• P.O. Drawer 76, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
  • (916) 667-1313

Dennis Compton

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Served as the Fire Chief of the Mesa, Arizona Fire Department for more than five years (May 1997 – October 2002). Mesa was a 500 member fire department and became fully accredited in 2001 during my tenure as Fire Chief. In addition to my role as Fire Chief, I was responsible for City-wide Emergency Management. Member of the Phoenix, Arizona Fire Department for almost twenty-seven years (1971-1997). I promoted through the ranks to Assistant Fire Chief, where I managed major Divisions of the department for fifteen years. Phoenix was a 1,450 member fire department. Served in command of the Phoenix FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team that was deployed to incidents attracting worldwide attention, including the Northridge earthquake in California and the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. I also worked at the Pentagon and World Trade Center scenes in the days and weeks immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Co-owner (with my spouse) of Dennis Compton & Associates and S&D Products and Services. Invited speaker at many national and international conferences, the National Fire Academy, as well as accredited management and leadership courses at many universities and symposia. Past Program Chair of Fire Science at Phoenix College and instructor in the program for 20 years. Served with many national, state, and local organizations as an executive advisor, strategist, facilitator, instructor, speaker, consultant, and industry leader in the public and non-profit sectors. Worked with the City of New Orleans Fire Department on a small FEMA sponsored panel in 2005 that assisted with the development of a strategic plan to rebuild the fire department and fire protection systems in the city following Hurricane Katrina. Led a 2006 City of Phoenix task force consisting of approximately twenty-six city departments to develop city-wide operational plans for specific areas of disaster response.

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management from the University of Phoenix. Associate of Arts Degree in Fire Science from Phoenix College. Past “Fellow” and continuing member of “Valley Leadership”. Past member of the President’s Commission on Excellence in Education at Mesa Community College. Served on the Advisory Board of the Arizona State University Fire Services Institute. Served on the Advisory Board for the Fire and Emergency Management Master’s Degree Program at Oklahoma State University.

Past Chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Board of Directors. Past Secretary of the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI). Past Chairman of the Home Safety Council (HSC) Board of Directors. Lifetime member and “Fellow” in the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE). Past Board Member and Vice President of the Arizona Burn Foundation. Past Chairman of the Executive Board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA). Past Chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Institute’s National Advisory Council (CFSI NAC) headquartered in Washington, D.C. I have also provided Congressional Testimony. Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Fire Service-Based Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Advocates Coalition based in Washington, DC. Past member of the Arizona State University Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security Advisory Council. Serve as an Expert Technical Advisor for the Fire Department Deployment and Staffing Research Studies being conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and other partners. Member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) since 1979, serving as a member of the NFPA Board of Directors and an Urban Fire Forum participant. Served on the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute Steering Council. Appointed to the National Blue Ribbon Panel in 1998 to assess and analyze the effectiveness of the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Academy. Facilitated the National Firefighter Line of Duty Death Summits in 2004 and 2007, the National Fire Service Research Agenda Summit in 2005, 2010, and 2015 – and the National Fire Service Data Summit in 2011. Provided oversight of the 2014 National Firefighter Line of Duty Death Summit (Tampa2). Past President of the Phoenix area Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Organization. Lifetime member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). Senior member of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association (Metro Chiefs). Past member of the Arizona Emergency Services Association (AESA). Past member of the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Society. Past President and member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit 100 Club of Arizona. Past member and Paul Harris Fellow of the Downtown Phoenix Rotary Club. Also worked with Rotary International to provide ambulances, medical supplies, fire apparatus, and equipment to cities in Mexico.

Author of the book titled Progressive Leadership Principles, Concepts, and Tools. Author of a three part series of books focusing on management and leadership titled When In Doubt, Lead! Author and Editor of many articles, chapters, and books for various publications.

George D. Post National Instructor of the Year by the ISFSI. Fire Service Person of the Year by the American Fire Sprinkler Association. University of Phoenix 2001 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. 2003 Mason Lankford National Fire Service Leadership Award presented by Motorola Solutions, Inc. and the CFSI in Washington, DC. 2007 Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association Lifetime Achievement Award. 2009 Arizona Fire Chiefs Association Lifetime Achievement Award. 2011 Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders. 2014 Dr. John Granito Award for Excellence in Fire Service Leadership and Management Research presented by the IFSTA, FPP, and Oklahoma State University. 2016 IAFC EMS Section James O. Page EMS Achievement Award. 2018 into the Firehouse Legends and Icons National Hall of Fame. Inducted as a Charter Member of the Arizona Fire Service Hall of Fame in 1998. 2019 (IAFC) President’s Award recognizing significant national fire service accomplishments throughout my career.

Dennis Compton

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Contact Info

  • The National Fire Heritage Center
  • Physical Address: 17701 Creamery Road, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
    Mailing Address: P.O. Drawer 76, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
  • Phone: (916) 667-1313