The Great Bend Fire Department welcomed its new Fire Chief Luke McCormick as he has taken over for retired Fire Chief Mike Napolitano. McCormick has goals set for the department, focusing on getting a full staff and on safety for all.
“I am excited to be fire chief. I am ready to see what I can do for the citizens of Great Bend and Barton County and to the personnel of the fire department,” McCormick said. “I want to make sure the firefighters and the EMS crews have what they need to do their job and to keep the people of this city safe.”
McCormick grew up in Timken and graduated from Otis-Bison High School. In 1996 he graduated from Barton Community College with an EMS certificate and this is when his journey as a EMT and firefighter began.
“I was hired right after graduating from school as a rookie firefighter and worked my way up over the years. In 2008 I was promoted to captain and have been doing that until my recent promotion to chief,” McCormick said. “It will take some time getting use to this new schedule, not only for me but for my family as well. As along as I can remember I would spend 24 hours at the station on my days I had to work, but now being chief I will able to spend more time with my family.”
He is married with three children.
The new chief’s initial goal is to get the station fully staffed to 28 firefighters. The station has six spots open to qualified applicants.
“We are in the process of finding qualified people to fill these spots at the department,” McCormick said. “It is important to maintain a full staff to keep things running smoothly.”
In conjunction with the short-term goal of filling open spots is getting these new recruits the proper training they need to get them up to speed on daily activities of the fire department.
“The training of new members of the staff is very important,” McCormick said. “This training insures that the new people understand the daily activities of the station and to provide the type of services that we want to provide to the community.”
One of chief’s long-term goals is making sure his crews have all the right and updated equipment that is needed for the job.
“Equipment is very important to us to do our job and I want to make sure ours guys have that equipment. We are in the process of getting a new ambulance and a pumper truck. These two new pieces of equipment will allow us to perform our jobs to the highest standard,” McCormick said.
The biggest goal of McCormick is safety, not only for his crews but for the citizens of Great Bend and Barton County.
“Being chief you carry all the concerns of the department; you have to express these concerns to the city council. These concerns are about the safety of our guys and the people of this city,” McCormick said. “This is one of my main goals: to make sure everyone is safe doing their job by having all the proper equipment and safety gear and for the education of the public on fire safety and prevention.”