This month’s luncheon seminar was held on January 11, 2016, at the Haymarket Pub & Brewery, located at 737 W. Randolph Street in Chicago. The food was good and the atmosphere was festive, with a turnout over 30. Scholarship awards were announced.

The Lew Freeman award was presented by David Grupp to Ed Prendergast (see photo), currently a consultant and former head engineer of the Chicago Fire Prevention. The Lew Freeman Service Award, named after one of the Chapter founding members, is presented to a member who has rendered long and extraordinary service to the Chapter. Ed is a past Finnegan award recipient and has been an integral part of the Chicago SFPE for many years, serving on the board and helping with organizing chapter events, and doing presentations for the chapter. He is also a dedicated fire buff, who loves to drive to live fire scenes where he observes and takes photos. We are extremely grateful for him and all of the help he has given to the chapter over the years!
The Joseph Finnegan award was presented by Joseph Talbert to William Stelter (see photo), president of Master Control Systems, a manufacturer of fire pump controllers. The Joseph B. Finnegan Award, named in honor of the long- time head of the fire protection engineering curriculum at Armour Institute and Illinois Institute of Technology, is presented to a person in the Chicago metropolitan area in recognition of outstanding contributions or long devoted service to the field of fire protection engineering. Bill is a past chapter president and a past Freeman award recipient. He has been involved in numerous chapter activities throughout the years, particularly with his work in founding the annual IFPA/SFPE Combined Fire Protection product show. Thanks to Bill for all his support and congratulations!

Jessica Hubert , a fire protection engineer consultant and past chapter secretary and program coordinator, gave an eye-opening presentation on “Disability and Evacuation”. Jessica is a member of the Disability Access Review and Advisory Committee (DARAC) for NFPA. The NFPA and fire protection engineers have traditionally considered disability in codes and evacuation as a given. We have accessible means of egress, areas of refuge and audible/visual alarms prescribed in our codes in order to address equal egress for persons with disability. However, there is not one first-responder with evacuation responsibilities in their job description. While we do account for accessibility, the responsibility of evacuation is in the hands of those with disabilities to evacuate and be responsible for themselves. The disturbing reality is that we do not have enough first responders to accommodate the societal expectation for rescue. The next best thing is to educate those with disabilities and those without – because all of us will, at some point in our lives, be temporarily or permanently disabled.

A copy of the presentation can be found here: Disability Presentation for Chicago SFPE 1.11.16

~Submitted by K. Mniszewski, photos by Kelly Opert