Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper has appointed Duane Nelson to the position of Fire Chief of the Idaho Falls Fire Department (IFFD). Nelson will assume the position on May 4 pending a confirmation vote of the city council on April 25. The appointment follows current Fire Chief Dave Hanneman’s retirement announcement last month.
"The Idaho Falls Fire Department is one of the region’s leading departments. We lead the state in many ways including having one of highest ISO ratings, a superb training model, very strong hiring and retention rates, and an excellent EMS record. I believe Chief Nelson will continue this record of success,” said Mayor Casper. “I also believe he has the guts to innovate. The search for innovative solutions inside of a tradition-bound institution like the fire service requires a forward-looking leader. I believe Duane Nelson is that leader."
Nelson, a 29-year fire service veteran, currently holds the position of Deputy Chief of Administration at IFFD. He began his fire service career in 1991 as a firefighter in the Idaho Army National Guard. Nelson was hired at IFFD in November of 1997.
“Growing up in Idaho Falls I have a very strong connection to this community and those we serve,” said Nelson. “I look forward to continuing to work with staff and our partnering agencies to build upon the great work we have accomplished in eastern Idaho over the past several years.”
Nelson, who continues as a member of the Idaho Army National Guard, has been deployed twice and is anticipated to retire from the military in July of 2019 as a Sergeant First Class after 22 years of service. His military experience and education, coupled with his experience as a civilian firefighter resulted in Nelson’s advancement through the IFFD ranks. In 2014 Nelson was appointed as the Interim Fire Chief at IFFD prior to the selection of Chief Hanneman. In 2015 Nelson was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief of Administration.
Nelson completed his Associate of Applied Science in Fire Service Technology from the College of Eastern Idaho (formerly EITC) in 2009. In 2012, he received his Bachelor of Science in Fire Service Administration from Idaho State University, becoming the first graduate of the ISU program. In May of 2019 he will complete a Master’s Degree of Professional Studies in the Psychology of Leadership from Pennsylvania State University.
Nelson is an active member in several fire and military service organizations, such as the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Idaho Fire Chief Association. He is a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, the National Fire Academy Alumni Association, Firefighters Behavioral Health Alliance and the American Legion.
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For additional information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Bud Cranor at 208-612-8306 or Kerry Hammon at 208-612-8122.