Metro Chiefs renames Annual Lifetime Achievement Award after long-time Executive Secretary Russ Sanders

March 11, 2021The Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors has unanimously voted to rename their annual Lifetime Achievement Award the “Russell E. Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of Sanders’ leadership and continuous contributions to Metro Chiefs and the international fire service. Metro Chiefs is a section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Metro Chiefs President John Lane, the fire and paramedic chief in Winnipeg, Canada, lauded Sanders for his vision, passion, and energy. “Metro Chiefs is an organization of chiefs from the largest fire organizations in the world. Russ has collaborated with authorities from North America to South America to Europe to Australia, and spent every waking moment dedicated to the Metro Chiefs organization and our mission,” Lane said. “There is no more fitting recognition of his more than 34 years of service to the Metro Chiefs organization than to name this award after him.”

The Russell E. Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award is granted to an individual who has demonstrated a long history of accomplishments and contributions to the Metro Chiefs organization, as well as contributions to fire safety, in general. Honorees demonstrate leadership and have overcome workplace challenges. 

Sanders spent 27 years in the Louisville, Kentucky fire department, serving his last nine years as chief of the department. He joined the National Fire Protection Association in 1995 and has served as Executive Secretary of the Metro Chiefs since then. Sanders has a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Education degree, and a Master of Science degree from the University of Louisville. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and Harvard University’s Senior Executive in State and Local Government Program. Sanders has received many of the highest honors in the fire and emergency services including the rank of Fellow in the Institution of Fire Engineers (highest grade offered); the Everett E. Hudiburg Award from the International Fire Service Training Association; induction into the 2018 National Fire Heritage Center’s Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders; and the Mason Langford Fire Service Leadership Award by the Congressional Fire Services Institute for exemplary leadership in public safety. He also co-authored the first edition of Structural Fire Fighting: Strategy and Tactics in 2000 and a second edition in 2008.

Sanders will retire from his Metro Chiefs role and his NFPA career at the end of 2021.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research, and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs (Metro) Association brings together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share information and focus on major issues effecting policy changes in the U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid career firefighters. For more information, contact Metro Executive Secretary Russ Sanders.  

About the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®)

Founded in 1896, NFPA® is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach, and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at 

Contact: Lorraine Carli,  Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275