Fire Chief Jeff Stone graduates from FEMA program

From left, Morgan County Commissioner Ben Riden, Morgan County Fire-Rescue Chief Jeff Stone and Phillip von Hanstein, chairman, Morgan County Board of Commissioners watch participants in the Zoom graduation ceremony from the Executive Fire Officer Program, an elite four-year program which Stone recently completed.

Flanked by Morgan County Commissioner Ben Riden and Commission Chairman Phillip von Hanstein, Morgan County Fire Rescue Chief Jeff Stone Monday added to his already impressive list of credential.

Stone, after a four-year program, participated in a Zoom-style graduation from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP).

Stone joins 4,600 fire fighters from around the world to graduate from the elite program.

For two weeks each year, with the final year completed online because of COVID restrictions, Stone travelled to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

“The intensive EFOP is designed to provide senior fire officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire administration,” said U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant. “This program provides fire service officers with the expertise they need to succeed in today’s challenging environment.”

The certification will join three Masters degrees Stone has earned. Stone has a Masters degree awarded in Emergency Services Management, a Masters degree in Emergency and Disaster Management and a Masters degree in Homeland Security. He is also credentialed nationally as chief fire officer and was recently named to the Georgia Fire Chief’s Association Executive Board.

During the graduation ceremony, where Stone wore his dress uniform and participated with officers from around the country, it was noted that, “During the program Jeff completed research on hazards and mitigation factors related to the respiratory hazards during salvage and overhaul operations, the use of mobile message boards for emergency notification and improving volunteer involvement in the Morgan County Fire-Rescue Services.”

Stone currently manages a paid fire fighting force of four firefighters and a volunteer force of 85 firefighters across 16 stations in Morgan County. During the ceremony, Chairman von Hanstein thanked Stone for his “commitment to Morgan County and for his service.” Stone thanked the commissioners for “allowing me to go to the academy for the last four years.”

Stone said graduating from the elite program and spending time at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s academy enabled him to develop a camaraderie with fire professionals from around the world.

“I met people through this class not only from around the United States but from around the world,” he said. “I’ve now got a collective group of colleagues I can call.”

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