Chief's Page

ChiefSmithhave dedicated my professional life to the service of our country and many communities.  I began my Fire Service career in August of 1990, at the age of 17, with the Solway Township Volunteer Fire Department.  Over the last 25 years, my career has spanned one military, two volunteer, two combination and three career fire departments.  Sixteen of those years I spent “on the line” as a Firefighter, Driver/Operator and Captain,  with my last line assignment as the Captain of a Truck Company located at Duluth Fire Department Headquarters. Throughout the years I have served in the positions of Firefighter, Driver/Operator, Captain, Training Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief and now Fire Chief. I was born and raised in the Duluth area and graduated from Hermantown High School in 1991.  I am married and have seven children. My hobbies include hunting, fishing, playing ice hockey and spending time at the family cabin. 


 - Fire Chief Charles V. Smith IV

Starting in 2012, we migrated away from the traditional practice of goal-setting, instead replacing them with ten assumptions and team based management of permanent positions.  Key assumptions include :

1)  Response time is an inadequate, incomplete, and ineffective measure of fire department success or failure in of itself.

  • No standard on what comprises response time components.
  • No empirical data to support measurement.
  • Ignores major component of fire growth, pre-notification time.

2)  While every call for emergency service is answered, the level of response is dictated by the nature and degree of the emergency. This results in a response that ranges from a phone call when time permits to all equipment and staff responding and if necessary, a mutual aid request.

3)  Prevention strategies based on sound research and local data analysis has proven to be effective in preventing or minimizing fires and injuries.

  • Prevention includes code adoption and enforcement, public education, and fire cause investigation.
  • Effective public education prevention occurs when behavior is changed.
  • Sprinkler systems (both commercial and residential) are the most cost efficient and effective approach to delivering fire protection services.
  • Prevention programs are measurable and thus, more conducive to evaluation.

4)  All personnel must be trained and certified in the discipline in which they are asked to engage or perform.

  • Example – A Firefighter must have training and pass a third party certification examination for; Driver’s License, Firefighter I, Firefighter II and First Responder.

5)  Modern facilities, high quality equipment and the use of technology are essential to safe and efficient operations.

  • Facilities provide both the environment to operate safely and effectively but also provide the foundation for our image and ability to provide professional services.
  • Given the dangerous nature of fire department operations; reliability and durability are critical in our equipment.
  • The use of technology in every facet of our operation is a force multiplier in increasing our effectiveness, reducing the number of personnel required, and increasing the overall safety of the operation.

6)  When it comes to personnel, quality is more important than quantity and on a comparative basis, we invest heavily in their development and compensation.

  • We will not succumb to adding more personnel just to achieve a “target” workforce; all individuals must meet our minimum requirements and standards.
  • We invest heavily in those individuals who meet our minimum requirement and standards.
  • We hold individuals accountable to those standards.

7)  Workplace safety is a constant with an expectation of zero injuries for every activity we are engaged in. To accomplish this we strive to provide the best gear, equipment and training available and place a large emphasis on personal responsibility for individual safety.

8)  Measurable benchmarks include the following;

  • Per Capita fire expense and comparison of price and service provided
  • Number of FF per 1000 population
  • Number of responses and per capita number of response.
  • Rolling five year fire loss average
  • Rolling five year structure fire occurrences
  • Annual and historically comparative FF injury rates
  • Fire Deaths

9)  Continuation of the Volunteer Firefighter/City Responder/Full Time FD Staff Model represents the most cost efficient and effective service delivery model available.

  • Based on per capita comparison, FF injury rates, fire calls, loss data and civilian deaths.

10)  Extraordinary customer service is essential to all services provided by the fire department.

Using these assumptions as the base for operations, teams meet on a regular basis to ensure their endeavors, activities and efforts are consistent with achieving or fulfilling these assumptions.


Key indicators or benchmarks to measure our success include per capita fire cost comparisons, injury statistics, and citizen feedback. 

Using Office of the State Auditor municipal reporting data, the department ranks lowester for similar sized Minnesota Cities per capita expenditure on fire services.

Using Workers Compensation data for the state and State Fire Marshal data for on scene injuries the department ranks lowest in overall injuries (Workers compensation) and has a similar ranking for on-scene injuries for similar sized departments.

Based on a Fall 2012 City of Blaine comprehensive citizen survey of 26 city services provided, the Fire Department ranked highest in both Quality of Service as well as Essentiality of Service.

100% of our personnel are trained and certified in those disciplines/job tasks they are assigned to.  These include but are not limited to; Firefighter I & II, Fire Appartus Operator, Hazardous Material Technician, Fire Investigator, Public Fire Life Safety Educator, Fire Instructor, Incident Commander, Airport Rescue Firefighter, and Fire Officer.



©2015 SBM Fire. All rights reserved.
Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department.  
Headquarters: 1710 County Highway 10 Spring Lake Park, MN 55432  
(763) 786-4436