort Myers Beach community!”

Rock Star, Budgets, Storm Prep

During the Fire Chief’s Report, Love stated that Deputy Fire Marshall Jennifer Campbell received the department’s new “Rock Star Award” for her expertise in Plan Review and other duties within the Life Safety Division. He welcomed to the Fire Department Colleen Brooks as the new Human Resource & Payroll Assistant.

The Fire Department has prepared a 2019/2020 Hurricane Preparedness Guide that is available on their website at

The FMBFD’s Preliminary Budget Hearing will be Thursday, September 12, at the Beach Library at 5:15 p.m.; their Final Budget Hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25, in Town Hall at 5:15 p.m., with its September Board Meeting to follow at 6 p.m.


By Gary Mooney