The Fire Department Safety Officers Association was established in 1989 as a non-profit Association, incorporated in Massachusetts. In 2013, the offices moved to Michigan. Its mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community. The Association is led by a volunteer Board of Directors and has a small staff to handle the day to day operations. It is the Association dedicated to the issues that affect your critical role as Safety Officer in protecting and promoting the safety and health responsibilities you have to your department, your community and yourself. In fact, so critical is the role of the Safety Officer in every department in the country, that in a very short time in order to be a qualified Safety Officer, certification may be required. FDSOA works to help you achieve proficiency, promote the recognition of your skills and secure your future.
Champion and influence safety practices and standards for all emergency responders by providing education, certification, and networking for safety officers.
Be the premier provider of professional development for safety officers.
Jeffrey Merryman, Chairman
Term: Jan 2019-Jan 2022
Jeff Merryman is a 33-year veteran of the Alexandria, Virginia Fire Department, currently serving as the Deputy Chief of Health, Safety and Risk Management. Chief Merryman began his fire service career as a volunteer with the Uniontown, Pennsylvania Volunteer Fire Department in 1981 before joining the ranks of the Alexandria Fire Department in January of 1986.
Chief Merryman has served in the departments Health, Safety and Risk Management section since 2008. In 2011, he was tapped to lead that section and has served in that capacity ever since. In 2014, Chief Merryman received the Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety award from the Northern Virginia EMS Council; in 2015 the Alexandria Fire Department received the Best Practices in Fire Service Health and Safety award from the Virginia Fire Chiefs Foundation; in 2017, Chief Merryman received the Alan Brunacini Fire Service Executive Safety Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs- Safety, Health and Survival section.
Chief Merryman has been educated in Occupational Health and Safety through Columbia Southern University and currently serves an ISO and HSO instructor for the FDSOA. Chief Merryman holds both a Pro Board certification via the FDSOA for Incident Safety Officer and Health & Safety Officer. Chief Merryman is an accomplished, service-oriented professional with experience across positions covering the full scope of firefighting and fire department administrative services. Offering a history of progressive responsibilities encompassing everything from direct, frontline emergency action to overarching health, safety, and risk management program development. Committed to the values of the FDSOA, as well as to the higher calling of the profession itself—working to reflect the values, diversity, and priorities of the membership.
Eric Valliere, Vice Chair
Term: Jan 2019-Jan 2022
Eric Valliere has been an active member of the Fire Service for the past 27 years. He started as a Firefighter with the Mesa Fire Department (AZ) in 1991 and came to the Scottsdale Fire Department (AZ) (SFD) as a Battalion Chief in 2005 – when the department was transitioning to a municipal organization. During his career he has held the ranks of Firefighter, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Fire Chief, and currently holds the rank of Assistant Fire Chief. He has been serving on the FDSOA Board as a Western Director since 2013, before taking his new position as the Vice Chair.
Assistant Fire Chief Valliere has worked in all areas of the Fire Department to include; Fire Operations and Safety, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Training, Professional Standards/Personnel, Resource Management, and Prevention/Fire Plans Review. He has a BS in Business Administration and Finance from Columbia Southern University, an AA in Business Administration and an AAS in Fire Science from Mesa Community College. In addition to his other certifications and training, Chief Valliere has been an FDSOA ProBoard nationally certified Incident Safety Officer since 2004.
He is very active in regional committees and Fire Department Labor-Management Teams. Currently, Chief Valliere is the Chair of the Phoenix Regional Valley Safety Officers (VSO) Committee, and the past East Valley Chair of the Regional Operations Consistency Committee (ROCC) within the Central Arizona Life Safety Council. Additionally, he is an AZ State Advocate for the NFFF.
Chief Valliere has a passion for safety and strives to strengthen the safety culture within his organization, the state of Arizona and the Phoenix Regional Dispatch System through the VSO Committee, and nationally by promoting the FDSOA’s and NFFF’s mission. He feels it is critically important to: promote the 16 FF Safety Initiatives at the local and national levels, promote new and innovative ways to deliver safety education and information, and build a consistent and sustainable safety culture nationally.
Mike Richardson, Eastern Director
Term: Jan 2017-Jan 2020
Mike Richardson has 33 years of experience, with 8 years of military service, and 25 years in public safety. Over those 25 years in public safety, he worked in both volunteer and career positions for a number of Fire and Law Enforcement agencies in the states of Florida, Kentucky, and New York. He currently serves as the Division Chief of Training & Safety for the St Matthews FD in Louisville, KY.
Chief Richardson’s higher education includes an AS in Fire Science & Technology from Corning Community College New York, a BS in Fire & Safety Engineering, and a MS in Loss Prevention & Safety both from Eastern KY University. He also holds a Pro Board certification via the FDSOA for Incident Safety Officer and Health & Safety Officer.
During the past 15 years he has focused on improving firefighter safety and health at the local, state, and national level to include:
- Serving as an Instructor/ Lecturer in the US at FDIC, Firehouse Expo, Fire-Rescue International, and in Europe at Interschutz. He has had the privilege to instruct students in 39 states and 8 countries.
- Authoring numerous articles for publications to include Fire Engineering, Firehouse, Fire Rescue, Fire Chief, and the FDSOA Newsletter.
- Developing new thermal imaging training programs to include Thermal Imaging for Haz Mat Response, Thermal Imaging and Modern Fire Behavior, and Effective Thermal Imaging Training Programs.
- Developing new training programs for FDSOA to include Improving Firefighter Safety with Thermal Imaging, Thermal Imaging for ISOs, and “The 5 Reads”.
Michael Johnson, Eastern Director
Term: Jan 2019-Jan 2021
Mike started his fire service career as a volunteer Firefighter in Williamsport, MD in 1990, in which he served for 10 years. Starting in 1996 he spent seven years as a career Firefighter for the City of Martinsburg, WV Fire Department.
In 2003 he was hired by Loudoun County Fire and Rescue, VA, which is a large combination system that currently has 650 career employees and over 1,000 volunteer members. Since his hiring Mike has promoted through the ranks of Firefighter, Technician, Lieutenant, Captain and currently holds the rank of Battalion Chief.
Through his career in Loudoun County Mike has worked in various areas of the Department to include: Recruit Training, Operations, Hazardous Materials Response, Special Operations and is currently assigned as the Battalion Chief of the Office of Health, Safety and Wellness. He has a BS in Fire Science from Columbia Sothern University and has been an FDSOA ProBoard nationally certified Incident Safety Officer and Health and Safety Officer since 2016.
He is very active in various committees to include serving as the Chair of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue Systems Health, Safety and Wellness Committee, and a facilitator for the Department’s Vehicle Accident Review Committee. Additionally, he represents his Department on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Health and Safety Committee, which is composed of 17 jurisdictions in the Washington D.C. region.
Chief Johnson is proud to be a part of a successful combination system that focuses on the health, safety and wellness of its members. He looks forward to taking the successes of Loudoun County and using these to continue to strengthen the FDSOA and its mission.
Lance Vinson, Western Director
Term: Jan 2018-Jan 2021
Lance entered the Fire Service in 2001. At that time he was working for a large uniform delivery service company and decided to enroll in the local fire academy. During that year he became a member of a rural volunteer fire department. He was a member of the volunteer service for 7 years and served as an assist chief during that time. Following graduation from the fire academy Lance began his first career assignment working as a firefighter at a DOE facility. The work done at this nuclear weapons plant gave him a greater understanding of strong safety culture, and also yielded a firm understanding of the industrial fire service. He worked there until 2005. In April 2005 Lance lost one of his friends in a LODD from falling out of a moving apparatus while responding to a structure fire. Following that event, Lance left the DOE facility, and began working for the Amarillo Fire Department. He is currently serves as the Captain in charge of the Safety program, with close to 14 years experience in his current city. Lance’s views on safety, tactics, culture and education continue to evolve; he strives to make positive impacts on today’s fire service.
Lance is married to an RN at a local trauma center, and they have two daughters. As a family they enjoy camping, hiking, and hunting. The Vinson family also loves baseball and travels to watch live games several times a year.
Scott Yurczyk, Western Director
Term: Jan 2019 -Jan 2020
Battalion Chief Scott Yurczyk has been a Health and Safety Officer for the Seattle Fire Department for the last three years of his 23 year career. Chief Yurczyk has worked throughout the city including two years in Fire Prevention.
Prior to his career in the fire service, Scott worked 10 years for the Boeing Company as a mechanical engineer traveling around the world teaching airline mechanics troubleshooting techniques on the 757 aircraft.
Scott lives just north of Seattle with his wife of 25 years and teenage daughter.
Terry Stewart, International Director
Term: Jan 2018 -Jan 2021
Terry Stewart is a 30 veteran in the Fire Services. Terry started with the Cayuga Volunteer Fire Department, Ontario, Canada in 1987, to the rank of Deputy Chief. In 1998 Terry joined Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services in Ontario, Canada. During his tenure with Mississauga Fire, Terry was a Fire Officer I, Instructor II, Pro Board-Certified Incident Safety Officer through FDSOA, Certified in teaching adults from Georgian College. Terry was elected to the FDSOA board in 2015 as the International Director and is currently in his second term. He has a strong understanding of the needs of Volunteers and Professional Fire Fighters. A Respectful Work Place, Fire Fighter Safety and well-maintained Apparatus and Equipment are his priorities. Terry is the PMR for the development of the new FDSOA Emergency Vehicle Technician program to be launched in 2019. However big or small, Volunteer or Professional, Terry commits himself to a Respectful and Safe work place.
Creating a Safety Culture is Priority One, so Everyone Goes Home
Doug Kelley – Corporate Director
Term: Appointed by FAMA and Board
Doug Kelley is the director of engineering and sales support for KME Fire Apparatus. He has been involved in the design and manufacturer of fire apparatus for over 20 years, including pumpers, tenders/tankers, rescues, and wildlands. He has worked closely with many large agencies to configure specialized units, including federal, state, and local departments from across the nation. He has been involved with FDSOA through the apparatus symposium for many years, including several times as a presenter. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy.
Richard “Rich” Maddox, Past – Chairman
Chairman Jan 2016 – Jan 2019
Rich began his fire service career in 1974 as a member of the Resolute Hose Company #1 of the Sayville Volunteer Fire Department. He served as Company Captain and Deputy Chief and since 1992 has served as the departments Safety Officer. Rich joined the FDSOA in 1993 and served on the Incident Scene Safety Officer Certification Committee and Seminar Committee. Rich served one three year term as Eastern Regional Director and a three year term as Vice Chairman. Rich is employed by the New York State Office of Mental Health as a Clinical Risk Management Specialist. He has an Associated Degree from SUNY Farmingdale in Applied Sciences a Bachelors Degree in Health Care Administration from Saint Josephs College, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from CW Post University Rich is currently attending CW Post University in their Masters Degree in Nursing Education program.
Subject Matter Expert – NonVoting Board Member
Chief Brian Brown (Retired) is a Colorado native and has been in the fire service, for one department, for 30+ years. Brian did oversee the Fleet Services Bureau’s purchasing, liquidation with quality maintenance and annual inspection service for not only South Metro Fire Rescue’s fleet of vehicles and equipment and has established the Fleet Services Bureau as an authorized service center for multiple emergency vehicle and product manufacturers. He also chaired the Authorities Apparatus Committee and teaches the fire apparatus maintenance and fire pump theory and operation classes for various associations and agencies. Brian is also an academy instructor for the Colorado Fire Mechanics Associations Annual Fire Pump Theory and Accessories 36-hour class, has and contributes to Fire House and Fire Apparatus Magazine. He is also an EVT Testing Proctor and a participant of the EVT Validation Committee and performs fleet analysis and consulting when called upon.
Rich Marinucci – FDSOA Executive Director
Rich Marinucci – Fire Chief, Retired
Chief Richard Marinucci has over 39 years of experience in the fire service. He served nearly 25 years as the Fire Chief of Farmington Hills. He was also Chief of Northville Township for 7.5 years. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association. Chief Marinucci is a Past President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and served as Acting Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Fire Administration. He was the national program manager for the Everyone Goes Home program of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation from 2008 – 2011
Linda Stone and Kathy Whitehead