Dubuque Fire Chief Rick Steines will retire on March 31, 2022, after nearly 37 years of service with the Dubuque Fire Department.  He has served as fire chief since August of 2014.

“Rick brought the attitude, work ethic, knowledge, and leadership qualities that have taken the Dubuque Fire Department to the next level,” said City Manager Mike Van Milligen. “His vision and professionalism have made our community safer and the results have been recognized internationally.”

In October 2021, under Steines’ leadership, the Dubuque Fire Department became one of fewer than 300 fire departments in the world and just five other departments in Iowa to be accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, a division of the
Center for Public Safety Excellence.  Also in 2021, the Fire Department received the Mission Lifeline Gold Plus award for its excellence in the treatment of heart attacks. This was the second year in a row the department has received this recognition for its efforts to implement quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Following an evaluation of Dubuque’s fire protection service, the national Insurance Services Office (ISO) upgraded the City of Dubuque’s fire suppression capabilities rating to Class 2 in 2016 based on the City’s fire department, emergency communications, water supply, and community risk reduction. Dubuque’s Class 2 rating is the second-highest rating possible and puts Dubuque among the top three percent of the more than 48,000 fire departments in the United States evaluated by ISO.

A Greater Dubuque Development Corporation survey asked local CEOs, business owners, and top managers to rate all of Dubuque’s public services for 2020-2021 and they rated Dubuque’s fire service #1 and its ambulance service #2. Using a scale with 1 being low and 7 high, the fire service scored an average of 6.36 and ambulance 6.19.

Steines began his employment with the City of Dubuque Fire Department in June 1985. He received promotions to fire equipment operator in November 1988, fire lieutenant in August 1990, fire captain in July 1992, and assistant fire chief in July 1999. Steines earned an associate’s degree in fire science from Northeast Iowa Community College and has completed the executive fire officer program at the National Fire Academy. He also attended the Midwest Fire Service and Executive Institute and holds an Iowa Fire Service Senior Management Certificate.

“It has been an honor to have served on the fire department throughout a rewarding career,” said Steines.  “I thank all the incredible fire department members who have helped me during my career. I have only tried to support their efforts as they work each day to provide excellent service to the community.”

Steines informed the City in 2018 of his plans to retire in 2022.  The City has hired an executive search firm to conduct the search for his replacement, the position has been posted, and applications are being accepted until March 15.  Van Milligen expects to appoint an interim fire chief before Steines’ retirement becomes effective on March 31 to cover the gap until a new fire chief is appointed.



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