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Posted on: September 16, 2020

Sterling Heights Fire Chief Announces Retirement

Christopher Martin, Sterling Heights Fire Chief since 2012 and a 31-year veteran of the Sterling Heights Fire Department, has announced his retirement effective Sept. 30, 2020.

“Chief Martin’s commitment to the safety of this community and dedication to the fire department over his career has been most commendable,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool. “Our fire department is recognized throughout the state of Michigan as one of the premier departments in the fire service. Locally, that reputation of excellence is reflected in our residents and businesses showing a 90 percent satisfaction rating with our city’s fire and police services. That’s only achievable with excellent leadership from the chief and command personnel, and the fine work of the firefighter/paramedics who protect and serve every day.”

Under Chief Martin’s administration, the fire department has enjoyed a number of achievements, including:

  • An outstanding response time of, on average, five minutes for every call, excellent safety procedures and low injury rates
  • A financially sustainable ALS Transportation Services model
  • Peer and behavioral health support options for firefighters involved in traumatic incidents
  • An improvement in ISO score from 4 to 2, which is among the best in the state and has resulted in lower homeowner insurance premiums
  • Development of a succession plan that resulted in the seamless hiring of over 50 new firefighters over the past few years
  • Two successful Safe Streets millage elections resulting in over 20 firefighter positions being retained
  • Facility improvements including new parking lots, new roofs and equipment replacements at all fire stations
  • Implementation of the highly popular Survival Coin Program to better educate the community on cardiac arrest, stroke and similar emergency incident survival tactics
  • City assistance for disaster relief in various events across the country
  • Consolidated dispatch services with the County which saved millions of dollars while retaining sworn police and fire positions
  • The City’s first ever Knox box system for all businesses and, in some cases, residential homes
  • Receipt of a SAFER grant along with numerous other State and Federal grants totaling more than $3 million in just the past few years alone 

In addition to these departmental accomplishments, Chief Martin:

  • Played a lead role in the development of the Macomb County Technical Rescue Team, serving as the team leader for more than 12 years
  • Played a lead role in the development of Michigan Task Force 1, the state’s only urban search and rescue team, currently serving as a task force leader
  • Served two terms as president of the Macomb County Fire Chiefs Association
  • Led the effort to raise $20,000 for the service dog named Sterling

“I have been extremely honored to serve the residents of this great community for over 31 years,” said Chief Martin. “When I joined the department, it had a great reputation, and it still does today. That’s a testament to all the exceptional employees who have been or still are a part of this great team, and I know they will continue to make the City proud for years to come.”

Martin, 53, rose through the ranks of the Sterling Heights Fire Department from paramedic to lieutenant in 2000, captain in 2007, battalion chief in 2011, interim fire chief in 2012 and culminating with his council confirmation to chief in December 2012.

“On behalf of the city council and myself, I thank Chief Martin for his many years of service and the drive and passion he brought to the department, resulting in the top-notch reputation of our fire department and, ultimately, the safety of our residents,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. “I wish him all the best in his retirement.”

According to Vanderpool, Assistant Chief Ed Miller has been named interim chief effective Oct. 1, 2020. He will remain in that role until the ongoing recruitment for the next permanent chief is complete.

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