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Canadian city appoints first female fire chief

Karen Fry said she plans to get the firefighters “out in the public and engaging the community more”

By FireRescue1 Staff

NANAIMO, British Columbia — Nanaimo appointed their first female chief to take the reins of the fire department.

Nanaimo Bulletin reported that Karen Fry will take over for retired Chief Craig Richardson at Nanaimo Fire Rescue. She is the first female chief of a career-structured fire department for Nanaimo and Vancouver Island.

Fry is an 18-year veteran of the fire service; she started in Nanaimo as a dispatcher.

She said her top priorities are to implement a recently-adopted fire plan, ensure working smoke alarms are protecting the community and providing support and resources for employees dealing with physical and emotional trauma.

“Under my leadership, be prepared to see our incredible firefighters out in the public and engaging the community more. They will take on opportunities to provide fire safety education, install free smoke alarms and teach bystander CPR and emergency planning,” Fry said.

“Karen’s past work in the role of deputy chief really stood out and her firm but fair approach to problem solving has earned her the respect of her colleagues and crews,” Nanaimo’s Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra said. “She has consistently demonstrated an ability to think critically, to take a high-level approach when resolving operational issues and to get things done. We are delighted she has accepted this important leadership role.”


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