Redmond’s new fire chief has a heavy workload

Although Tommy Smith had been in charge of a fire department three times as big as the Redmond Fire Department (RFD) before coming to the city, the new fire chief’s workload has not changed much.

New Redmond Fire Department Chief Tommy Smith previously led the Colorado Springs Fire Department in Colorado.

Although Tommy Smith had been in charge of a fire department three times as big as the Redmond Fire Department (RFD) before coming to the city, the new fire chief’s workload has not changed much.

The former interim fire chief for the Colorado Springs Fire Department in Colorado Springs, Colo. said going from a department with 21 fire stations and almost 500 employees to one with only seven stations and about 160 employees has not changed how busy his job keeps him.

“What I’m finding out is the load and the pace is just as fast,” Smith said about coming to the City of Redmond.

Smith, who has been at work for a little more than two weeks, said things in Redmond are a little bit more complex than in Colorado Springs because it is more of a regional approach to emergency response. Collaborating with and supporting agencies from other jurisdictions adds another layer of complexity to the job that he didn’t have in Colorado Springs, where that city was bigger and had more resources to respond to an emergency without the assistance of other agencies unless it was on a larger scale or on the outskirts of town.

Smith has spent part of his time going out to all of the fire stations in town to meet his employees, introduce himself and discuss his expectations with them.

“It’s been great,” he said about meeting all the different crews.

Smith has been to all seven stations but not all of the shifts, so he still hasn’t met everyone from the RFD.

As the new fire chief, Smith said his mission is to make sure his decisions are driven by what is best for the organization and the people in it. He said his first priority is to ensure the department is able to do things and have the resources and training to accomplish the department’s goals of ensuring life safety, incident stability and property conservation when responding to emergencies.

Smith, who has been a firefighter for 22 years, has also been working with Redmond Police Chief Ron Gibson on a public safety strategic plan for the city. The plan will act as a guide with goals for what they aim to provide for the community as the public safety branch of Redmond’s government.

Jeri Rowe-Curtis, chief communications officer for the City of Redmond, said while fire and police have distinct functions within the community, they also have similar functions in solving problems, public safety and protecting the community.

“I think having a shared vision for that strategic plan…makes sense,” she said. “Coordination makes sense, because though the tactics are different for police and fire, the ‘all-hazards’ approach for Redmond means that both departments have a significant and coordinated role in keeping the community safe.”

Rowe-Curtis said this is the fire department’s master plan that goes back to 1990, but the police department has not had one before this. So in addition to a first-time partnership between the two departments, this is also a first-time plan for the police department. Another first is the city’s Planning Department helping the two chiefs on the plan on a consulting basis.


More in News

Locked up and poor

King County courts use money bail to incarcerate defendants before trial. Should the system be reformed?

Tasveer South Asian Film Festival sheds light on underrepresented stories

TSAFF focuses on Pakistan in this year’s film festival.

The Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted a video of the situation as seen through their traffic cameras. Screenshot courtesy of the WSDOT Twitter account
UPDATE: Man peacefully in custody after 520 bridge standoff

Police closed all lanes on the floating bridge after finding an uncooperative driver had a shot gun.

Redmond mayor’s ‘Day of Concern’ food drive is this weekend

This year’s food drive will be on Sept. 22-23 at the Bella Bottega QFC.

Kirkland firefighters and Puget Sound Energy staff examine the aftermath of a four-hour fire that destroyed the Rose Hill Village and “annihilated” Decks and Spas. Kailan Manandic/staff photo
Locals rally around business incinerated by Rose Hill fire

A GoFundMe campaign for Kirkland’s Decks and Spas, formerly of Redmond, has raised $11,995 to rebuild the business.

Redmond Historical Society marks milestones amid many changes

Group celebrates 15 years of walking tours, which give glimpses into community’s colorful past.

Photos courtesy of Trooper Rick Johnson
Troopers seek hit and run suspect, call on public for help

The Washington State Patrol asked locals for any information to identify the vehicle and suspect.

County officials warn of more HIV transmissions among homeless drug users

A group of eight recently homeless and heterosexual injection-drug users in north… Continue reading

Most Read