Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that Fire Chief John Huff will retire from Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR), effective Friday, June 12. Huff began his LFR career in 1974 as a firefighter. Mayor Beutler appointed him as Interim Fire Chief in April 2011 and Fire Chief in July 2012.
"John has been part of many changes in fire and rescue operations over his long career," Beutler said. "Over four decades, he has played key roles in the national accreditation process, the addition of ambulance service and the creation and leadership of the Urban Search and Rescue team. As he worked to keep Lincoln safe, he also served our country in times of disaster. On behalf of a grateful community, I want to thank John for his outstanding service and wish him well in his retirement."
"With Mayor Beutler's vision and your efforts, we have accomplished a great deal in the City, and I am very proud of the many improvements we have been able to make," Huff wrote in a note to other City Directors. "I have worked alongside excellent City colleagues during my more than 41 years. It has been my honor and privilege to serve as Fire Chief these past few years."
Huff has served LFR as company officer, Deputy Chief and Assistant Chief. He coordinated LFR's Hazardous Materials Program for more than 10 years, and represented LFR on the original Emergency Medical Services committee from 1991 to 1994.
Huff has been involved in the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Program based at LFR since its inception in 1991 and served as Task Force Leader for Nebraska Task Force 1. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, he spent 10 days directing search and rescue operations at the Pentagon. He also responded to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 2007 tornado in Greensburg, Kansas and many hurricanes, including Katrina in 2005.
Huff graduated from the Southeast Community College (SCC) Fire Protection Program and the National Fire Academy - Executive Fire Officer Program. He's been an instructor for the Community College Fire Science program and is a member of the Fire Protection Advisory Committee at SCC. He earned a bachelor's degree in Public Administration from Doane College in 1995.
Mayor Beutler said the process to select a new Fire Chief will be announced soon.