116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - Scott Lyon, Iowa City’s next fire chief, has decades of experience as a firefighter working in the Des Moines suburbs.
He comes to Iowa City from the Urbandale Fire Department, where he’s been assistant fire chief in charge of operations since 2014.
Lyone started working as a volunteer firefighter in 1996.
He became a paid firefighter/paramedic in Clive in 1998, going on to fill multiple jobs there, including deputy chief in charge of training, before going to Urbandale.
He has a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Waldorf University in Forest City.
The Iowa City Council approved Lyon’s appointment earlier this month. He succeeds John Grier, who retired in February after nearly 30 years with the department.
Lyon, who starts April 4, recently spoke with The Gazette about his new position and the role of the department.
Q: Why did you decide to apply for the position of Iowa City fire chief?
A: The position of Iowa City fire chief is certainly a premier job in the state of Iowa. The organization itself, the Iowa City Fire Department, is a highly respected organization and has been throughout my career.
Q: Is there anything that you'd like to change once you start as chief?
A: Change in any job as a new supervisor coming in, that has to be a very careful and thought out process. My core responsibility of joining the Iowa City Fire Department is first to learn, to seek to understand how their vision works.
Before I would go and start making modifications to the way things are, I first must understand the way things are operating. If they're operating well, fantastic. We will address other items and opportunities when the timing is right and when the situation needs to be addressed. At this point ... I couldn't tell you what, if anything, needs to be changed in the Iowa City Fire Department.
Q: What have you learned in your previous experiences that you hope to bring with you to Iowa City?
A: The biggest thing that I have learned throughout my career in public service is that we deliver service to the community.
There are a lot of functions that make up that service to the community, but at the end of the day, we are a service delivery organization.
I view our citizens, our residents, as customers, and building a relationship with our customers is absolutely paramount.
Public safety and the fire service is based on trust. The community must have the ability to trust the fire department.
Unfortunately, on the emergency scene, we see folks on their worst day. So, maintaining the highest level of trust and making sure that integrity is at our forefront at all times is of the utmost importance.
Q: What are your top priorities for the fire department?
A: The priority at this point is to, first and foremost, make sure that we're providing timely, efficient, effective response to any emergency that we would be responding to, that we are able to deliver service at the level that exceeds what the residents want us to do.
Q: Is there anything you wish the community knew or understood better about firefighting as a profession?
A: When we’re not on an incident, there are many other things that are still occurring via training, or public education, public safety messages to the community.
The fire department, over a number of decades, has really turned into an all hazards organization. As a fire department, we respond to slips, trips, falls, hazmat incidents, incidents where people are trapped in some type of entanglement.
So our mission is much more than responding to buildings on fire.
Our mission is to care for the community, and answer the call. When people don't know who to call, they call the fire department, and we solve problems.
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