Joplin (MO) Fire Chief to Retire

Firefighter helmet

The Joplin Globe, Mo.


May 11—Joplin’s fire chief, Jim Furgerson, will retire June 7, the city manager announced Tuesday.

City Manager Nick Edwards said in a statement that Furgerson will go to work for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, after he leaves the Joplin job.

“We thank Chief Furgerson for his years of service here at the city,” Edwards said in the statement.

Furgerson’s career here included working for ongoing recruitment and retention of public safety staff through the passage of Proposition B, a half-cent sales tax to fund the city’s insolvent Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund.

The chief also initiated a strategic planning and resource allocation study, replaced outdated equipment and developed initial plans for the city’s next fire station, Station 7, to be built on the east side of the city.

Furgerson also is credited with the establishment of a swift water rescue team and the extension of automatic aid agreements with fire departments in nearby cities.

During his tenure, he continued to work on fire department initiatives to increase the city’s Insurance Services Office rating. That rating was raised from 3 to 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 in 2016. Ratings are determined by a hazard-risk analysis of the fire department performed every three to five years by the Insurance Services Office.

The ratings are distributed by the ISO to insurance companies, some of which consider the ratings in setting premium rates for property owners. The ratings indicate how well a fire department is trained and equipped to prevent or minimize damage from a fire, one of the top causes of insurance claims.

Only about 20 cities in Missouri have a 2 rating, according to city officials.

Furgerson has been with the department 20 years. He became chief in 2015 after joining the department in 2001. He was promoted to driver in 2004 and captain in 2006. He became a battalion chief in 2010 and deputy fire chief in 2014.

“He has served Joplin well, both within the department and in the community during his service here. We wish him well in the next phase of his life,” Edwards said.

Edwards and Furgerson will work on transition plans and name an interim fire chief in a few weeks, according to the city statement.


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