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Fire Chief, John Huff


In his current assignment as the Fire Chief, John Huff is responsible for all aspects of Lincoln Fire & Rescue.

On July 8, 2014 John was certified as a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) by the Commission on Professional Credentialing, becoming the first fire chief in the state of Nebraska to achieve the CFO designation.

John was appointed fire chief on August 29, 2012 after serving as interim fire chief from April 27, 2011 until August 28, 2012. He began his career as a firefighter January 2, 1974. John has served as a firefighter and company officer on both engine and truck apparatus. He was promoted to deputy chief in emergency services January 26, 1991. He assumed the role of deputy chief of administration January 3, 1992, and was re titled as assistant chief on August 15, 2002. During this time he served as chief of the department in the absence of the fire chief.

During his tenure as assistant chief, he was responsible for the support services functions of the department. These services included the administrative, training and logistics divisions. The administrative functions include personnel issues, payroll, budget, records, policies and procedures, and special projects. The logistics division was responsible for vehicle, equipment repair and maintenance and facilities construction/renovation. The training division was responsible for recruit training, firefighter apprenticeship programs, and all phases of continuing education in all skills areas for employees. As coordinator for special projects, John served from 1991 until 2012 as program manager for the department's FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force.

John has been active in the community, serving as vice president and president of the Yankee Hill neighborhood association, and served as president of the Capitol Beach Community Association from 1997-2006. He has served as an elder and deacon in his church, and is a member of the church foundation board of directors. He is a former board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters. John has served on the board of directors for the Capitol City Humane Society. He has served two terms as a board member of the Lincoln United Way board of directors. John has served as the public sector chair for the United Way Combined Health Charities campaign in 2013 & 2014. John is a graduate of the Leadership Lincoln Program in class IV. He is a member of and former station representative of the Lincoln Firefighters Benefit Association. John represented the department on the original EMS committee from 1991 to 1994. He represented the department as a member of the Mayors EMS Task Force from 1993 to 1994. He provided EMS training support to the Lincoln Medical Education Foundation Program through the Southeast Community College. John participated as a community intern with the Lancaster County Medical Society. He has instructed in the Community College Fire Science program, and initiated the night time course offerings for the program. John is a member of the Fire Protection Advisory Committee at Southeast Community College.

John has contributed to both local and national publications including the Lincoln Journal, Fire Command, Fire Chief, and Fire House magazines and others. John has received numerous awards and citations from the department and the community in recognition of his contributions. John has been guest speaker for numerous groups, both locally and nationally.

John is a graduate of the Southeast Community College Fire Protection Program, the National Fire Academy - Executive Fire Officer Program and has attended numerous National Fire Academy Emergency Management Institute and Federal Emergency Management Agency courses. John was a finalist in 1994 and 1995 for the John F. Kennedy School of Better Government Executive Leadership program at Harvard University, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Doane College in 1995. In July 2014 John was recognized by the Commission of Professional Credentialing as a Chief Fire Officer, the first fire chief in Nebraska to be credentialed.

As program manager for the FEMA US&R task force he, was responsible for the ongoing activities and development of the task force. He is also a task force leader for NETF1. John coordinated the departmentís hazardous materials program for over ten years; he coordinated public fire safety education projects and programs for the department. He instructed in the community college fire science program, and initiated the night time course offerings for the program. John has been involved in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Program (US&R) since its inception in 1991. John has assisted in the development and delivery of the task force leaders and incident support team training programs and has served as an instructor and lead instructor for both.

John was part of the work group that developed the original Task Force Peer evaluation Process. He has conducted on-site Inspections for FEMA in Albuquerque, NM, Beverly, MA, and Virginia Beach, VA. Salt Lake City UT, Lansing, MI, Dayton, OH, Memphis TN, Boon County MO, and College Station TX. He has provided disaster response to Richmond, VA for Hurricane Emily in 1993 as a member of the technical support team, the Murrah Federal Building Bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995 as relief for the Deputy Incident Support Team (IST) Leader where he spent five days managing the Incident Support Team, which was responsible for the US&R Task Forces. He was part of the Field Assessment Team for Hurricane Opal 1995, and conducted aerial over flight damage assessment for FEMA. He served a member of the IST for the 1996 FEMA deployment to a gas explosion and structural collapse in San Juan, Puerto Rico. John served as IST Leader for the 1998 Sedgwick County, KS NETF1 task force deployment. He served as the IST Leader for the largest FEMA IST ever deployed for Hurricane George in 1998, pre-positioned in Miami FL ahead of the hurricane's landfall. On September 11, 2001 John was called to serve as the IST Leader for the FEMA Pentagon US&R response. After driving from Nebraska to the Pentagon (all aircraft were grounded) John arrived at the Pentagon less than 23 hours after the attack. He spent ten days on scene working as part of the unified on scene command directing the search and rescue operations. In February 2002, John served as the RED IST Leader for the winter Olympics US&R Standby in Salt Lake City. John is a member of the FEMA IST work group, responsible for the Operations System Description for the IST. John was a member of the Joint Management Team (JMT) for the July 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. John also was deployed as part of the Rapid Needs Assessment team (RNA) for Hurricane Frances in September 2004. John was the IST leader for the Hurricane Katrina response to New Orleans in 2005 where he spent 14 days directing multiple US&R task forces. John was the Task Force Leader for the 2007 NETF1 response to Greensburg Kansas. In 2008 he was the IST Leader for Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. In January 2009 he was the IST Deputy Leader for the Presidential Inauguration Standby Duty.

He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, the local chapter of the National Management Association and other community and professional organizations.

This page was last updated on: 09/05/14

Fire Chief, John Huff
Fire Chief, John Huff

Fire & Rescue Department