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Photo of Acting Director R. David Paulison

R. David Paulison
Federal Emergency Management Agency

R. David Paulison was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as Under Secretary of Federal Emergency Management and Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in April 2006, and confirmed by the Senate in May 2006. Mr. Paulison was appointed Acting Director of FEMA by President Bush in September 2005.

Previously, Mr. Paulison was confirmed by the United States Senate as the Administrator for the U.S. Fire Administration in December 2001. As U.S. Fire Administrator, Mr. Paulison heads the U.S. Fire Administration, part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate/FEMA, supports State and local fire service programs, and oversees programs to reduce life and economic losses due to fire and related emergencies, in partnership with fire protection and emergency service communities.

Mr. Paulison served as the Director of the Preparedness Division of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate/FEMA, in the newly created Department of Homeland Security, from 2003-2004. During his tenure, Mr. Paulison administered a broad range of programs designed to strengthen State and community emergency preparedness in order to reduce loss of life and property due to disaster; administered first responder grant programs totaling more than $1 billion; and oversaw more than 350 employees. He was also responsible for training Federal, State, and local emergency managers and first responders, and for conducting a nationwide program of exercises.

Before joining FEMA, Mr. Paulison, who has 30 years of fire/rescue services experience, was chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. In that position, he oversaw 1,900 personnel with a $200 million operating budget and a $70 million capital budget. He also oversaw the Dade County Emergency Management office.

He began his career as a rescue firefighter and rose through the ranks of rescue lieutenant commander, district chief of operations, division chief, assistant chief and then deputy director for administration before becoming the Miami-Dade Fire Chief. He is a certified paramedic and, as fire chief, oversaw the Miami-Dade Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. His emergency management experience includes Hurricane Andrew and the crash of ValuJet Flight 592. He is also past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

A native of Miami, Florida, Mr. Paulison earned a bachelor of arts from Florida Atlantic University and completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2004, he received the Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award from the Congressional Fire Service Institute. Additionally, he has received the LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Award and has been inducted into the Miami-Dade Community College Hall of Fame. Mr. Paulison was selected as Fire Chief of the Year by his colleagues from the State of Florida in 1993 and holds positions in several professional associations.

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