Biloxi to host fire chiefs from 10 states

Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney and Linda Stewart of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., last week and brought back a present for Biloxi and the state of Mississippi: a first-ever regional convention of fire chiefs.

Boney and Stewart announced today that the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs conference will be held June 16-18, 2016 in Biloxi and they expect as many as 500 fire chiefs and others from 10 states to attend the event. At the same time, Boney announced, plans are in the works to combine the annual state fire chiefs convention, attracting fire chiefs from throughout Mississippi.

Theme of the convention will be preparedness for natural or man-made disasters.

“It was sort of a joint decision between us and them to have this theme,” Boney said. “They believe that we’re uniquely qualified to host this conference, because of our history with storms and because of the many amenities we have to offer in Biloxi and along the Gulf Coast. I should also point out that we’ll be reaching out to authorities who dealt with Super Storm Sandy and the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma to be a part of this conference.”

Boney also credited Stewart with being the catalyst for luring the convention to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “Linda found it on the internet, and given the inventory of first-class resorts we have, it was a natural.”

Stewart was successful in moving the convention to mid-week in order to increase mid-week business for the tourism industry.

“We’re talking about a lot of heads in beds for our hotel industry,” said Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols. “This means that in June of 2016, we’ll have the State Police Chiefs Convention, the State Fire Chiefs Convention, and the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs Convention. Like I told Chief Boney, that’s a lot of chiefs.

“In addition to those events, we’ll also have the Mississippi Municipal League in town that same month.”

Said Nichols: “We have a lot to offer these folks, and we’re proud to have them coming into our community.”
See thumbnails of the winning pitch in Knoxville
See a photo from today’s announcement