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Duluth Fire Department campaigns to add another deputy chief

DULUTH, MN– Some changes could be coming to the Duluth Fire Department. The department is asking the City to allow them to add a third deputy fire chief.  They want this person to focus on training within the department, that is if it’s approved by the city council.

The Duluth Fire Department wants some change. Specifically, how much training firefighters receive.

“Our mission has widened, and we just have more hazards to train for,” said Fire Chief Dennis Edwards.

The fire department is looking to switch around positions within the department to make this happen.

“In the charter, it calls for the fire department to have two deputy fire chiefs. And we’d like to change a position within our fire department from a training officer to a deputy chief of training, and that’ll make it a more efficient way to administer a more robust training program that we have planned,” said Edwards.

But they still plan to keep some things the same.

“There will still be a training officer, but they’ll also be a training committee made up of the firefighters that we have, and they’ll also assist with this enhanced training program,” said Edwards.

Besides more training–ranging from hazardous material response, to drone training for search and rescue–the fire department wants the potential change to provide a better organizational structure.

“It’ll allow us to change our organizational structure to match best industry practice. So if you look at fire departments of our size across the country, it’ll be set up more like we want to do it where there’s different divisions and there’s a deputy chief having more contact, more time to run their own division,” said Edwards.

While better preparing firefighters.

“It’ll make it so the training that we do here better reflects what we do for the community and it’ll allow our firefighters to be more efficient at what they do when they go out the door,” said Edwards.

And better serving the community.

“And that’s why we’re looking to just organizationally change the structure of how we look here at Duluth fire and make it safer for our firefighters and better response for our public,” said Edwards.

Officials said this change is nearly a non-cost factor.
A public hearing is set for Monday during the city council meeting.

CeCe Gaines

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