The Fire Prevention Division serves our community by inspecting new commercial construction, existing commercial and public buildings for fire and life safety hazards. Inspectors check structures for compliance with code provisions for building construction, fire protection systems and safe operating practices. The Prevention Division consists of the Fire Marshal/ Deputy Chief of Prevention, two Fire Inspectors, two Public Educators and also directs 4 other personnel who are trained as fire investigators. The Fire Investigation Section is responsible for investigating fires of suspicious origin, fires that involve fatalities and those that result in large dollar loss. The Public Education Division provides fire and life safety programs to our business community, schools, community organizations and citizens. Preventing fires is without a doubt the most cost efficient form of fire protection.
Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention, Joe Bongiorno
Joe began his career with the Meridian Fire Department in 1999 as a volunteer. He earned his EMT Basic and Firefighter I certification within the first year and was hired full-time as a firefighter in 2003. He rose to the rank of Captain and in 2014 became a Captain of Fire Inspection. In 2017, he accepted the position of Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention. Joe has his Bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration, holds certifications as a Certified Fire Investigator from the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and he is also a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) with the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI). He holds an International Code Council Inspector I and Inspector II certification. He is a Certified Fire Marshal (FM) with CPSE credentialing. He has won 2 awards from The Association of Idaho Cities and the Idaho Association of Fire Chiefs for his work in school safety.
Joe is married with two daughters. His oldest daughter is pursuing a medical career in Kirkland, Washington, and his youngest daughter is married and works for the State of Idaho.
Fire Inspector, Kenny Bowers
Kenny Bowers joined the Meridian Fire Department in 1972 as a volunteer firefighter. He worked through the ranks and was appointed to acting Chief in 1984. He served in this capacity part-time until 1992 when he then moved into the position full time. Under Chief Bowers' direction, Meridian Fire built 3 new fire stations and equipped them with the necessary apparatus. He was instrumental in starting the Thermal Imaging Program, the Defibrillator Program and establishing Meridian Fire Department's Fire Safety Center which opened in 2005. In April of 2005, Kenny retired as our Fire Chief and took on the job of Assistant Fire Chief, then in 2006, he moved to the position of Fire Inspector in our Fire Prevention Division. Kenny is passionate about Life Safety in the Meridian Community for all of its citizens. He continues to be the face of the Department and inspects businesses and serves the community as one of our Fire Inspectors today.
Fire Inspector, John Overton
John was born and raised in Meridian. He spent four years in the US Navy on board the USS Augusta SSN 710, a Nuclear powered submarine. He spent another 8 years in the Idaho Air National Guard. During that time he got hired with the Meridian Fire Department as a volunteer Firefighter in 1994. Chief Bowers hired John as a full time Firefighter in 1998 and he was one of fourteen recruits that went through Nampa Fire’s Academy that year. John rose through the ranks and promoted to Captain in 2007. He was assigned to Station #5 at its opening that same year, and remained there until he moved into the Prevention Bureau in 2017. John holds the position of Fire Inspector/ Fire Investigator and holds both an ICC-1 certification and a IAAI-FIT certification.
John is the proud father of two kids. His son is a senior at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana and is a stand out wide receiver on the football team. His daughter is a senior in high school with a 4.0 GPA and is active in competitive cheer.
Public Education Division Manager, Pam Orr
Pam began her career in the fire service as a member of the United States Air Force. After serving 20 years in the military and holding many positions from Firefighter to Fire Chief, Pam retired and moved to Boise. In 2005, Pam joined the Meridian Fire Department as a Public Educator. Pam has developed many public education programs for Meridian Fire and is passionate about families and their safety. She absolutely loves teaching children and their families how to be safe. We thank Pam for her service to her country and are proud to have her on our team!
Fire Education Prevention Assistant, Herb Griffin
Herb was born and raised in Southern California. He started his Fire Service career in 1988 and spent 24 years with his hometown, Escondido Fire Department. During his career, he has worked as a Firefighter, Fire Engineer, Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, and as a Division Chief/Fire Marshal. Herb has a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Studies from California State University, Long Beach. After retiring, Herb and his wife, Stacey, relocated to Meridian. They enjoy outdoor activities, as well as attending all types of sports events.
Herb joined Meridian Fire in 2018. He is looking forward to sharing his passion for Fire Safety with the community.