News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 10-15-2015-1
Subject :

White House Official to Keynote Home Fire Safety Summit at Mitchell Park
Contact : Eric Nickel, Fire Chief    (650) 329-2424
Palo Alto, CA – The top federal fire official, United States Fire Administrator Chief Ernie Mitchell will keynote the Smart Homes Summit: Emerging Trends in Safe Living – The intersection of Technology and Fire Safety. The Smart Homes Summit will be held at the Mitchell Park Community Center October 20 - 21, 2015.

Chief Mitchell was appointed by President Obama in 2011 to lead the US Fire Administration. He served as the Fire Chief in Pasadena and transitioned to federal service after a 33 year local fire service career. Visit the U. S. Fire Administration's webpage,, for Chief Mitchell’s bio and photo.

The Smart Homes Summit seeks technological solutions to address home fire safety concerns that can minimize the risk to the community and to emergency responders. Jointly sponsored by the Fire Protection Research Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Smart Homes Summit will bring together leaders from academic and research institutions, trade groups, private industry and the fire service.

Palo Alto Fire Chief Eric Nickel said, "The home safety landscape is dramatically different than it was even a few years ago. New technology is creating interconnected smart homes that produce opportunities to increase the levels of safety for our residents and visitors. The vision of the Palo Alto Fire Department is to reduce community risk, especially for traditionally high risk groups under age 13 or over the age of 65."

Executive Director of the Fire Research Institute Casey Grant noted, “The residential fire problem remains a major concern. During the five-year period of 2007-2011, fires in residential properties accounted for 79% of all reported structure fires; 96% of civilian structure fire deaths and 90% of reported structure fire injuries. The opportunity now exists to apply smart to safe.”

The goal of the Smart Homes Summit is to bring together the safety, homebuilding and technology communities for a rare opportunity to clarify emerging trends, establish networking dialogue, identify knowledge gaps and needs and create a vision for the future of safe residential living. A key deliverable will be the establishment of a collective voice from emergency responders and fire safety professionals to guide technology developers to effectively address the home fire problem.

For more information visit, or connect with us on Twitter at @PaloAltoFire and Facebook.