U.S. Fire Administrator Lori Moore-Merrell is fueled not just by a mission to improve the capabilities of fire services, but by the data that will help firefighters save lives and safely end a long shift. “It is time to innovate, it is time to modernize, it is time to enhance our capability, and for me, status quo is not acceptable,” the fire service veteran said of her vision for USFA, which she has led since October 2021. Moore-Merrell is considered an expert in executive leadership, emergency response system evaluation, public safety resource deployment, community risk assessment, data science/analytics, strategic planning, costs and benefits analysis, advocacy, consensus building, policy development and implementation, and generational differences in the workplace. She began her fire service career in 1987 as a fire department paramedic in the City of Memphis Fire Department. Prior to her appointment, she served as president and CEO of the International Public Safety Data Institute, which she founded after retiring from the International Association of Fire Fighters after 26 years.
Moore-Merrell is an international speaker, presenter and author. She is a principal member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 3000 Technical Committee and is an advisor to the chair of the NFPA 1710 Technical Committee. Moore-Merrell served 9 years as a commissioner to the Commission for Fire Service Accreditation and 3 terms as a board member for the Center for Public Safety Excellence. She is a member of the International Fire Service Training Association Executive Board, as well as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Fire Council.
During her 26 years at the IAFF, Lori spent more than 17 years leading a research team made up of international fire service organizations and other partners, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the UL, the Urban Institute, the University of Texas, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. As principal investigator and senior project manager on projects funded by FEMA/Assistance to Firefighters Grants totaling more than $23 million, she led the team to produce landmark reports and other tools to improve residential and high-rise fireground operations, community risk assessment, fire and EMS resource deployment, and “Big Data Analytics” — all to help drive executive decision-making. These reports and other resources have changed the face of fire and EMS deployment in countries throughout the world. Moore-Merrell has also managed emergency response system evaluation project teams, including secure data procurement, geographic information systems analysis and workload analysis in hundreds of fire departments throughout North America.