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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2004
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations
(908) 737-NEWS

Kean University Hosts Homeland Security and Fire Safety Conference

UNION, N.J. – More than 400 New Jersey fire safety officials will attend a critical Homeland Security and Fire Safety training conference on Saturday, March 6. The event will include special presentations from Dr. Denis Onieal, superintendent of the U.S. National Fire Academy; Dr. Clifton Lacy, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health; and Sidney J. Casperson, director of the New Jersey Office of Counter-Terrorism, in a program designed to bring together – and better coordinate – those fire safety officials charged with keeping New Jersey safe and secure.

The event, sponsored by Kean University and the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (NJDFS) and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS), will focus on the fire safety community’s role in the training and preparation initiatives sweeping our nation.

“As first responders, we play a critical role in the management and containment of disasters and hazards,” said Lawrence Petrillo, director of NJDFS. “More often than not, members of the fire service are the first on the scene of tragic events. Today, as we prepare ourselves to handle new threats of terrorism and bioterrorism, the time has come to meet as a community to better define our role in developing New Jersey’s Homeland Security Initiatives.”

Petrillo worked closely with Kean University to organize this event and will also be giving a presentation.

The program will include presentations and panel discussions led by many experts in homeland security and fire safety, such as New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District Rep. William J. Pascrell, who serves on the House Select Committee on Homeland Security; John Norman, deputy chief-in-charge of special operations in the New York City Fire Department; Ron Kanterman, fire chief for Merck & Company; and Neil Pitagno, supervisory special agent of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Topics to be discussed include training and education; communications and intelligence; chemical and biological terrorism; chief officers, industrial-sector response teams; incident command, coordination with the Office of Emergency Management; and the identification and securing of grants related to fire safety and homeland security.

This event begins at 8:30 a.m. in Kean University’s Downs Hall, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J., and will conclude at 3 p.m. Registration is required, but admission is free and includes breakfast and lunch. Contact Audrey Kelly at Kean University, (908) 737-4305 or firesafety@kean.edu, for more information or to register.