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Passing of Dr. Harry E. Hickey
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By MSFA Chief Chaplain John Long Jr
January 30, 2017

Dr. Harry E. Hickey
Lusby, Calvert County, Maryland

Dr. Harry E. Hickey served in multiple key roles in fire protection and the fire service during his life. His active fire services career spanned 52 years – 20 years in the career service and 32 years in the volunteer service. His distinguished journey in fire protection disciplines include joining the University of Maryland’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) as the second full-time faculty member in 1960, retiring after 25 years of service in 1985.

For several decades he served as deputy fire coordinator, Wyoming County, NY, Bureau of Fire, which required many trips from Maryland to New York to fulfill. He spent most of his adult life analyzing the key components of good fire protection and working closely with the Insurance Services Office’s Public Protection Classification program (overseen today by Verisk Analytics) that assists the fire insurance industry establish premium rates.

He authored many books and articles, plus it was his pioneering concepts that lead to the creation of the National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC), a national fire-related archival initiative, to preserve the written history of fire protection and the fire services in America. The well-earned official title of NFHC Principle Founding Member was bestowed on him by NFHC President Ronny J. Coleman of California in 2008.

The Dr. Harry E. Hickey Scholarship Endowment was established in July 2009 by alumni of the 4-year academic program, his friends and former students. Income from the Scholarship Endowment provides annual FPE scholarships in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park. An important component of the FPE curriculum, the Fire Suppression Research Laboratory is named in his honor. Upon retiring, he served as Director of Fire Protection and Fire Chief at the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory in Howard County, Maryland.

Prior to and all during his university teaching and writing work he served with both the College Park and the Hillandale Volunteer Fire Departments in Maryland, plus assisted on projects at the National Fire Academy / United States Fire Administration in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Dr. Hickey authored the following textbooks:
~ “Hydraulics for Fire Protection”
~ “Public Fire Safety Organization: A Systems Approach”
~ “Fire Suppression Rating Schedule Handbook”
~ “Water Supply Systems and Evaluation Methods: Water Supply Evaluation Methods,’ (Volumes I and II)
~ “The Impact of Building Code Criteria and Emergency Preparedness Criteria on Water Demand Requirements to Fire Protection”

-Once worked for the Fire Department City of New York
-Served as a fire protection evaluator for the insurance industry
-Testified before Committees of the Congress on fire protection matters


Dr. Hickey played an important guiding role for many employees of Verisk/ISO. Following his retirement he served as an expert consultant on multiple ISO projects. His work included providing guidance and insight on various topics related to the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) utilized by ISO in development of municipality-specific Public Protection Classifications (PPC). Dr. Hickey remained a tireless advocate for the value of effective fire protection for insurers and property owners alike. His perspective was especially valuable given his deep understanding of how local municipalities could reap the economic benefits of lower losses and potential reduction in the cost of property insurance. Dr. Hickey's friendship and expertise will be missed. Our world is a better and safer place because of his life-long devotion to improving fire protection.

Wife - Gloria Hickey
Daughter - the late Sharon Owens
Daughter - Linda Crawford
Daughter - Kelly Aldridge
Son - David Hickey
Daughter - Kathleen Hickey
-And, 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren


Regarding the importance of the Insurance Services Office on fire protection capabilities nationally, Dr. Hickey once said, "I know from my personal and academic-research experience that good fire protection has a tremendous effect on the vitality and sense of well-being in a community. When a fire happens, those who need help can easily see the difference between an effective, well-organized, and smartly deployed firefighting resource and an inadequate or nonexistent one. "I've spent most of my adult life analyzing the key components of good fire protection, and I can tell you this – I can't imagine living in a world without ISO's Public Protection Classification program. It works because the financial incentives to improve classifications are unique and effective. It works because insurers and residents alike benefit from the informed choices of community leaders. And, it works because saving lives and property continues to be the prime mission of local emergency responders."


A Memorial Service for Harry has been scheduled for Saturday, February 11th at 2 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 90 Church Street, Prince Frederick, MD, 20678. Fire Service support has been requested.


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