Bill McQuaid takes next step in ‘dream’ career, takes over as Fountain Valley fire chief

Nearly 30 years ago, Bill McQuaid made a promise he kept to this day.

Growing up with the dream of joining the fire department in Fountain Valley, McQuade was ready to commit to recruiting then-Fire Chief Bernard Hymos.

“If anyone gave me that opportunity, I was going to give them my all,” McQuade said of the day’s commitment. , to have the opportunity to pursue a dream career in my own backyard was an opportunity I was willing to commit to for the rest of my career.”

McQuaid, who embarked on board in 1996 as a full-time firefighter and paramedic, was appointed Fountain Valley’s new fire chief. He was introduced to the community in his new role at a city council meeting on Tuesday night.

Alderman Patrick Harper said after listening to McQuade at the conference: “It’s a wonderful promise to make such a promise on board.”

After joining the Fountain Valley Fire Department as a reserve member, McQuade also served as a fire engineer, fire captain, battalion commander, and chief of operations. He now serves as Fire Chief, succeeding another domestic product, Ron Cookston.

A mix of blue-collar and white-collar jobs, the fire department presented McQuade with a variety of challenges.

“For the past five to seven years, I’ve traveled to and from California as a strike team leader, responding to some of the largest fires in California’s history,” McQuad said. “[It involved] Leading teams of firefighters are on the front lines of fires 24 hours a day, fighting these fires in extreme and adverse conditions, putting their hard work into making a difference to save homes and communities. I’m here. ”

These efforts include the Thomas fires in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, which ignited in late December 2017 and were believed to be extinguished the following January; It included fighting a wielded Dixie fire.

On the administrative side, McQuaid found himself involved in setting up vaccination centers during the coronavirus pandemic.

McQuade, 54, lives with his family in Huntington Beach. He graduated from Fountain Valley High School in his 1986.

City manager Maggie Lee said McQuaid’s base salary will be $241,308.

As fire chief, McQuaid said he wants to prioritize supporting first responders by giving them the tools to get their jobs done and provide a “concierge-level” service to the community. increase.

“Now we are partnering with local high schools here in the city,” McQuade said. “As the massive opioid and fentanyl use continues and has its negative effects, we are partnering with high schools to train teachers and staff at high schools on how to respond to these emergencies. I trained.

“We’re providing Narcan, a drug that helps counteract the effects of opioids, to high schools so they can respond quickly before they even arrive. It’s saving lives.”

Improving yourself through education was important to McQuade. Last year, he received a master’s degree in public safety leadership and business administration from Arizona State University. McQuaid hopes he has set an example for others in his department to continue pursuing higher education.

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