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Canada named Gainesville fire chief

POSTED: March 4, 2008 7:19 p.m.
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New Gainesville fire Chief Jon Canada

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Gainesville Fire Chief Jon Canada saw the word "interim" removed from his title Friday, as he was officially named chief of the 75-person, four-station department after a four-month trial run in the role.

"It’s a great feeling and it’s a lot of responsibility, but this has been a long-term goal of mine, to obtain the title of chief," Canada said. "I’m excited, I’m honored and I’m humbled, all at the same time."

Canada, 38, a native of Gainesville, has been with the department for 14 years. He rose through the ranks after joining at age 23, from firefighter to apparatus operator to lieutenant, captain and most recently battalion chief.

He was named interim chief in November following the retirement of former Fire Chief Dick Taylor.

Canada led the department through its critical ISO review in December, when officials from the Insurance Service Organization evaluate the level of fire protection in a community. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best possible score, Gainesville has an ISO rating of 2. Officials hope to maintain that rating. Results of December’s review are expected sometime next month.

Gainesville City Manager Bryan Shuler said Canada was "instrumental in preparing the department for a successful ISO review."

Shuler said the city received a number of applicants for the job, both inside and outside the department.

"Jon was selected based on his experience and his demonstrated leadership capabilities, both before and during his time as interim fire chief," Shuler said.

Canada’s contract is up for renewal annually.

The main short-term goals for the new chief are planning and eventually moving into new facilities, and further development of training procedures for fire department personnel.

"Things change every day, our responsibilities change every day, and I look forward to leading them in that direction," Canada said.



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