Kurt P. Henke, Fire Chief
A message from the Fire Chief
Recently, I formed a Citizens Advisory Committee, made up of leaders throughout the community, to assist the District with its future planning. Our primary mission in working with this committee is to ensure our firefighters and paramedics can consistently arrive at emergency incidents as close to national best practice standards as possible.
As a direct result of the $24 million decrease in property tax revenues as compared to five years ago, Metro Fire struggles daily to provide adequate emergency response to our communities. While call volume has increased, fire stations have been closed and services have had to be cut back.
Taking proactive steps to reduce expenses, Metro Fire has increased operational efficiencies while personnel have had salaries frozen since 2008 and currently pay 12% of their pension costs. Though these steps have helped the situation, they are not enough to solve the problem of slower emergency response times.
With guidance from our Citizens Advisory Committee, we are looking at every available option, including revenue enhancement, to provide a more acceptable standard of fire protection and emergency medical services to our communities.
Property tax revenue has decreased for five straight years, at the same time call volume has continued to increase. Fire stations have closed and other service reductions have been made to address this funding loss, resulting in slower emergency response times to homes and businesses.
Kurt P. Henke
Kurt P. Henke was sworn in as Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District's fourth Fire Chief on April 14, 2011. His fire service career began in 1981 as a volunteer Firefighter/Engineer with Napa County Fire Department, where he stayed until 1986.
His professional career began in 1984 as a Firefighter/EMT with the Department of the Navy, Skaggs Island Fire Department. Kurt moved on in 1985 to become a full-time Firefighter with the City of Vallejo Fire Department. From there he promoted to Captain in 1992, where he was assigned to the Training and Suppression divisions and was appointed as the Director of Training in 1996.
Kurt was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief in 1998, in the capacity of Manager to both the Suppression and Fire Prevention divisions; a position he held until he left to become a part of the Metro family. On October 1, 2009, Kurt was hired as the Deputy Chief of Operations for Metro Fire.
It is also important to mention that Kurt served on the Executive Board of IAFF Local 1186 from 1992 to 2009, with the last 15 of those years as President, and simultaneously as an Executive Member of the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2004.