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Rocky View County welcomes new fire chief to municipal district

“RVC Fire Services needs to look at our future community needs and resources,” he said. “Our goal, moving forward, is moving ahead with some of our master plan initiatives which really define a future in needs."

Rocky View County (RVC) has announced the promotion of Ken Hubbard as the municipality’s newest fire chief, replacing former chief Randy Smith following his retirement earlier this month.

RVC Mayor Crystal Kissel made the official announcement of the transition at the regular council meeting on Dec. 13, following Smith’s notice of his retirement.

“Thank you, Chief Smith, for the extraordinary leadership you have shown during your time at Rocky View County,” Mayor Kissel said. “You will be greatly missed, but after 42 years in the fire services, this is certainly a well-deserved retirement.”

Kissel noted Hubbard has already demonstrated the ability to lead a team of fire service personnel and possesses a passion for the industry.

“The County and Fire Services [are] fortunate to be transitioning from one great leader to another,” she said. “Chief Hubbard has made a career out of learning, mentoring, empowering others and serving the community.

“We have every confidence in his new appointment as Rocky View County Fire Chief.”

Before joining RVC's firefighting department, Hubbard spent 35 years in Fire Services with the City of Airdrie, 17 of which he served as chief officer.

He joined RVC in March 2021 as a district fire chief and oversaw training and volunteer stations before transitioning to deputy fire chief, and now fire chief. 

Hubbard said he started his career with the City of Airdrie in 1986, contributing as a volunteer for 10 years before successfully landing a full-time gig with the municipality as a firefighter EMT.

“At that time, I took on the training portfolio because I had a passion for that and we needed assistance in our daily operations to do that,” he told the Rocky View Weekly.

In 2003, Hubbard progressed to the role of assistant chief of training and operations, in which he was responsible for both full-time fire and medical services, operations, and training, as well as overseeing a volunteer contingent.

Thereafter, the career fire professional was transferred to the role of Airdrie’s deputy chief in 2012, a role that was responsible for training and fire prevention.

“Operations were done by another party, but we still oversaw that a little bit and I stayed in that role up until 2021,” he said of his tenure with the City.

According to Hubbard, when he left the City of Airdrie’s fire department, he was looking for a new opportunity and he found a position that brought him full circle to the training focus he started his career in, working as a district fire chief for RVC.

He began the position approximately 18 months ago, and in that role, oversaw the County’s rural fire stations, training, and fire prevention.

“From that role, our deputy chief retired and I moved into that role in May of this year,” Hubbard said. “And with the retirement of Chief Smith, I moved into the fire chief position – the manager of fire services and emergency management.”

Hubbard said his extensive career experience lends itself well to the new role as fire chief, as he has the big picture in mind and an understanding of all aspects of fire and emergency services operations.

He added RVC Fire Services covers both small and large communities with the frequent aid of other local municipal fire services, covering a diverse environment in both rural and urban centres, so the role requires an understanding of those initiatives.

“[It requires] an understanding of how we provide service to different areas of the community depending on the population and the diversity of that area,” he said.

Additionally, Hubbard said the role requires care for the people within the department to prepare them for servicing the community.

“Training has always been a passion of mine and it is for Rocky View County, given we have some very tenured people as well as some new people that have joined our forces,” he said.

“It’s looking after their training initiatives to help them be better and more prepared to meet the challenges of our day-to-day incidents.”

He added succession planning is also a priority for the department to prepare fire services for upcoming retirements.

“Just like we’ve gone through a number of chief officer positions in the last year through a succession of retirements, we are also looking at retirements of some of our chief officers,” he said.

“Over the next two years, we’re estimating at least a third of those will be in a position [where] they can retire.”

He said replacing members of the department and having key staff on hand who are trained and experienced is a priority.

“And it all starts at the end of the day with prevention,” he said. “…we can help our citizens and work forces understand some of the prevention strategies to make sure they stay safe and avoid some of those unfortunate incidents from happening for our safety.”

Looking to the future, Hubbard said RVC Fire Services has worked for the last 18 months to identify some key areas in growth and development, and he would like to see the department work to that end.

“RVC Fire Services needs to look at our future community needs and resources,” he said. “Our goal, moving forward, is moving ahead with some of our master plan initiatives which really define a future in needs.

“There’s lots of development going on in our county and meeting those challenges, so we’re ready for when expansion is required.”

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