After more than 38 years working at the Lee’s Summit Fire Department, Chief Keith Martin has announced his retirement from one of the largest departments at the City, effective Sept. 22, 2014.
“It has been an honor to serve this community and to work with the fine members of the Lee’s Summit Fire Department,” said Chief Martin. “When I began my career in the fire service in Warrensburg, Mo., it was my goal to work for the Lee’s Summit Fire Department. The department was known throughout the state as one of the best fire and EMS services anywhere, and I wanted to be a part of that world.”
His wish became a reality in December of 1976, when he was hired as a firefighter for Lee’s Summit. Since that time, he has steadily moved up the ranks of the department. He became an engineer in 1977, a fire specialist in 1978, a paramedic in 1980, and a station captain in 1988. He was promoted to battalion chief in Fire Prevention in 1999, assistant fire chief in Prevention in 2000, and assistant fire chief II in 2004 before becoming the fire chief in 2009.
Lee’s Summit City Manager Steve Arbo said, “Chief Martin was selected to lead the fire department because of his exemplary leadership and professionalism. “Over the years, I have watched him utilize those skills to successfully lead the fire department personnel in their efforts to provide the best emergency services to our citizens. Our community is grateful to him and his outstanding team.”
Martin echoed the city manager’s response by saying, “Throughout my tenure, the department has always exhibited the highest level of professionalism in providing services to the citizens of Lee’s Summit and is something to be extremely proud of.”
He is also proud of many accomplishments of the men and women of the department throughout the years. Among those achievements:
Initiation of the accreditation process through the Center of Public Safety Excellence
Development of the Lee’s Summit Fire Department Strategic Plan and new departmental mission, vision, and core value statements
Adoption of the 2012 International Fire Code
Continual improvement in the average response time for emergency incidents
Safety education programs to youth and presentations to neighborhood and civic groups
Changes in cardiac arrest protocol and technology to save lives
Building of Fire Station No. 2, which is the recipient of the highly-coveted Silver Design Award from Fire Chief magazine
Completion of the federally mandated narrow banding of public safety radio frequencies and the upgrade of radio equipment to public safety standards
He is married, has three sons, and has resided in Lee’s Summit for 38 years.
Assistant Fire Chief Support Services Rick Poeschl will become the Lee’s Summit Fire Department’s acting fire chief on Sept. 23, 2014, and will remain in that position until the job is filled. The administration will begin working on a selection process to fill the fire chief position in the coming weeks.