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Whistler appoints new fire chief

Former City of Vancouver chief John McKearney takes command next month

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The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has a new fire chief.

The municipality announced the hiring of former City of Vancouver fire chief John McKearney in a press release on Oct. 16.

"We are very pleased to welcome John to our organization as he begins the Whistler Fire Rescue Service chapter of his career," said RMOW chief administrative officer Mike Furey in the release.

"John brings extensive experience in firefighting work as well as organizational leadership and will be great asset to the team."

McKearney comes to Whistler from the City of Vancouver, where he started as a floor firefighter and worked his way up the ranks, serving as lieutenant on the rescue squad and training officer before being promoted to deputy chief and then fire chief.

"Not only does John have an incredibly strong track record for leading firefighting efforts for the City of Vancouver, but he also has served in several leadership roles for associations across British Columbia and Canada," said general manager of corporate and community services Ted Battiston in the release.

"I look forward to his leadership as we work to continue to deliver a high level of fire and rescue services to our resort community."

McKearney is a member of both the Institute of Fire Engineers and the Metro Fire Chiefs Association. He served as past director of the Fire Chiefs Association of BC and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, and was part of the British Columbia Fire Commissioner's Diversity Taskforce. His resume also includes earning an Executive Chief Fire Officer designation though Harvard University's Senior Fellowship Fire Executive Program.

McKearney will assume command next month, replacing outgoing fire chief Geoff Playfair, who announced his retirement in May.

"I would like to thank Geoff for his years of service," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden in the release.

"Please join me in wishing Geoff continued success, and welcoming John to his new role (with) the Whistler Fire Rescue Service. Our community is lucky to have such dedicated and talented individuals contributing to matters of public safety."

The fire chief reports to the general manager, corporate and community services and is accountable for organizing and commanding firefighting operations and other emergency situations as well as supervising the overall administration and operation of the fire rescue service. The chief provides the RMOW with a comprehensive and cost-effective fire service and emergency response program.

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