(INDEPENDENCE, Mo.) Wednesday, May 14, 2014 – The City of Independence Fire Chief Sandra Schiess has announced her retirement effective May 16, 2014. Schiess was named interim Fire Chief in 2004 following the retirement of Chief Larry Hodge. After a national search for a replacement, City Manager Robert Heacock announced Schiess would become the City’s first female fire chief.
“Chief Schiess has shown her dedication to protecting the lives and property of this community,” said City Manager Heacock. “During her tenure, the Independence Fire Department has improved to a Class 2 Rating from the ISO Public Protection Classification (PPC) program. Independence joins only 10 other fire departments in the state of Missouri with a Class 2 rating.”
Chief Schiess said she was grateful and proud to have had this opportunity. Starting her career in 1978, firefighters were still “firemen,” riding on the back of the truck was common, and there were women firefighters in only 20 or 30 departments. “The fire service and life safety has improved dramatically over the years and is still evolving,” she said.
Although leaving the fire service, Chief Schiess will continue her dedication to helping others. She has accepted the position of Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII. “It seemed fitting,” she stated, “that after spending so long trying to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies, that I should now dedicate time to helping those who have made it through the worst to create a future defined not by disaster or emergency, but instead by pride in their ability to rebuild.”
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