New York State
Association of Fire Chiefs

Providing Service to Those Who Serve


NYSAFC Mourns the Loss of Past President James Kavanaugh

Past Chief James J. Kavanaugh of Erie County passed away on May 8, 2023. He served as NYSAFC president from 1988-1989.

Past Chief James J. Kavanaugh passed away on May 8, 2023. He led the NYSAFC as president from 1988-1989.
Kavanaugh was a longtime member of the Erie County fire service. He was a life member of the East Seneca Fire Company, led the organization as chief from 1971-1974, and served as a commissioner with the West Seneca District #4.  Kavanaugh joined the Vigilant Fire Company in 1991 and was a life member of the organization. He was also a past president of the Erie County Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid Organization and president of the Firemen's Memorial Exhibit Center of Western New York.
A member of NYSAFC since 1968, Kavanaugh was elected to the board of directors in 1980. He had previously served as sergeant-at-arms, as chairman of the former Membership Committee, and as a member of the Annual Conference Committee.
During his tenure as president, Kavanaugh formed the association's Codes Committee and was actively involved in NYSAFC's advocacy for residential fire sprinklers. Also, during his term, work began on development of the NYSAFC Fire Chief's Reference Guide, which was released in 1989 and is still published today.
An obituary is available here. Our sincere condolences to the Kavanaugh family.