By Dedra Cordle
A battalion chief plays an integral role in a fire department.
“They work in an administrative capacity as a liaison between us and the firefighters, they manage the emergency response side on a scene, and they oversee the day-to-day operations inside the stations,” said Jackson Township Fire Chief Randy Little.
It is a huge responsibility, he said, because there are so many roles they have to fill.
“We need a battalion chief to have strong communication skills, a high level of professional management abilities and be someone we can rely on to be that go-between,” he said.
Recently, they had relied on long-time firefighter Chuck Strader to be one of the three battalion chiefs but recently had to start a new search upon his retirement.
A panel of professionals were convened – two of those were from inside of the fire department and three were outside of the department – and the interview process began in earnest.
There were two candidates who applied for the position and Little said both would have fit the role perfectly.
“We are very fortunate as a department to have so many people who could fill a great leadership role,” he said.
Ultimately, the panel chose Capt. Jason Burley to become the battalion chief of one unit.
The board of trustees also approved the promotion during the Nov. 27 trustees meeting.
According to Burley, he has wanted to be a firefighter ever since he can remember.
“I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my brother, John, who also happens to be a firefighter here,” he said.
He began his career more than 20 years ago at the Pleasant Township Fire Department but came to Jackson Township in a full-time capacity in 1998. He has been with the department since.
“There’s no other place I would rather be,” he said.
Burley said he sought the position of battalion chief because of how he views their duties to both the department and the community.
“I care deeply about this community, about this department and I want to be a good role model and really try to make a difference.”
He said he credits Little, assistant fire chief Shawn Quincel and current and retired battalion chiefs for his work ethic and outlook.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without their mentorship.”
In other township news, the last regular board of trustees meeting will be held Dec. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the Township Administrative Building, located at 3750 Hoover Road. The following year will see a switch in evening and afternoon meeting times. Beginning on Jan. 8 – the first regular meeting of the year – the board will hold its first regular meeting of the month at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise. It will hold its second meeting of the month at 1:30 p.m. unless noted otherwise. For the complete meeting schedule dates, visit www.jacksontwp.org.