Leitchfield Fire Chief Jerry Schlosser recently spoke with The Grayson County News-Gazette to set the record straight about his retirement plans and goals for the remainder of his time as chief.
Schlosser said he tentatively plans to retire as Leitchfield Fire Chief on July 22, his 70th birthday, because his age and health is making it “harder and harder to get up and respond [to fire runs].”
Additionally, Schlosser said he wants to be able to spend more time with his three granddaughters and one-month-old great-grandchild.
However, Schlosser said he set a number of goals he wanted to see completed during his tenure as Leitchfield Fire Chief, and he has completed all of them but one.
First, Schlosser wanted to open the door for more female firefighters—the Leitchfield Fire Department (LFD) now has three female firefighters.
He also wanted to recruit younger firefighters—10 new firefighters have been added to the LFD with their average age being 36, Schlosser said.
He wanted to purchase new equipment—the LFD purchased a newer truck from Hardinsburg this past year.
And finally, Schlosser said that, before he retires, he wants to see the City of Leitchfield’s insurance ranking on fire protection improved from a rank 5 to a rank 4, which he says will give Leitchfield residents some relief on their fire insurance premiums.
“That’s one thing I’m really pushing for,” said Schlosser, who wants to remain Leitchfield Fire Chief until the ranking is improved, even if that does not happen before July 22.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) ranks cities based on their fire protection on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the highest ranking, and 10 being the lowest), Schlosser said.
Leitchfield’s fire protection is observed on an annual basis, but the LFD has not been ranked in person by ISO personnel in 11 years, Schlosser said.
During those 11 years, the LFD has made numerous upgrades—such as building a new training center and firehouse, increasing its membership, and purchasing new fire trucks—that make Schlosser confident the City of Leitchfield can see its ranking improved.
“I’m proud of what we’ve got, and I don’t think we’re getting enough credit for it,” Schlosser said.
While there has been some concern about whether the City of Leitchfield should open itself up for the ISO and the possibility that the city’s fire protection ranking might actually be hurt rather than helped, Schlosser said he feels this possibility is “highly unlikely.”
“If they thought there was a reason to lower us, they would already be here looking at us,” he said. “I’m very optimistic.”
Schlosser said he is in the process of coordinating with the ISO to have the city’s fire protection observed; however, he isn’t sure when the total process will be completed.
The LFD’s bylaws currently state that officers with the fire department can move up when one retires or steps down, so the First Assistant Leitchfield Fire Chief would traditionally have the option of becoming the new Leitchfield Fire Chief when the position is vacated.
Leitchfield Mayor William Thomason said the city has traditionally allowed the LFD to select its own chief; however, the Mayor and City Council have final approval in regards to selecting a new fire chief, which they may have to exercise because of the high number of individuals currently seeking the position.