The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association recently announced its award honorees and for the first time in its 56-year history fire chiefs from the largest jurisdictions throughout the world have selected a female officer as Fire Chief of the Year.
Mary Cameli, chief of the Mesa Fire and Medical Department, earned the Metropolitan Fire Chief of the Year honor, according to a release.
Chief Cameli has been a member of the Mesa Fire and Medical Department since 1983, serving in every rank within the department before assuming her current role in 2016. Recognized by her community as the Mesa Woman of the Year in 2020, she has earned accolades locally, throughout Arizona, and on a national level for spearheading the department program which is regarded as a “gold standard” example of integrated community health care, the release states.
Mesa Fire and Medical Department service delivery elements, and the research and data generated as part of a significant federal Health and Human Services grant, have been shared widely throughout the fire service and medical community to impart important lessons learned.
The department provides its own separate 9-1-1 communications and dispatch center for its community, as well as its automatic-aid partners. Chief Cameli credits her labor/management team for the development and success of a critical public safety tax initiative for both police and fire, the release states.
Chief Cameli is a past president of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association and currently serves as vice chair of the International Fire Service Training Association Executive Board. She is vice president of the Center for Public Safety Excellence Board and co-chairs the IAFC Women Chiefs Council. She has an associate degree in fire science, a bachelor of arts in physical education and a master’s degree in organizational management.
The Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association is a section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and National Fire Protection Association.