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New title for Hughes another step in raising LAFD's stature

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Public Safety > Chief is one of less than 1,000 to earn top moniker

By Tris DeRoma

The year 2013 turned out to be a pretty good year for Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes.
This year, he achieved a milestone in his career that few fire chiefs do. In December, he was awarded the status of “Chief Fire Officer” by a commission within the Center for Public Safety Excellence, the same organization the fire department has received its accreditation from.
According to a press release from Los Alamos County, Hughes has joined a rare group, as there are only 944 CFOs worldwide.
Chiefs are awarded the CFO designation through lengthy reviews of their careers, and it’s something firefighters have to focus on achieving through community involvement, education, professional experience and the professional development of the fire companies they lead.
Hughes said he focused on achieving the professional goal 15 years ago, when he was a chief with Nebraska’s Grand Island Fire Department.
Hughes became chief of that department during his last three years there before moving on to the Los Alamos Fire Department.
“It’s a long process. They look at your whole body of work, Hughes said. “It’s not something you can get on day one of being a chief; it takes a while.”
During his career in Los Alamos, Hughes has contributed much to raise the LAFD’s professional visibility by educating the community on various safety issues.
As president of the Los Alamos Public Safety Officer’s Association, he’s served to educate his community on the causes and effects of school shootings. His department has also been active launching various professional degree programs with the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos, which included degrees in fire science and paramedics. Future goals include wildfire education and prevention.
Hughes is also working on getting the deputy chiefs in his administration focused on achieve the chief officer title.
“The payback is it paves a solid base for them,” he said. “It gives them opportunities and direction on the type of education they should be seeking out as well as give them a direction on what’s expected of them. It helps them with their career planning.”
According to a press release from the County of Los Alamos, Hughes’ other achievements include an Executive Fire Officer Designation through the National Fire Academy as well as a Master’s Degree in Management from Doane College.