Steven T. Edwards

Steven T. Edwards recently retired as the director of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute of the University of Maryland. The Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute is the state’s comprehensive training agency for emergency services, training more than 38,000 students each year. He is a former fire chief of the Prince George’s County Fire Department in Maryland, where he served for 25 years in a variety of positions, from high school cadet to fire chief. Edwards has also served as chair of the board of directors of the Safety Equipment Institute, chair of the Congressional Fire Service Institute National Advisory Committee, and in numerous local- and state-level appointments. In 1997, he was elected president of the North American Fire Training Directors.

Edwards is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fire service management and a master’s degree in general administration. Both degrees were achieved with summa cum laude honors. He has attended the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government and the National Fire Academy, and has presented at national conferences and seminars. Edwards is currently an associate professor of the adjunct faculty at UMUC, teaching its course in fire service personnel management.

During his career of more than 50 years in fire service, Edwards received numerous awards and honors, including the Prince George’s County Fire Department “Gold Star of Valor” in 1979 for the rescue of two firefighters at a major fire and explosion. During his tenure as fire chief, the department received the IAFC Award for Excellence as well as 28 National Association of Counties Awards for Excellence. While continuing his fire service career at the University of Maryland, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute was selected as the Congressional Fire Service Institute National Fire Service Organization of the Year for 1999. In addition, Edwards received the University of Maryland President’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003 for exceptional performance, leadership, and service. At the 2004 International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) spring meeting, Edwards was presented with the “Hudiberg” award, the highest honor within this association. In 2009, Edwards was awarded the CFSI Mason-Lankford National Fire Service Leadership Award for exceptional service throughout a career and for his improvements of the fire and emergency services.

In 2016, Edwards was inducted into the National Fire Heritage Hall of Legends, Legacies, and Leaders and in 2017 received the Johnny Wilson Award from the National Board on Fire Service Personnel Qualifications. Additionally, he was honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Fire Training Directors for his work on national fire service training issues.

In 2018, upon his retirement from the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute of the University of Maryland, Classroom #1 was dedicated in his honor for his exemplary service of 25 years as director.