Mike Kemp became Interim Fire Chief in December 2009 and received the appointment of Fire Chief in April 2010. He is the eighth Fire Chief to serve the citizens of Lubbock since the Department’s creation in 1909.
Chief Kemp, a native of Lubbock, has served in the Lubbock Fire Department for 31 years. He began his career in the Lubbock Fire Department in January 1982, rising through the ranks of firefighter, equipment operator, Lieutenant, and Fire Marshal. He has also served as a fire inspector and fire arson investigator.
Chief Kemp graduated from the United States National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program in 2003, and holds the following Texas Commission of Fire Protection Certifications: Advanced Arson Investigator, Advanced Structure Fire Fighter, Advanced Fire Inspector, and Fire Instructor. He also has certification with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education as a Peace Officer. He earned an Associate Degree from South Plains College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Wayland Baptist University.
Chief Kemp comes from a family with a long standing tradition of serving in the fire service. His father is a retired fighter with 34 years of service and his brother is a Lieutenant on the Department. In his family, two uncles and two cousins retired from the Department and another cousin currently holds the rank of Battalion Chief.
When Chief Kemp assumed the role as Chief, the City needed to add three fire stations which were approved through a bond election in 2009. The addition of three fire stations would also require the addition of 60 firefighters. Since his appointment, he has directed the completion and opening of two fire stations and added 30 firefighters to the roll. The total count of 19 stations required additional support personnel to keep up with the growth. He increased the number of dispatchers to 10 to accommodate two dispatchers on at all times. Creating a third Battalion provided capacity to divide the City into three different Battalions, adding a shop mechanic provided maintenance for the additional increase in engines to the fleet, and filling the position of Communication Supervisor at the rank of Battalion Chief met needs created by this expansion. He added a Division Chief to the rank directly below the rank of Deputy Chief.
The Lubbock Fire Department also is a certified Advance Life Support First Responder organization with a response agreement with UMC EMS. The modification and enhancement of the response agreement during Chief Kemp’s tenure ensures that the Department receives the first responder calls during the initial 911 call. Fire and EMS 911 calls increased from 21,490 in FY2005-06 to over 32,000 calls handled in FY 2013-14.
Fire Station 19 construction began in August 2013 with a projected completion date of August 2014. Projects currently under discussion are new facilities for Fire Station 1, Fire Station 11, and the Emergency Operations Center.
In May of 2013, the Lubbock Fire Department logo changed to recognize the Lubbock Fire Department as Lubbock Fire Rescue. The Department has made dramatic changes throughout the years with a focus of not only firefighting but also Advanced Life Support, Heavy Rescue, Hazardous Materials Response, High Angle Rescue, Dive Team Search and Rescue, as well as Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. The new design prominently displays and recognizes the LFD established in 1909, because we still are and always will be the Lubbock Fire Department.