The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA) National Fire Academy (NFA) announced that Hickory Battalion Chief Matthew Hutchinson successfully completed the Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP).
"The intensive EFOP is designed to provide senior fire officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire administration," according to Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Dr Denis Onieal. "This program provides executive fire service officers with the expertise they need to succeed in today's challenging environment." Dr. Onieal also stated, "It is important that these senior fire executives apply what they have learned in the classroom to existing situations in their own communities. This makes completion of the EFOP and the Applied Research Projects particularly valuable to these fire service leaders."
Hickory Fire Chief Fred Hollar stated "We are very proud of Chief Hutchinson for being chosen for this program and completing it. He is to be commended for a job well done."
Six months after completion of each of the courses, the EFOP participants were required to complete an ARP in their own organization. The required executive-level courses are: Executive Development, Analysis of Community Risk Reduction, Analysis of Fire Service Operations in Emergency Management and Executive Leadership. For his projects, Battalion Chief Hutchinson conducted research that focused on strategic planning, risk hazard assessments utilizing GIS, the effectiveness of health and wellness programs, and program initiatives that provide guidance for mental health in the fire service.
Battalion Chief Hutchinson stated "Access to the National Fire Academy is a tremendous asset to the fire service. The networks that are established with other fire service members cannot be overlooked in gaining valuable insight to new approaches to recurring issues. I had the privilege to meet other fire service personnel from all over the continental United States, Hawaii, and even Australia. I encourage all of my fellow employees to review course offerings and take advantage of this incredible learning resource."
Hutchinson continued "The ability to take two weeks per session for this intensive training could not have happened without the support of the current and past fire administrations. Both Chief Hollar and former Chief Tom Alexander were instrumental in realizing the value of the Executive Officer Program for the benefits it provides through research into initiatives that give back to the citizens of Hickory. Providing these opportunities for employees helps build the fire department's future."
Matt Hutchinson has been employed since May 1, 2003 and has served as Battalion Chief for eight years. He also holds a Master's in Public Administration and has North Carolina Fire Officer I, II, & III certifications. He is currently in the Fire and Life Safety Division. He lives in Caldwell County with his wife, Millie and two children, Rebecca and Matthew.