About Us


Balefire is structured to extend professional services beyond the "safety program in a box" offerings prevalent in the marketplace today. With Balefire, you're treated as an individual and our services are tailored to meet your unique requirements.




Meet the Team

Dan Cerkan, President

Balefire Safety Systems is owned and operated by Dan Cerkan, President, MAS, CRSP, LtCol (ret). Dan is a former USMC Naval Aviator that served with distinction as the Aviation Safety Officer (FW/RW) for the Marine Corps, Director of Safety and Standardization or 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and White House Aircraft Commander at HMX-1,
the Presidential Flight Detachment.

  • Master of Aeronautical Science (MAS), Dual Concentrations in Aviation Safety Systems & Human Factors
  • Certified Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), International Society of Safety Professionals, 2016
  • MS, Aviation Safety Program Management, Safety Risk Management Trainer Certificates, U.S. D.O.T. (Transportation Safety Institute), 2013
  • IS-BAO Auditor, IBAC, 2013
  • HAI Accredited Auditor, 2015

Dana Gemmingen

Dana Gemmingen joined Balefire Safety Systems in 2017 and provides aviation, operations, construction, and project management expertise. Currently Mr. Gemmingen serves as an Aviation Safety consultant to SDG&E’s Cleveland National Forest Power Line Replacement Projects. Previous to this role, Mr. Gemmingen founded and managed Hesperia Construction Inc., a public works construction firm, and completed a successful and decorated career as a United States Marine Corps officer. While serving as a Marine, Mr. Gemmingen commanded a squadron, was Chief Instructor Pilot for all Naval Flight Training, directed regional aviation programs, and managed budgets of over $225M. Mr. Gemmingen brings sound and impactful leadership and adept team building skills to Balefire
Safety Systems.

Keith Cianfrani, MAS, CRSP

Keith Cianfrani is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, Master Army Aviator, and Instructor Pilot rated in both rotary and fixed wing aircraft. He was an accident investigator and safety officer for the U.S. Army Safety Center. He holds a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Safety from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Keith is a Certified Flight Instructor and is a member of the SMS Committee on The United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) as well as a member of Helicopter Association International (HAI) Safety Committee. Keith is currently working for the FAA and HAI on a Flight Data Recorder (FDM) Safety Research Project. He has flown commercial aircraft for over 30 years in around the Philadelphia and New York areas as well as the Gulf of Mexico. He is a Certified IS-BAO safety auditor, HAI Auditor, Tour Operators Program of Safety (TOPS) auditor and Wyvern auditor. He is also a member of International Society of Safety Professionals and The International Society of Air Safety Investigators. Keith is a safety author for Rotor and Wing Magazine and Rotor Magazine.

Ken Mazzola

Ken Mazzola is a San Diego-based captain on the Challenger 300 and CJ4 at MedImpact Holdings, Inc, where he serves as the standards and training captain and previously filled the role of Safety Manager, helping the flight department achieve Stage III IS-BAO certification.  A current CFI with 3000 hours of instruction given, Ken also works as a part-time simulator instructor in the CJ3 and CJ4 at Tru Simulation and Training in Carlsbad.   In 2014 Ken completed the USC Aviation Safety and Security graduate certificate program. Since 2016, Ken has served as the chairman of the Socal Aviation Association’s Safety Committee, advocating for aviation safety in Socal by organizing safety conferences and helping to facilitate a grass roots safety reporting system for the region. Ken has worked as a consultant for several local organizations to assist in achieving IS-BAH and IS-BAO registration.

Kyle Kerekffy

Kyle Kerekffy has been safely flying corporate jets well over 20 years and when the ISBAO standard was launched in the early 2000’s, Kyle’s was one of the first adopters to have his flight department registered. He currently flies and manages a brand-new Dassault Falcon 7X worldwide for a private family in S. California. Kyle specializes in Stg 1-3 corporate jet (fixed wing) audits. His past audits or current customers include (to name a few): Textron Aviation (Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker), Qualcomm, Disney, American Electric, Milliken & Co, Landmark Aviation, Visa, Ithaca and Windsor Media.



“Paradise Helicopters began working with Dan in December 2015 to complete the International Standard of Business Aircraft Operations accreditation. Prior to our auditor’s arrival they quickly reviewed our answers to standards and challenged our responses. Their ability to challenge and provide external feedback helped us to improve on our company procedures and implement further safety initiatives. Their hard-work was evident in their extensive final submission to the International Business Aviation Council.  In January 2016 Dan completed our Helicopter Association International Accreditation Program of Safety. With his help, Paradise Helicopters was able to be the first organization in the world to complete the accreditation process. Being the first quickly brought several shortfalls in the accreditation process but were quickly resolved by our auditor, Dan Cerkan, who worked with HAI staff to correct errors and prepare a better product for
future organization.

[Balefire] is by far an outstanding organization to use for SMS related audit opportunities. Their professionalism, commitment to excellence, and driven attitude are exactly what you want when working toward accreditations.”

Daniel Malakie

Paradise Helicopters