Harry Joseph James Cusick, a nationally recognized critical incident and disaster management executive and former director of Penn’s Fire and Occupational Safety Department (now Fire and Emergency Services), died September 17. He was 73.
Mr. Cusick came to Penn after an extensive career that included command positions in the Philadelphia Fire Department, where he started the Hazardous Materials Administrative Unit; national responsibilities with the environmental firm Roy Weston Company; directing a graduate program at St. Joseph’s University; and extensive consulting experience. Mr. Cusick had a national reputation in the field of critical incident and disaster management and was a leader in the area of fire and emergency medical services.
At Penn, where he worked from 1998 to 2001, Mr. Cusick oversaw the integration of the Fire and Occupational Safety Department into the Division of Public Safety and started the development of the University’s critical incident and disaster management plans, helping to meet the challenges of the new millennium. After leaving Penn, he went on to teach crisis management and incident command for the US Department of Defense at locations around the world.
Mr. Cusick is survived by his wife, Cecelia; children, Cecelia and Harry J. (Theresa); grandchildren, Rachael, Claire and Dominic James; sisters, Rita Schmidlin and Anne (John Coyle); brother, John (Joan); and eight Godchildren; and many nieces and nephews.