Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020

The History of US Life Safety, Inc.

Steve Burchesky In 1973, Steve Burchesky started his career in employee safety and training when he was hired by Universal Learning Systems of Los Angeles, California. The company produced hands-on instructional training programs for company employees. Clients were top drawer companies; Eastman Kodak, The Bekins Company, Chevron Oil, Bausch & Lomb, Xerox to mention a few. At first, Steve handled photography and program design. Soon, because of his organizational skills, Steve also took on the title of Production Manager.

In 1980, Los Angeles adopted a new fire code requiring high-rise building owners to provide instructional training for building occupants. The training covered what to do in the event of fire, earthquake, bomb threat or medical emergency. Steve and crew shifted gears and in a span of four years, produced over 150 custom site-specific training programs for corporations in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, and Pittsburgh.

In 1984, after eleven beneficial learning years and being the company's lead technical writer Steve hung out his own shingle, AVID Productions. He continued producing employee safety and training with an emphasis in occupant training and preparedness in high-rise buildings. In 1989, Steve moved to the Pittsburgh area and after September 11, 2001, AVID Productions took on a more easily recognizable name, US Life Safety which was later incorporated in January of 2003.

Today, US Life Safety, Inc. has provided services in emergency plan research and writing, producing custom site-specific emergency procedure videos, preparedness consulting and of course the company's remarkable emergency preparedness management service, Life-Counts®.

US Life Safety Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is a carefully selected group of professionals in related fields that we have known for many years. Their background ranges from fire service, safety and training to risk control, security and business management. We draw upon these individuals for input, to offer suggestions and make recommendations for the good of the company.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Safety Manager - Retired

U. S. Fire Administration, Deputy Fire Administrator - Retired

Battalion Chief, Pasadena Fire Department, California - Retired

Executive Director of the Capital Area Intermediate Unit

Executive Vice-President and Chief Security Officer for Wells Fargo and Co. - Retired

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Safety Manager - Retired

Lawrence Bannister Mr. Bannister has a background of business management. He has been with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since 1994 in the capacity of FEMA Safety Manager, retiring from FEMA Headquarters in 2007. He spent 17 years management in the steel industry with Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Baltimore, MD; 15 Years as Senior Risk Control Officer at DeKalb County (Atlanta, GA) Government; His certifications included: Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Comprehensive Practice, Board of Certified Safety Professionals; Certified in Homeland Security (CH-III), American Board of Certification in Homeland Security. Mr. Bannister's specialties include: Emergency Preparedness, OSHA Outreach Instructor in both General Industry Standards and the Construction Industry Standards; First Aid, CPR, and AED Instructor Training.


  • Customer Service Certificate-from Federal Coordinating Officer & State Coordinating Officer
  • Nebraska Assignment 2010
    Two letters of Commendation & an "Excellent Performance" appraisal
  • Nebraska Assignment 2010
    Federal Coordinating Officer's coveted "Gold Coin" award
  • Nebraska Assignment 2010

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U. S. Fire Administration, Deputy Fire Administrator - Retired

Charlie Dickinson Chief Dickinson began his 46-year fire service career as a firefighter in 1962 in the City of Hayward, California, Fire Department. Rising through the ranks, he was promoted to Battalion Chief in 1981 and served for three years (1983-86) in the Hayward Fire Department as the city's Emergency Services Coordinator.

In 1986, Chief Dickinson was appointed as an Assistant Fire Chief of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bureau of Fire. As an Assistant Chief, managed the Operations Division and the Training Division. In September of 1988, he was appointed to the position of the Fire Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire and served in that capacity for 10 years before retiring from the Bureau in 1998. As Fire Chief, he was responsible for operations, and training, for both FIRE and EMS response within the bureau, as well as all Fire Prevention activity's, through a work force of firefighters, officers and staff of 875 and 32 fire stations

Throughout his career, Chief Dickinson has served on numerous committees and projects for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other national organizations. He has also been a frequent instructor in the Command and Control Curriculum at USFA's National Fire Academy.

Chief Dickinson was appointed as Deputy Administrator by President Bush, in April of 2002. As the Deputy USFA Administrator, Chief Dickinson managed all day-to-day operations of the USFA's National Emergency Training Center (NETC) facility and oversaw all projects and programs of the USFA as assigned by the USFA Administrator and FEMA leadership.

A sampling of career highlights as Deputy United States Fire Administrator:

  • Acting USFA Fire Administrator (October 2005 until July 2007)
  • Lead the USFA’s transition from FEMA to DHS Preparedness (2005/2006)
  • Directed the retooling and national roll out of EENET into PREPnet.
  • Oversight of the implementation of the USFA Action Plan
  • Facilitated and coordinated in 2001 the implementation of the Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program (AFGP)
  • Led the National Federal Fire Working Group
  • Represented USFA on the National Wildland Fire Leadership Council
  • Coordinating all NFA training development and USFA activities to support of the President's and Department of Homeland Security's National Incident Management System (NIMs) efforts.
  • Immediately after Katrina, directed the deployment through FEMA of approximate 4,000 (2 person firefighter teams) to Community Relations/Liaison Teams in the 3 state Katrina immediate impact area.
  • Immediately after 9-11 working directly with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) World Trade Center Incident Commander (WTC-IC), FDNY Fire Command Officers, and Federal Forest Service Overhead Team, and US Fire Administration deployed staff helped to establish an ICS system with operational area's at ground zero including an operational Planning Section Following Hurricane Katrina with its devastating impact on the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) requested of the U. S. Fire Administration assistance to plan for their recovery and reconstitution. Chief Dickinson directed this effort which resulted in the establishment of a cooperative agreement with the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The process involved a facilitated process with a small group of nationally recognized experts providing technical recommendations and planning assistance to NOFD.

Chief Dickinson continues to volunteer his time by working with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) to remember fallen firefighters and their family survivors supporting the NFFF funding as the National Golf Coordinator for 39 Local Fund Raising Tournaments during 2010 for the NFFF. Chief Dickinson continues to speak at national conferences and conventions on subjects such as Fire Incident Command Operations and Prevention Programs.

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Battalion Chief, Pasadena Fire Department, California - Retired

Fred Law Chief Law began his fire service career as a fire fighter with the Pasadena (CA) Fire Department and successfully rose through the ranks within his department serving in every position. His work experience includes: Emergency Medical Services Division - Battalion Chief. Emergency Operations Division - Battalion Chief. Additional responsibilities in the position were facilities administrator, volunteer program administrator, technology committee, IAFC, Self Assessment Task Force, Tri-city training coordinator for Haz Mat / FRO training and MCI / ICS, purchasing administrator for uniforms, supplies, PPE and apparatus.

Training and Safety Division, Battalion Chief, developed/implemented training and safety plans, mitigated Cal/OSHA citations and implemented safety policies. Fire Administration - Acting Fire Chief, Acting Deputy Fire Chief. Oversight of promotional exams, city representative through labor negotiations. Fire and Environmental Safety Division, Fire Marshal: management of fire prevention inspectors, haz mat inspections, building plan check, special event planning and 1994 FIFA World Cup Coordinator.

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Adjunct Professor, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA

GLENN ZEHNER Dr. Glenn Zehner served as the Executive Director of the Capital Area Intermediate Unit, located in Summerdale, PA, from 1999-2007. He also served as Superintendent of Schools in the East Pennsboro Area School District in Enola, PA. Currently he is an adjunct professor at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA , a member of the Central Penn College Board of Directors in Summerdale, PA and serves as an educational. consultant. He has had an interest in school emergency planning and helped his staff members develop written procedures for natural and man-made disasters.

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Executive Vice-President and Chief Security Officer for Wells Fargo and Co. - Retired

Mr. Wipprecht recently retired as an Executive Vice-President and Chief Security Officer for Wells Fargo and over 280,000 employees.

Mr. Wipprecht is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP). He has been a national speaker at American Society of Industrial Security, American Bankers Association and the American Law Firm Association. He has appeared on all major news networks as a security expert. In addition, he has taught several college level security management courses.

Mr. Wipprecht is a member of the Chiefs Special Agent' Association, the International Security Manager's association (ISMA), and the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS). He is past president of the American Banker's Association, American Banker's Association, ASIS National Security Committees and the Chiefs Special Agents Association.

Mr. Wipprecht developed and implement the Wells Fargo & Co. Workplace Violence Program and from that experience, he authored the book, "Workplace Violence in the Financial Institutions". He has contributed numerous security articles published and has served on several national task forces.

Mr. Wipprecht is currently a business consultant with Shetler Security Services, Inc. of Phoenix Arizona . SSSI is a multi-state security company that provides professional, quality security officers to a variety of business and organizations clients that serve in many different industries with a commitment to professionalism.

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Last updated on Tuesday, 11:46:07 AM (EST), April 16, 2019