By Kayla Anderson
Following Chris Maples retirement, the City of Sparks has named a new fire chief who plans on finishing out the rest of his career with Sparks Fire. New Fire Chief Jim Reid has been with the fire department for more than 22 years and has ideas for how to keep the community safe and secure during Sparks booming growth.
Sparks Fire recently announced that it will be hiring more firefighters and working on constructing a sixth fire station on the north end of town.
“Our biggest goal is to get Station 6 up and running in the next few years and I’m looking forward to being able to hire more firefighters. We haven’t had a new fire station in about 15 years; it’ll be a while before we can open Station 6 but I’m excited to be here when it happens,” says Reid. Sparks Fire has also implemented a new paramedic program with firefighters also able to handle medical emergencies.
“We will hopefully have enough people to do at least one more engine downtown; this is important to our citizens as it allows us to administer life-saving cardiac drugs on site,” Reid adds. He’s also excited to work with different city leaders and department heads at this new level to be able continue moving the city forward.
Reid started his career in firefighting working as a seasonal wildland firefighter in college (“It gets in your blood,” he says), but in the mid-90s there weren’t a lot of permanent jobs available. As he started to grow his family, Reid yearned for a position that was more stable and year-round and soon found Sparks Fire. He started as a fireman then worked his way up to a driver, captain, battalion, then division chief. He believes that the Sparks Fire department is the perfect size and that there is a lot of potential for what the department can provide for the city.
“We’re not small but we’re not big, so I still know everyone’s name. It’s a family department; with us at 90 people it’s nice to be able to know everyone,” he says. “I’m excited about the growth that the city is experiencing, the downtown area is changing dramatically which will provide some new opportunities as well as the development up north,” Reid adds.
He is also looking forward to getting more involved with social media and using that as a vehicle to become more integrated with the community in communicating to people know what Sparks Fire is up to.
As far as the last piece of advice former Sparks Fire Chief Chris Maples gave Reid before he passed the torch, he says that Maples gave him plenty of advice over the years but simply told him “good luck” in his new role.
“I’ve been his assistant for the last four years, so we’ve been pretty close. I just want to keep on the same path moving forward with the city and the department. I’m excited about the new position and the new opportunities it presents,” Reid says.