Chief John Tippett

Director of Fire Service Programs


John Tippett joined the Foundation in April 2018 as the Director of Fire Service Programs, after a 44-year career in the fire service.

John began his career as a volunteer in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1974. He was hired as a career firefighter in Montgomery County in 1976 and spent the next 33 years with various departments and the County, serving as a firefighter, company officer, and battalion chief.

John was also an adjunct instructor, member (and later task force leader) of Maryland Task Force 1 (a FEMA urban search and rescue team), and an integral part of the department’s firefighter safety program. He retired from Montgomery County in 2009 as the safety battalion chief to take a position with the Charleston (SC) Fire Department as its first deputy chief of operations. John spent the next 7 1/2 years as the operations deputy, assisting with the rebuilding of the department after the Sofa Super Store Fire. From 2017 to 2018 he served as interim fire chief.

John holds a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science and a master’s degree in Emergency Services Management from Columbia Southern University.

He has worked extensively on firefighter safety initiatives throughout his career, including introducing Crew Resource Management to the fire service and the Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System. John has written and lectured frequently on topics of firefighter safety, decision making, leadership, and strategy and tactics.

He earned his chief fire officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence in 2012 and was re-certified in 2015. John is also a Fellow with the Institution of Fire Engineers. He currently serves as an at large board member of the International Association of Fire Chief’s Safety, Health and Survival Section, is a certified health and safety officer through the Fire Department Safety Officers’ Association, an instructor for the Blue Card Command Training Program, and a past president of the Charleston County Fire Chief’s Association. John was the International Society of Fire Service Instructors Instructor of the Year in 2006.