The amount of resources available to Fire Chief Richard Hinz has tripled during his 30-year tenure at the Glendale Fire Department.
Hinz, however, doesn't have three times the number of firefighters, or triple the number of fire stations.
But Glendale fire officials have tripled the number of personnel available to respond to a catastrophic fire through an agreement combining emergency response teams from Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena.
Hinz, 55, who was presented with a 30-year service award by the City Council this month, was one of several managers who developed the Verdugo Fire System linking the three cities 15 years ago.
Today, the system, which allows fire trucks and medical vehicles to cross boundaries among Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, links the three departments through common radio frequencies operated through a central dispatch center in Glendale.
Hinz, who began his career with the Glendale Fire Department as a firefighter in 1964, said one of his most significant accomplishments at the 190-person department is the cooperative agreement.
"This concept has enabled each of the three cities to maintain fire departments at same size they were 20 years ago, even though each city has grown greatly in its population," Hinz said.
Hinz has held every rank in the department, including engineer, captain, battalion chief and assistant chief.
Another signature of his career is a No. 1 rating by the nonprofit Insurance Services office for his department--one of only 16 cities in the country so designated out of 60,000 local fire departments researched by the organization.
The organization rates each municipality on a scale from 1 one to 10 based on its fire safety capacity, providing a "barometer of the fire defenses in the city," Hinz said.