John O’Connell retired from the City of New York Fire Department (FDNY) after 26 years of service. As a member of the FDNY command staff at the World Trade Center incident, O’Connell was in charge of all underground search and rescue operations and acted as the FDNY liaison with contractors. He also was the shoring operations officer at the Oklahoma City bombing, and operated at both WTC attacks.

O’Connell is a principle member of the NFPA 1670 committee program and is the task group chair for the structural collapse section. He also serves as a member of the FEMA Incident Support Team at major disasters.

Over the last 20 years, he has been the lead instructor in curriculum development for the FDNY, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, and the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue system. In addition, he has been the lead shoring instructor for the FEMA US&R system as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, US&R branch. He has also taught the FEMA/USACE Structures Specialists training courses.

Connell is the president of Collapse Rescue Systems Inc., an international training company specializing in technical rescue, and has taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada, China, Germany, the Middle East, and Japan.