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MFRI Director Steven Edwards to Retire from the University Of Maryland

June 13, 2017

Karen Haje, 301-226-9962

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland State Fire Training Director, Steven T.  Edwards, will retire from the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI) at the University of Maryland, effective January 5, 2018. 

Photo of Steven EdwardsEdwards has served as the director of MFRI, the state’s comprehensive training and education system for emergency services, for the past 25 years. Under his leadership, MFRI increased student attendance, enhanced the quality of its training programs and its equipment and safety and health procedures, and generated additional funding for its organization. During his tenure, Edwards created the Center for Firefighter Health and Safety, which was funded through research grants. He was also instrumental in the renovation of MFRI’s main training facility in College Park and two regional training centers, as well as the construction two new regional training centers. Most recently, Edwards led the effort to create the MFRI 2025 Strategic Plan, developed to provide organizational guidance for the next 10 years.

“It has been a true honor and privilege to serve as the MFRI Director for 25 years, as I have worked with a great organization that serves an essential public safety purpose,” said Edwards. “Most importantly, I have had the pleasure to work with the MFRI faculty, staff and instructors who are the utmost professionals in their field.” 

Edwards has received numerous awards and honors, including the Mason Lankford National Fire Service Leadership Award from the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the Hudiberg Award from the International Fire Service Training Association, the President’s Award from the North American Fire Training Directors and the UMCP President's Distinguished Service Award for excellence and dedicated service to the University of Maryland. He is also the author of the “Fire Service Personnel Management” (3rd ed.), a textbook used in college-level educational programs. 

“MFRI’s distinguished service has saved lives throughout Maryland and beyond, thanks to the excellence of Steve and his team,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Throughout his career, Steve has led the way in making Maryland first responders among the best in the world, and set the standard for quality service. He will be missed.” 

MFRI plans, researches, develops, and delivers quality training programs to enhance the ability of emergency service providers to protect life, the environment, and property. Each year, MFRI conducts 1,800 educational programs, training over 34,000 students in Maryland, the United States and across the world. MFRI training programs and evaluation processes have been nationally accredited and all meet or exceed the National Fire Service Professional Qualifications. 

Prior to his service with MFRI, Edwards served with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department for 25 years beginning as a high school cadet in 1968, progressing through every rank and retiring as its Fire Chief in 1993. In 1979, he was awarded the PGFD “Gold Star of Valor” for the rescue of two firefighters at a major fire and explosion. In 2018, Director Edwards will have 50 years of service devoted to the emergency services of Maryland. 

Edwards’ numerous contributions to state and national organizations is impressive. He was the elected President of the North American Fire Training Directors, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Safety Equipment Institute, the Congressional Fire Services National Advisory Committee Chair, National Fire Protection Research Board Foundation, National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, Chair of the Maryland Instructor Certification Review Board and member of the Maryland Statewide Emergency Medical Advisory Board.

Edwards’ retirement announcement is made at this time to allow the University of Maryland adequate time to conduct a nationwide search for a new Director.