The chief of Red Deer Emergency Services has received international recognition.
Ken McMullen was a recipient of the International Association of Fire Chiefs President’s Recognition Award this week.
Each year at the general session of Fire-Rescue International, the IAFC president honours individuals from the fire service for outstanding performance and dedicated service to the association.
McMullen, whose firefighting career has lasted 25 years so far, was one of a handful of individuals to receive the President’s Recognition Award during this year’s session in San Antonio, Texas, which took place from Wednesday to Friday.
“I did not know this was coming, so when my name was called I was certainly surprised,” McMullen told The Advocate.
“There was a list of some of the most amazing mentors of mine who were recipients of similar awards (Friday) morning. Twenty years ago, I never would have pictured myself in the company of which I stood.”
The IAFC is a network of more than 12,000 fire chiefs and emergency officers around the world.
McMullen was specifically recognized for his longstanding work with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, and the work he has been doing to support the mental health of firefighters.
“We are doing everything we can to learn from the experiences of those who have struggled as first responders and do everything we can to get better policies and procedures in place to prevent that from happening to others,” he said.
“I can’t take credit for all of the work that’s been done – those around us are doing a great deal of work on this particular issue of mental health with first responders. I’m just doing my part to make sure this conversation doesn’t stop.”
This isn’t the first time McMullen has received a high level of recognition. He was also awarded the 2020 Career Fire Chief of the Year by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, a nonprofit organization that represents three major types of fire departments in Canada.
McMullen started his career as a volunteer firefighter with the Municipal District of Rocky Views – at the time he lived in Irricana and worked as a social worker. Eventually, he became a full-time firefighter there. He trained as a fire inspector and investigator there as well and took on those roles with the Municipal District of Rocky View.
He became a provincial fire investigator for Alberta, based in its Calgary office, before becoming the assistant fire chief for the City of Airdrie. He then worked for both the City of Calgary’s fire department and the city’s emergency management agency. McMullen was named Red Deer’s fire chief in 2018.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter