Jeff Berino recognized as new Lake Dillon Fire Chief
June 27, 2015
As his wife, Janis, pinned the new badge on his chest, deputy chief Jeff Berino stepped forward to be recognized as the new Lake Dillon fire chief on Thursday. Following the tradition, longtime chief Dave Parmley passed a large, engraved fire axe to Berino. Then under the leadership of Board president Jim Cox, Berino took his oath of office in front of family and friends from past years of service.
"It was a good experience be able to thank Dave, and pin a new badge on me," Berino said. "It was kind of a blur. We had some of the firefighters Parmley and I grew up with in the '80s there. It was good to remember the fun that we had."
While Parmley served with the former Snake River Fire District since the '80s, Berino started his career in Summit County at the same time, working for the former Frisco Fire Department. The two began working together following the merge of three districts into Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue in 2005, where Parmley stepped up as chief and Berino was named deputy chief.
"It's been a great relationship," Berino said. "One thing I picked up from Dave is it's all about building relationships with the community."
Berino, a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program of the National Fire Academy, has received life-saving awards from both the Summit County Sheriff's Office and Ambulance Service. He was also awarded the Lake Dillon Fire Medal of Valor for his response to the Ophir Mountain Wildfire in 2005.
Between Frisco and Lake Dillon Fire, Berino, 57, has served for both departments for 35 years. He's spent the last six months preparing to take the helm, sharing tasks with Parmley when possible.
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"I'm pleased that we were able to see a promotion could happen internally," Parmley said. "I think Berino will do a wonderful job. He has prepared for this for the last several years."
Preparing for the future
With several new developments planned across Summit, Berino said the fire services will need to stay a step ahead of county growth for fire prevention.
"We're recognizing where the growth is happening, but we need to stay ahead of the growth, ahead of the planning process, so that the infrastructure is there instead of playing catch up," Berino said
In recent years, the county has seen less structure fires, but an increase in other types of incidents, such as hazardous materials, car accidents, and medical calls, with an increase of both residents and visitors in Summit. To respond to these needs, Berino plans to help costaff Summit County ambulances with both firefighters and paramedics to increase their efficiency and scale.
"I'm very excited about our future," Berino said. "The most important thing is the outstanding relationships Lake Dillon has with other fire agencies and government agencies, and I want to continue upon them."
He also hopes to get Lake Dillon Fire accredited by the Center for Public Safety Excellence in the near future, a multi-step process that validates that the departments are all up to speed.
Finally, Berino intends to continue Parmley's push for wildfire mitigation, reducing the pressing threat of fire with the surrounding national forest.
" We've got a great team, fantastic support form the community and I look forward to taking things to the next level," Berino said.
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