Sandy Springs Fire Chief Jack McElfish
Chief Jack McElfish

Fire Chief Jack McElfish is one of 10 national finalists for the 2012 Career Fire Chief of the Year award, according to the city of Sandy Springs.

According to a city press release, Fire Chief Magazine annually honors one career fire chief and one volunteer chief.

McElfish was a veteran firefighter when he joined Sandy Springs in 2006. During his 40 years as a fireman he’s served as fire chief in Wallingford, Conn.; Clayton County, Ga.; Richmond, Va. and Gwinnett County, Ga.

According to the city’s press release, his awards include Designated Chief Fire Officer awarded by the Center for Public Safety Excellence; the International Society of Fire Service Instructors’ 2008 Instructor of the Year; the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs’ 2008 Fire Chief of the Year; and the 2010 American Heart Association’s Mission Award for the fire department’s efforts to train residents to use CPR.

In 2011, McElfish told the city council that the fire department has a Class 3 Insurance Services Office rating.

ISO, an analytics firm based in New Jersey, rates municipal fire protection and ranks fire protection on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. McElfish reported only 56 departments out of 1,038 in the state of Georgia have a Class 2 or 3 ISO rating.

The city’s press release says the magazine selects the winner based on qualities like “leadership, innovation, professional development, integrity and service to the public and contributions to the fire service as a whole.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of