West Fargo Fire Chief Dan Fuller has completed a four-year special training program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program.

The USFA is a series of four graduate and upper-division, baccalaureate equivalent courses with four applied research projects. The program focuses on executive development, community risk reduction, fire services in emergency operations and leadership.

During the course, Fuller used the applied research project opportunities to analyze the city’s response times, risk reduction for vulnerable populations, preplanning for large scale public events and the creation of a rural fire district. Each of these projects was evaluated through a formal process, and advancing in the program was contingent on successfully completed each project.

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

The EFO program is intended for current and emerging executive-level leaders in fire and emergency services organizations. Two hundred students are selected each year and Fuller is one of eight EFO’s in the state of North Dakota.

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Participants must hold a high rank in their organizations and hold a baccalaureate degree from an institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The courses are recommended by the American Council on Education to receive graduate or upper-division baccalaureate-equivalent course credit.

Since becoming fire chief, the West Fargo Fire Department went from a 40- member, all-volunteer force, to a hybrid volunteer/career staff system of 62 members. An additional 12 full-time personnel were hired and new strategies have been implemented to cut the department’s response time in half. The department’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification rating has dropped from a rating of 5 to a 3. This puts the department in the top 10 percent of fire departments in the nation.

The lower rating could potentially save the community $15 million in insurance savings.

Fuller has more than 20 years of experience in public safety, having worked in law enforcement, fire services and emergency medical services. Fuller became the West Fargo Fire Department’s chief in 2015 after serving as a captain at the Minot Rural Fire Department, a senior firefighter with the City of Minot Fire Department, and a flight paramedic with Northstar Criticair in Minot, North Dakota. Fuller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science Administration from Waldorf College, as well as a master’s degree in Public Administration from Anna Maria College. He served active duty in the United States Air Force from 1999-2007 in security forces.