Thursday, Amarillo welcomed a new Fire Chief for the Amarillo Fire Department.
The department's year-long search came to an end Thursday, when it announced Jeff Greenlee as the new Fire Chief, a position that had been vacant for nearly a year ago when former Fire Chief Steve Ross retired. Most recently, Greenlee had served as the District Chief for the City's Hazmat Program.
Greenlee told NewsChannel 10 he's excited for the change. In fact, he already had some goals for the department in mind, more training being one of them.
29-year-old Chris Westbrook is only one of the 250 firefighters manning all 12 of the Amarillo stations.
I've only been on the job for eight months so I'm still considered a rookie," said Westbrook.
But, he's not the only rookie.
"We have a fairly young department just due to turnover and the cycle," said Greenlee. "We've got a lot of young people so we'd like to concentrate on training."
Added focus on training is something Greenlee is bringing to the table.
"We have a training building on the east side of town where we have a burn building where we simulate fire environments," he said.
"You work not only on EMS skills, working with patients, patient care, but you also work on your firefighting skills," explained Westbrook. "Stuff that you won't do every day."
Because in this high risk job, it's all about being prepared.
"This is a very high hazard job and if you run into something that you haven't trained on or touched on in a few years you know," said Westbrook. "It could be life threatening."
Safety is the department's number one priority, Greenlee said. The training helps those firefighters be better prepared to protect their own lives, and better prepared to help save the lives of others.
"The goal in moving forward would be to push the bar higher in honor of the service and memory of the generations before us," said Greenlee.
"The better we are trained, the faster we can help them, the better we can help them," added
Westbrook. "possibly save their life or you know, their property."
AFD is also in the process of constructing a 13th fire station. Greenlee says they still need to hire five more firefighters to create a full team for that location.