FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19 March 2015
Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer
Office: (970) 262-5209
Deputy Chief Jeff Berino to take over reins at Lake Dillon Fire
Deputy Chief Jeff Berino, who has been with Lake Dillon Fire and a predecessor agency for 35 years, was appointed to take over leadership of the department when Chief Dave Parmley retires in July, the department’s board of directors has announced.
“I am delighted with this promotion, and I am gratified by the confidence of the board of directors in naming me,” Berino said. “Chief Parmley has been an outstanding leader of the department and will be leaving us in great shape. It is my hope to build on all that he and the people of this organization already have done.”
Berino, 57, started as a seasonal wildland firefighter in Massachusetts in 1977 and in 1980 began serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Frisco Fire Department, a precursor to the consolidated Lake Dillon Fire Department. Berino steadily rose through the ranks until he was promoted to deputy chief of Lake Dillon Fire in 2005. (Continued below.)
He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program of the National Fire Academy, has served as a college instructor in fire sciences and has worked part-time as a senior fire investigator with Pie Forensic Engineering and Consulting of Arvada.
Beyond Summit County, Berino has established his credentials as a state-certified incident commander for the Northwest Colorado All Hazards Type III incident-management team and for the Upper Colorado River Federal Type III wildfire team, taking the lead in recent years on emergency responses to everything from a salmonellaoutbreak in the Alamosa drinking water to numerous regional wildfires.
During his career, he has received life-saving awards from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Summit County Ambulance Service and was awarded the Lake Dillon Fire Medal of Valor in 2005 for his response to the Ophir Mountain wildfire.
Berino has lived in Frisco with his wife, Janis, since 1979, and they have raised two children who graduated from Summit High School and moved on to college. His hobbies include skiing, mountain biking and trail running, although he considers himself a “retired” ultra-runner.
Jim Cox, the president of the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District Board of Directors, said the department easily could have attracted high-caliber outside candidates, but the talent, skills and loyalty of internal candidates meant that the board did not have to search far.
“We have been involved in succession planning for several years now and have tried to cultivate an environment in which everyone from our top chiefs down to our basic firefighters can gather the training and experience needed to put themselves in position for advancement,” Cox said. “This promotion of Chief Berino is a validation of that process, and it potentially could have ripple effects down the line with other internal promotions.”
Additionally, Berino’s familiarity with on-going projects and his institutional knowledge of the department, the residents and businesses in the district all were seen as major strengths, Cox said.
Berino will take over a department of 57 career employees and an $8 million annual budget supported primarily through property taxes. The Lake Dillon Fire Protection District encompasses 110 square miles, including the towns of Dillon, Frisco, Montezuma and Silverthorne and the unincorporated areas of Dillon Valley, Summit Cove and Wildernest. The department also is the primary emergency-response agency for the Lower Blue River valley and east along Interstate 70 to the Eisenhower Tunnel, making a total response area of about 290 square miles. Lake Dillon Fire operates three full-time response stations, in Dillon, Frisco and Keystone, and an administration station in Silverthorne. Last year, the department ran 2,226 calls, serving about 17,500 permanent residents and more than 100,000 visitors during peak times.
Parmley, who last year announced his pending retirement in July after 10 years at the helm of Lake Dillon Fire and 36 years in the Summit County fire service – with 25 years serving as the chief of the former Snake River Fire Protection District – said he was pleased that Berino’s promotion reflects a desire for continuity on behalf of the board as well as for the career-advancement opportunities it presents.
“Chief Berino is exceptionally qualified, as reflected by the depth of experience, commitment to the community and vision to serve our citizens and the firefighters going forward,” Parmley said. “Having worked closely with Jeff during the past 10 years, I am confident he has the capabilities and capacity to successfully lead and provide the highest level of service that our citizens have come to expect from Lake Dillon Fire.”
A retirement reception for Chief Parmley will be held on June 25 and will include a formal “change of command” ceremony at which Berino will be sworn in as the new chief, effective July 1.