Washington, DC -- Dick Hainje, a 23-year veteran of the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Department and a member of the South Dakota state legislature, has been appointed director of Region VII for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Director Joe M. Allbaugh announced today.
FEMA's Region VII is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., and oversees agency operations in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
"Dick brings a combination of experience to Region VII that is unbeatable. His understanding of state and local government and emergency response will make him effective as my representative," said Allbaugh. "His leadership will be invaluable as FEMA works with its partners on preparedness for and response to disasters."
Hainje was elected to the state senate in 1996 and re-elected in 1998 and 2000, and spent four years on the state's Appropriations Committee. He joined the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue department in 1977 and rose through the ranks to division fire chief of prevention in 1999. Part of his responsibilities included injury prevention and fire safety programs for school children. Hainje worked closely with FEMA during the floods of 1997, when South Dakota and other states were threatened with spring flooding. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Conference of State Legislatures.