MCFRS News Release

Vision 20/20 Meeting About Fire-Loss Prevention Strategies

Unprecedented gathering of over 170 experts from across the country to meet in Washington, DC, to develop a national strategy for fire loss prevention

Representatives from most Washington, D.C. area fire departments, including the Montgomery County (Maryland) Fire and Rescue Service will take part in national forum.

Fire safety experts from across the nation will convene in Washington, DC, on March 31 and April 1, 2008, to develop a national strategic agenda to reduce the loss of life and property from fire, which claims an average of almost 4,000 lives and $12.7 billion in property damage each year.  This meeting is a key part of a year-long project and Division Chief and County Fire Marshal Mike Love, and others from the Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Service will be taking part in this landmark meeting.

"This project is unprecedented in scope and depth," said project manager Jim Crawford, fire marshal for the city of Vancouver, Washington.  "We have assembled an incredible array of experts from a diversity of fields to help craft a national plan to reduce the loss of life and property from fire.  Through our collective efforts we will develop strategies that will save lives, now and for the future."

Funded through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program awarded to the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) - USA Branch, attendees at the Washington forum will include experts from across the United States as well as IFE representatives from Australia and England which have innovative and cutting-edge programs that have significantly reduced fire deaths up to 50%.  Presentations on international practices will be given by the head of community services for the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Services in the United Kingdom and the chief executive officer for the Country Fire Authority in Australia.

At the conclusion of the Forum, Bonnie Woodruff will speak about the vital importance of improving fire safety across the nation.  In 1995, Mrs. Woodruff's only son, Ben, was killed in a fraternity fire at the University of North Carolina on graduation day and Mother's Day.  Since that time she has become an outspoken advocate for fire safety, most recently joining with other mothers who have lost children in campus fires in the Common Voices coalition.

Montgomery County (MD) Division Chief Mike Love says, “Vision 20/20 is a strategic look 15 to 20 years in the future to identify priorities to reduce fire risk and increase the effectiveness of Fire Loss Prevention. There are many hundreds of past recommendations that have for one reason or another been deferred. We want to look at these previous recommendations to see if we can take advantage of unfulfilled historical planning.” He adds, “This forum has invited all of the stakeholders of fire loss prevention with goal of inclusive and partnered action to reducing America's fire risk.”

ll events and activities for the Vision 20/20 project will take place at The Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, District of Columbia.

Vision 20/20 is a project funded by the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grants program.  More information is available at