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Local Fire Marshal George Michehl & Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen Shine in National Spotlight at FRI

IAFC First Vice President and Palatine Rural Fire Protection District Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen (left) awards Buffalo Grove Fire Marshal George Michehl with the "Excellence in Fire & Life Safety Award."

In late August, over 14,000 members of the fire and emergency service converged upon the annual Fire-Rescue International (FRI) show in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to the hundreds of exhibits and educational sessions, various awards were announced to recognize outstanding members of the fire service. Local fire marshal from the Buffalo Grove Fire Department and executive director emeritus of the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association (IFIA), George Michehl, was one of those recognized.

Michehl was named recipient of the 2011 “Excellence in Fire & Life Safety Award” sponsored by the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs‘ (IAFC) Fire & Life Safety Section. The award honors those who have dedicated themselves to saving lives and property through the development of codes, fire-prevention practices and leadership techniques.

“George Michehl, through his service on the International Fire Code Council, which is now the Fire Service Membership Council, demonstrated his dedication to the development of fire prevention and building codes that ensure public and firefighter safety,” Code Council Chief Executive Officer Richard P. Weiland said. “He also is to be commended for his efforts that resulted in the Illinois General Assembly’s passage of fire-safe cigarettes legislation and the Greek Housing Fire Sprinkler Retrofit bill.”

Michehl also successfully advocated for regulations in Illinois to require residential fire sprinklers resulting in almost 70 ordinances. He currently is lobbying to ban novelty lighters. In 88 Illinois communities, his efforts are credited for zero square foot thresholds for commercial and multi-family fire sprinkler protection, more than any other state, according to Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NIFSAB) Executive Director Thomas Lia, who
nominated Michehl.

IAFC First Vice President and fire chief of Palatine Rural Fire Protection District, Hank Clemmensen, who worked with Fire Marshal Michehl and knew first-hand his strong commitment to fire prevention and public safety, writes “George Michehl is a fighter when it comes to improving public safety in Illinois; he’s been active at the state level on a wide range of fire safety issues for decades. I worked with George in the early 1970s when we both worked for the Glenbrook Fire Protection District (now the Glenview Fire Department). Although he stayed in Glenview and I moved on, we remained close friends through the years. As a second generation firefighter, George has that exceptional vision and dedication to the fire service, and a persevering commitment to see his vision become a reality.  It was an honor to be able to assist with the presentation of the Excellence in Fire & Life Safety award from the IAFC’s Fire & Life Safety Section and the
ICC.”

Clemmensen himself was also honored at FRI with his new IAFC title as First Vice President. It is the second position he holds as part of a four-year commitment to IAFC, which will lead to him becoming the president of IAFC in August 2012.

“We commend Chief Clemmensen for his momentous achievement,” says NIFSAB’s Lia. “He will be a great representative for the Illinois fire service — one of their own that they can call on for assistance.”

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