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Huntsville Fire Chief Michael Sublett Announces Retirement April 1

City of Huntsville February 28, 2013
(HUNTSVILLE, AL) - Huntsville Fire Chief Michael K. Sublett today officially announced his retirement, effective April 1. Chief Sublett has served Huntsville Fire and Rescue and our community since 1975 when he began his career as a firefighter under Mayor Joe Davis, continuing through Mayor Tommy Battle's appointment as Interim Fire Chief.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Huntsville," said Chief Sublett. "A career in the fire service is very rewarding. Because we work 24 hour shifts and function as a team, you become very close and it's like having a second family. I sincerely appreciate the support this family has shown to me in my role as Fire Chief. This schedule does impact personal family time so I'm looking forward to spending more time with my wife, children, and four grandchildren."

During his 38 year career, Sublett rose through the fire department ranks of Firefighter, Fire Driver-Engineer, Fire Inspector/Investigator, and Fire Captain. He later served as the Division Chief of Public Relations and Communications before being promoted to Deputy Chief and as the Interim Fire Chief in 2009.

    Among Chief Sublett's many achievements:
  • Significantly improved communication of policies and procedures within the department by implementing a document management system. Through this system, the process of updating the department's policies and procedures is being digitized.
  • Established Heavy Rescue and High Angle Rescue Teams.
  • Completed the construction of Fire Station #1, #7, and #18.
  • Received grant funds for the hiring of 24 firefighters to staff Fire Station 18.
  • Received grant funds for the hiring of 18 firefighters to staff Fire Station 19.
  • Maintained the city's 3/9 Public Protection Classification through an Insurance Service Office audit in 2011. This rating system determines the cost of homeowner's insurance for the citizens of Huntsville.
  • Obtained a grant to fund the purchase of new APCO25 compliant radios in the amount of $822,490. This new platform has provided interoperable communications with many other agencies.
  • Received a grant to fund the purchase and installation of fixed-station emergency power generators in the amount of $560,000. This equipment insures that the Fire Stations are operational during power outages.
  • Completed the design and construction of replacement fire apparatus serving as Ladder 12, Engine 12, Engine 8, and Engine 15.
  • Established the department's Honor Guard, Fire Explorer Program, and the quartet "Fahrenheit."
"Mike has been an outstanding public servant, and it is with great reluctance that we accept the Chief's decision to retire," said Mayor Tommy Battle. "The public can never fully understand the level of commitment and personal sacrifice it takes to serve and lead in public safety. Mike is one of the best, and while we will miss his leadership, we will continue to benefit from his mentorship in the form of new public safety officers under his direction."

City Administrator Rex Reynolds commended Chief Sublett as an essential part of the department's foundation. "Chief Sublett has served this City and this administration admirably, and we are grateful for his significant contributions to Huntsville Fire and Rescue," said Reynolds. "We wish Chief Sublett and his wife all the pleasures of a happy and healthy retirement."

Mayor Battle is appointing Deputy Fire & Rescue Chief Howard McFarlen to serve as Interim Fire Chief until a new replacement can be hired.

"We have a number of outstanding candidates within the Fire Department that will be applying for this position, said Mayor Battle. "Deputy Chief McFarlen has agreed to hold the reins until we can name a new Chief, and we know he will do an excellent job in the transition."


For more information, contact:

Kelly Cooper Schrimsher, Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor, City of Huntsville, 256-427-5006 (w), kelly.schrimsher@huntsvilleal.gov

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