As many as 400 fire chiefs from across the Southeast will be in Biloxi this week for the annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs, and the group will make history, with Biloxi’s fire chief being named the first Mississippian to head the organization.
Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney, who has served as Mississippi’s representative on the organization’s board for three years, will be named president of the organization, the first Mississippi chief to lead the 93-year-old group.
The group will meet Wednesday through Saturday at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi, and the Mississippi Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association also will hold conferences simultaneously.
The Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs is a division if the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The group is comprised of 10 Southeastern states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia – and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The purpose of the annual conference is to provide a forum for fire and emergency service leaders to exchange ideas, develop professionally and to discuss the latest information on current events that are influencing the American fire service. There will also be a vendor show with up to a hundred vendors displaying and demonstrating the latest in firefighting technology.
Biloxi is the only city in the state to hold the Southeastern conference twice, the first conference held in Biloxi was in 2016. Before that, the only other Southeastern conference held in Mississippi was in Jackson in the ’70s.
Boney served on the Southeastern chiefs board as Mississippi director from 2016 to 2019 and currently is the group’s first vice president on the executive board. He will be sworn in at the conference for a one-year term. Boney, who is also Southern vice president of the Mississippi Fire Chiefs, is a 37-year veteran of the Biloxi Fire Department and has served as Biloxi fire chief for eight years.
(Source: City of Biloxi)