Rich Duffy, Renowned Firefighter Safety Expert
Sources report that Rich Duffy, the man who created modern safety and health at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) will leave the union at the end of 2012.
Duffy has been at the IAFF for over 33 years and has been instrumental in every advance in firefighter safety during that time. He has been the “safety guru” for four IAFF General Presidents beginning with the legendary William “Howie” McClennan. In addition, he is an authority on firefighter line-of-duty deaths having assisted dozens of IAFF locals after catastrophic events such as NY after 9/11 and Worcester, MA.
No information was immediately available on his decision to leave though it is thought that the Union’s safety and health program will likely be in dis-array for sometime as any replacement would lack Duffy’s extensive institutional knowledge and contacts.
Among Duffy’s widely known and respected accomplishments, as noted on Drexel.edu:
He has been involved in numerous committees involving fire fighters’ and other workers’ safety and health, including those of the federal government, state governments, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization.
He has authored numerous books, manuals and articles on worker occupational health and safety issues.
Duffy has been actively involved in addressing protective clothing and equipment for workers. He served as the Chairman of the NFPA Technical Correlating Committee for Fire Service Protective Clothing and Equipment and as the Secretary of the NFPA Technical Committee for Career Fire Service Deployment and Organization.
He also served as a member on the NFPA Fire Service Occupational Safety and Health Committee and the NFPA Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials Response Personnel.
He also directed the NASA/FEMA program Project FIRES (Firefighters Integrated Response Equipment System), which under the auspices of the IAFF continues to work towards the development of state-of-the-art protective clothing and equipment, including the management of the new IAFF initiative Project HEROES (Homeland Emergency Response Operational and Equipment Systems) and the new IAFF initiative addressing light weight pressure vessels for SCBAs.
He is responsible for the coordination and technical aspects of the IAFF/IAFC Joint Wellness/Fitness Initiative for Fire Fighters, including the Wellness-Fitness Program, the Candidate Physical Ability Test Program, the Peer Fitness Trainer Certification Program and the recently released Fire Ground Survival Program.
He has been directly responsible for IAFF efforts in addressing infectious diseases, including pandemic flu and proper personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations.
Duffy follows Ron Kuley who left recently after revamping the IAFF Muscular Dystrophy Charity effort and serving as its operations manager for over a decade. Kuley was responsible for the IAFF raising record sums during his tenure.
While staff turnover is normal, especially in the latter stages of a presidential administration, such losses can be substantial and difficult to overcome.