Criner named Fire Chief of the Year

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Siloam Springs Fire Chief Jeremey Criner receives the Fire Chief of the Year award during the Arkansas Firefighters Convention June 11 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Criner, who received the award from Mayor Judy Nation at the June 21 city council meeting, was also named president of the Arkansas Association of Fire Chiefs while in Hot Springs.

Nominations came from the Criner Department, City Administrator Phillip Patterson, Rogers Fire Chief Tom Jenkins and Pittsburg, Kan., Fire Chief Dennis Reilly.

“It’s very humbling,” Criner said. “It’s one of those things I didn’t expect, but I’m certainly proud of all the accomplishments we’ve had in Siloam Springs.”

The Siloam Springs Fire Department listed several projects, including the department’s accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Ambulance Services (CAAS) in 2018 and re-accreditation in 2021, according to the appointment letter.

Other projects include securing funding for equipment and instructors to enable the fire department to become the Northwest Arkansas regional provider for fast water rescue technician training through from the Arkansas Fire Academy and assume responsibility for weather operations and early warning systems in the city, the letter said.

Patterson praised Criner’s leadership and his effect on morale and personal growth demonstrated by the department in his letter.

“Under Chief Criner’s leadership, our fire department has grown in size and capacity,” Patterson said in his letter. “Chief Criner championed several major projects for the department, including the complete replacement of the fire apparatus fleet, the construction of a live-fire training center, the reconstruction and renovation of the fire station 2, a special operations team and, with the police department, a new radio communication system.”

Patterson also noted that Criner currently serves as president of the Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Fire Chiefs’ Association and has managed contracts, cooperative agreements and mutual aid policies with several neighboring communities and agencies.

Criner will serve a two-year term as president of the Arkansas Association of Fire Chiefs, he said. The position will involve helping advance the fire department, Criner said. This will be done by assigning positive leadership, sharing information and actively involving lawmakers, Criner said.

“We meet several times throughout the year and try to be a resource for our peers across the state,” Criner said.

The chef concluded by saying that although the award was given to him personally, it is a team effort. Criner said the real credit goes to its firefighters, paramedics and support staff. Criner is also excited to serve as president of the Arkansas Association of Fire Chiefs.

“It will give me a good opportunity to network across the state and see if there are any opportunities or best practices to bring back and share what we’re doing,” Criner said.

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