New fire chief listening to staff first

New fire chief listening to staff first

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The new Wichita Falls fire chief has made listening to the firefighters his priority as his first week comes to a close.

“It’s been a real heartwarming experience this far to be in Wichita Falls,” Fire Chief Ken Prillaman said.

For his first week, Prillaman has been focused on listening and taking notes.

“When an organization has a new leader, the organization generally gets split into two camps, one is the list of things you hope the new boss won’t change, and the list of things you hope the new boss will finally change right?” he said.

He’s meeting with all eight stations and the three battalions, letting them tell him what they’re thinking.

“We sit around the kitchen table at the firehouse which has always been, some of the greatest conversations I’ve had have been at the kitchen table,” Prillaman said.

Which is getting support from the firemen.

“To kind of see our strengths see our weaknesses and play it from there," fire equipment operator Dustin Carlton said. "That helped get the guys on board.”

Carlton says the department is very aggressive when they fight structure fires. He and others wonder if Prillaman will change that style.

“That’s one of the big questions of the guys, he’s coming from out of state, not used to this area, what’s his philosophy on fighting structure fires and how's that going to change ours?” Carlton said.

Whether change comes or not, city manager Darron Leiker is sure he picked the most qualified person for the job.

“He had all the education and fire service experience that I was looking for, he’s a nationally certified fire officer, he has degrees in fire science, he’s even a published author,” Leiker said.

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