New York State
Association of Fire Chiefs

Providing Service to Those Who Serve

Keynote Address


Dr. David Griffin, Battalion Chief/Deputy Director of Training,
Charleston (SC) Fire Department

Thursday, June 17 – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
@ The Oncenter War Memorial Arena – Memorial Hall

Open to All Attendees

On June 18, 2007, nine firefighters perished in a warehouse fire in Charleston, SC. What was initially dispatched as a trash fire escalated into one of the most scrutinized events in national fire service history. David Griffin had the unfortunate experience of being the engineer on the first due engine that day. As he operated on the fireground, he witnessed things that he will never forget. In this presentation, Griffin will provide firsthand accounts of that day, share video footage with radio traffic, and discuss the heavy toll this catastrophic event took on his life. Griffin will review the incredible changes that he and the CFD have made following this tragedy, present scientific research regarding the change process, and explain how this event and his innovative research have changed the national fire service.

Dr. David Griffin is a battalion chief and deputy director of training in Charleston, SC. He was the operator of the first due engine on June 18, 2007, when nine of his fellow firefighters perished in the line of duty. Griffin has a bachelor of science degree in education from The Citadel, a master of science degree in executive fire service leadership, and a doctorate of education in organizational leadership and development. He is the author of the best seller In Honor of The Charleston 9: A Study of Change Following Tragedy,  as well as the books ACTION: 9 Missions for Personal and Professional Growth, From PTSD to PTG: A Firefighter’s Journey After A Multiple LODD Incident, and Tattoos and Trauma: The Healing Power of Tattoos for Emergency Responders. Griffin is also an international speaker and instructor, a certified chief fire officer and chief training officer with the Center for Public Safety Excellence, and a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program. He was scheduled to complete the Harvard University Kennedy School Executive Education program "Senior Executives in State and Local Government" in 2020.

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