LAFD Chief Troy Hughes addresses November meeting of Los Alamos Kiwanis. Photo by Brooke Davis
BY BROOKE DAVIS
Chief Troy Hughes of the Los Alamos Fire Department (LAFD) spoke to Los Alamos Kiwanis at their November 7 meeting. He described the functions and operations of the department, as well as their accomplishments, goals and future challenges.
Hughes was born and raised in Nebraska and his fire service career started in 1985 as a firefighter/EMT-B with the Grand Island Fire Department. He has served as captain, division chief and ultimately fire chief in 2008. He was appointed to lead the Los Alamos Fire Department in October of 2011.
Among his many academic achievements, Hughes is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Program at the Naval Postgraduate School, earning a Master’s degree in security studies.
Hughes described the scope of his department’s responsibility in serving both the community and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, encompassing a total of 109.5 square miles and approximately 20,000 employees and residents, plus more than 10,000 daily commuters. The department works under a 10-year Cooperative Agreement between Los Alamos County and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The department is internationally accredited and LANL is now the only DOE facility protected by an accredited agency.
LAFD was originally organized under the Manhattan Project in 1943, with seven civilian firefighters and 25 volunteers, that has evolved into the professional fire and rescue protection system of today with services provided by 176 personnel. The department runs five fire stations, one training station and one fire administration office complex.
Looking toward the future, Hughes indicated the need for new fire stations, a pre-incident planning process, and a vehicle replacement plan. Challenges include our present severe drought and the fire danger it represents, turnover of leadership positions due to retirement, active shooter response, and control measures in dealing with lithium-ion battery fires from electric vehicles.