Chief’s Page

SBMFD Fire Chief Charles Smith, Retirement Statement

It has been a pleasure to serve as the SBMFD Fire Chief which has afforded me immense learning opportunities and the ability to make a difference in the lives of personnel and the communities we serve.  Often, being in a leadership position requires making difficult decisions and this is one of those times.

On January 7, 2022, I notified the Spring Lake Park – Blaine – Mounds View Fire Department Board of Directors I will be retiring from the SBMFD on May 1, 2022, after 6 years as Fire Chief and over 31 years in the Fire Service.  This difficult decision was made after significant time in prayer, deep discussions with my family, consultation with mentors and consideration of various factors.  This decision is right for me and my family and will allow me to spend much more time with them and in the pursuit of new opportunities. The opportunity to lead an amazing group of men and women has been an honor and an immense blessing.  The foundation for future success has been created long ago and lies in the heart of every person who is part of the SBMFD; past, present, and future.  I have great confidence the SBM leadership group will continue to provide exemplary leadership and service during this time of transition.

Over the last 6 years, the SBMFD has secured tremendous achievements and has been incredibly successful, not only in service to our respective communities but in preparing for the future – a future that will see tremendous growth and change for the SBM Fire District.  Some major achievements made during this time:

  • Support the personnel of the SBM/Centennial Fire Districts so they have the freedom and resources to reach their fullest potential
  • Significant capital investment resulting in large apparatus fleet modernization, obtaining compliance with National Standards while reducing estimated future large apparatus purchase costs by over $1M
  • Operational deployment concept change to multi-role apparatus that are mutually supporting
  • Since 2016, a permanent full-time staffing increase of 66% with a corresponding operational budget increase of only 10.9%
  • Maintained robust operational capability and response during the COVID-19 pandemic while protecting SBM personnel and our communities
  • Modernized Emergency Medical Services equipment, training, interventions and certification transition from Emergency Medical Responder to Emergency Medical Technician
  • Insurance Service’s Office Public Protection Classification improvement for the City of Blaine from a Class 4/9 to 3/3X, reducing fire insurance cost for commercial occupancies
  • Collaboration with the Centennial Fire District through a professional services agreement for Administrative and Fire Management Services
  • Deployment of SBMFD/Centennial FD resources to one local major incident (Becker 2020, Northern Metals fire) and two national major incidents (Oregon wildfires in 2020 and Hurricane Ida in 2021)
  • Collaborated with Blaine PD/EM to plan and execute protective operations for the PGA 3M Open

The SBMFD is the finest organization I have ever had the honor of leading. The SBMFD now serves the fourth largest population in the entire State of Minnesota, a population which continues to grow at a rapid pace in both size and needs.  This service is provided through a unique service model that is one of the lowest per capita costs in the Twin Cities Metro Area. I will forever be grateful to all the amazing men and women who are part of SBM and the memorable experiences I have had. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with the best and I am deeply humbled to have been blessed with such a unique opportunity.  God bless!!