Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr Elected President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs

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Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr breaks another glass ceiling through her election as the first female president and chair of the board of directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The IAFC is one of the oldest professional associations in the United States, established in 1873.

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Photo courtesy of Iconic Magazine, Austin.

“Chief Kerr has been breaking glass ceilings and paving the way for generations of women in the fire service since she began her career more than 30 years ago,” said City Manager Marc Ott.

Leading the way for women in the fire service once again, the Austin Fire Department’s Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr has been elected as President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ (IAFC). Chief Kerr is currently the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of the IAFC as the 1st Vice President, and is scheduled to take office as the first woman President and Chair of the Board at the IAFC’s annual Fire-Rescue International Conference in Atlanta later this summer.

As president, Chief Kerr will lead the association’s 18-member board of directors. She will serve as the association’s primary spokesman on national and international issues, testify on behalf of the organization at Congressional hearings and serve as the association’s representative dignitary.

“Chief Kerr has been breaking glass ceilings and paving the way for generations of women in the fire service since she began her career more than 30 years ago,” said City Manager Marc Ott. “From her earliest days at Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue where she became the first female Deputy Chief after rising through the ranks, to being hired as the first female Fire Chief in Little Rock and Austin, Chief Kerr has been setting the standard for other departments and cities to follow. After five years, I still often remark that she was one of the best hires I ever made.”

Chief Kerr’s election to this prestigious office is an example of our success in recruiting talented leaders who will help us become the best managed city in the country,” said Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano. “Not only is it a first for a woman to hold the office of President, but it’s the first time that a woman will serve as the President and Chair of the IAFC’s Board of Directors. Her election to this position just proves what we’ve known all along—that Chief Kerr and the Austin Fire Department are one of the best, if not the best, in the country.”

“I am incredibly humbled by the vote of confidence my peers have shown in me by electing me to this position,” said Chief Kerr. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to bring the great work the men and women of the Austin Fire Department do to the rest of the fire service, both nationally and internationally. I have always prided myself on serving as an example of what women can do when we put our minds to something and I plan to showcase that even more as President!”

To commemorate this achievement, please learn how you can support her vision for "Zero Fire Deaths" in Austin through community engagement and visit her website: http://www.rhodamaekerr.com/austin-fire-foundation.

ABOUT the Austin Fire Department
The Austin Fire Department was founded on September 25, 1857 and is now one of the 20 largest departments in the country, with 45 fire stations located throughout the city and more than 1,100 employees.

ABOUT the IAFC
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. For more information about the IAFC, please visit http://www.iafc.org.

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