Fire Chief John Oates named CEO of the International Public Safety Data Institute

The chief succeeds Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, who was recently named the U.S. fire administrator


By FireRescue1 staff

CHANTILLY, Va. — John H. Oates, former fire chief of the East Hartford (Connecticut) Fire Department, has been named the new CEO of the International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) by the organization’s board of directors. Oates replaces Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, who was appointed to lead the U.S. Fire Administration by President Joe Biden in October.

“Educating fire departments around the country on how to leverage technology and data to provide lifesaving insights is my mission,” Chief Oates said in an IPSDI press release. “We can’t keep using 1981 procedures, techniques and data to solve 2021 problems. The fire service needs to improve how it views and applies information in its decision making, and IPSDI has two products in NFORS and FireCARES that are uniquely positioned to help rethink the future of safety in communities across America.”

East Hartford, Conn., Fire Chief John Oates speaks at the IAFC's Fire-Rescue International conference in 2021.
East Hartford, Conn., Fire Chief John Oates speaks at the IAFC's Fire-Rescue International conference in 2021.

He continued: “Working with a broad team of experts, I plan to coach local public safety agencies on ways to gather, organize and translate data into action, improving how they evaluate risks, deploy resources and respond to emergencies, ultimately to keep their communities safe.”

IPSDI Interim CEO and Board Secretary William Jenaway described Chief Oates as “an exceptional leader with a proven track record of execution in high-stress and high-performing public safety arenas,” adding that Oates is an effective communicator, talented educator and skilled fireground commander “who clearly understands the need for data and the intelligence it imparts to the fire service to make a community safer.”

Oates spent 13 years at the head of the East Hartford department, focusing on the health, wellness and safety of firefighters, according to an IPSDI press release. He served as the president of the Connecticut Career Fire Chiefs’ Association and held various positions with national fire organizations, including the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), the First Responder Center for Excellence, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) committees (including NFPA 3000), and as an implementation specialist with Dr. Sara Jahnke and the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research.


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