History of the National Fire Academy

P.L. 93-498, the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act, created the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration (NFPCA) in 1974. Under the law, the National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control — part of the NFPCA — was established for the purpose of “advancing the professional development of fire service personnel and of other persons engaged in fire prevention and control activities.”

Timeline of events in NFA history

1973

The America Burning report to President Nixon recommended establishment of a “permanent federal agency specifically concerned with fire” and a “National Fire Academy, to provide improved training and education for fire service personnel, building designers, code officials and others.”

1974

The NFPCA and the National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control were established within the U.S. Department of Commerce under P.L. 93-498.

1975

Howard Tipton of California was appointed as the first U.S. Fire Administrator.

1976

David McCormack of New York was appointed the first full-time superintendent.

1977

The first NFA courses were taught in various states.

1977

The Open Learning Fire Service Program was created to help fire service personnel achieve a bachelor’s degree. It later became the Degrees at a Distance program, and eventually evolved into the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Eduction initiative.

1978

The NFPCA was renamed to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control was renamed to the National Fire Academy (NFA).

1979

The site of the former St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, was officially dedicated as the National Fire Academy.

1979

The USFA (and its National Fire Academy) was transferred to the newly created Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

1980

The NFA opened in Emmitsburg for the first time to on-campus students.

1981

The first NFA courses were recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE).

1981

The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was constructed on the grounds of the National Fire Academy.

1981

The NFA facility in Emmitsburg was renamed to the National Emergency Training Center.

1981

The NFA was reorganized out of the USFA into FEMA’s Training and Education Directorate.

1984

1985

The Executive Fire Officer Program was established.

1991

The NFA was reorganized back into the USFA.

1994

The NFA Superintendent position was changed from a political to career appointment.

2003

FEMA and USFA/NFA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

2005

USFA/NFA moved from FEMA to the DHS Preparedness Directorate.

2007

USFA/NFA moved back into FEMA.

2007

NFA Online delivered its first training course.

2014

The Managing Officer Program for first- and mid-level fire officers was established.

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