Michael O’Brian receives 2021 Robert W. Gain Fire Prevention Leadership Award for longstanding dedication in support of fire codes and fire prevention
Each year, the International Code Council recognizes peers and colleagues who are a reflection of what the association stands for: dedication to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. The Code Council honored several outstanding individuals and organizations for their accomplishments and contributions to building safety and resiliency in their communities during the 2021 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Robert W. Gain Fire Prevention Leadership Award (formerly the ICC Fire Service Award) is given to a member whose professional abilities and leadership serve as an example to all fire prevention and fire protection professionals. It is presented in honor of Robert W. Gain, a founder of the Uniform Fire Code and a prominent member of the organizations that created the International Fire Code. Fire Chief Michael D. O’Brian CFO, with the Brighton Area Fire Authority in Michigan, received the 2021 Robert W. Gain Fire Prevention Leadership Award during the ICC Connections Gala on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Robert W. Gain Fire Prevention Leadership Award was first presented in 1982 by the Western Fire Chiefs Association and honors Chief Gain’s memory and his place in history as the “father of the Uniform Fire Code.” Throughout his career as a fire chief and an ICC legacy organization staff member from the 1950s to the 1970s, Chief Gain was well known as a visionary and respected leader among fire service professionals. He recognized and advocated the importance of fire codes and fire prevention in reducing loss of life and property due to fire, and he championed the decade-long effort that created the Uniform Fire Code, a predecessor to the International Fire Code, in 1971. It is therefore fitting that the Robert W. Gain Award serves as the highest honor to be given to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and longstanding dedication in support of fire codes and fire prevention.
As this year’s recipient, Chief O’Brian has certainly proven himself worthy of receiving this distinguished honor. Early in his fire service career, Chief O’Brian recognized that strong codes not only help protect communities, but also the safety of first responders. He has a varied career in the public and private sectors with an emphasis on code administration and enforcement for the last 25 years and has established himself as a well-known and respected voice in code development within his home state of Michigan and at the national level.
Chief O’Brian leads the Brighton Area Fire Authority where he is responsible for operating five fire stations charged with protecting more than 74 square miles of community and property across southeast Michigan. His primary duties include all aspects of the fire marshal division, department administration and ensuring that the fire fighters are operationally ready. He has been with the Brighton department since 2007, after starting his firefighting career with the Farmington Hills Fire Dept. He gradually worked his way up in Brighton, assigned as the deputy fire chief/fire marshal in the combination fire department, and was picked to head the department as the fire chief in 2011.
He also serves as the chief executive officer of Code Savvy Consultants, a municipal plan review and consulting company designed to assist governmental entities on the challenges of building and fire code administration, and is the creator and president of a dynamic website — www.inspector911.com — which is designed to assist all types of code-based inspectors involved in code enforcement in their everyday work through training, resources, information, checklists and up-to-date news.
He is a past president of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs, the Michigan Fire Inspector Society and the Oakland County Fire Prevention Society, and currently serves on the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ board of directors representing its Fire and Life Safety Section, a position he has held since 2017. He is also an active member of the International Code Council, the National Fire Protection Association and local inspector groups. Chief O’Brian has chaired the Code Council’s Fire Code Action Committee for the past eight years and has served as a member of the Code Council’s Code Correlating Committee since 2017.
A passionate advocate on firefighter health and wellness throughout the country, last year, Chief O’Brian was named Michigan Fire Chief of the Year by the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs. In 2004, he was named the 2004 Fire Inspector of the Year by Metropolitan Detroit Fire Inspector Society and in 2005 by the Michigan Fire Inspector Society.
Chief O’Brian is currently a registered plans examiner, a certified fire inspector with the state of Michigan, and a certified firefighter, paramedic and instructor under the Bureau of Construction Codes and Fire Safety as well as a certified fire service instructor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration from Eastern Michigan University where he serves as an adjunct instructor with Fire Staff and Command.
His knowledge and dedication to the science of fire safety have truly made the world a safer place. The International Code Council congratulates Michael O’Brian as its 2021 Robert W. Gain Fire Prevention Leadership Award recipient.
View past recipients of the Robert W. Gain Fire Prevention Leadership Award.