After working with the Williams Volunteer Fire Department for about 10 years, Chase Pearson recently became the agency's fire chief.
The 24 members of the department voted on leadership positions in December, and the new officers started their roles in January.
As fire chief, Pearson is responsible for being in command at fire scenes, monitoring day-to-day operations of the department, planning for its future needs and working with other city departments to approve building plans and help with fire inspections.
Pearson first got involved with the Williams Volunteer Fire Department as a cadet when he was 16.
"I think lots of kids want to be a firefighter when they grow up," Pearson said. "And growing up in the town of Williams I had a unique opportunity with the volunteer fire department to actually pursue that dream, that goal of actually being a fireman."
After completing his fire training through the Williams Volunteer Fire Department, Pearson completed an EMT class on his own. He now works full time as a firefighter and paramedic for the Fort Mohave Mesa Fire Department, where he works 48 hours on and 96 hours off.
"My academy through Williams and then just having some basic knowledge of fire fighting-it was definitely an advantage I had to get a full time job," Pearson said.
As the Williams fire chief, Pearson has several goals for the department. First, he wants to continue to develop the department's new reporting system, which helps with tracking calls and planning for the future.
"We can really get detailed reports about what types of calls we respond to and so that will help us with what type of equipment we might need, if we need it, and helps us with reporting requirements for the state to stay compliant," Pearson said.
Pearson also hopes to build on the response system that former fire chief Kevin Schulte set up. The new system notifies firefighters about calls through their cell phones in addition to their pagers, which has improved the department's response times. Now the firefighters also receive emergency call information by text message, which helps if they are in a bad reception area. Firefighters can then check in to a web-based system that displays who is responding to the call and where at each of the stations.
"With that system what it's allowed us to do is make sure that we're not leaving anybody behind that was showing up to the station," Pearson said. "It helps us just plan better. I think it's important that we send the right people and the right equipment to the call-nothing more, nothing less."
In addition, this year Pearson plans to review the department's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for how it responds to different calls.
"That's one thing that we need to do is review our SOPs and make sure that we're providing the best service that we can to the community," he said.
The house fire that took place in Williams on Jan. 16 was Pearson's first fire in his new position as chief. However, he has served as the incident commander on several other fires in the past. According to Pearson, the department responded well to the recent single story structure fire.
"Our roles, our responsibilities are pretty well defined and we practice those a lot, so when that type of call comes out, everybody knows exactly what needs to be done, and although the order might change somewhat from fire to fire, it's easy to get everyone on the same page and everyone just works and does their job," he said.
Pearson added that with the support of the city and the community, the volunteer fire department uses a thorough training program that follows state and national guidelines to prepare them for those types of emergencies.
"It's benefited the city to have all of that, that we have so many people that are highly trained in what they do," he said.