WFFD chief looks to future with 2020 vision

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Six months in and Wichita Falls Fire Chief Ken Prillaman is ready for dozens more now that he’s got the lay of the land.

“It’s been like drinking from a fire hose even though I have a lot of years in the fire service and served as the chief of a department before, there are a lot of regional differences,” Prillaman said.

The chief is proud of what the department has been able to accomplish under his watch so far.

“We focused on some things early in terms of re-energizing a focus on tradition and ceremony,” Prillaman said.

Now he’d like to focus on what 2020 entails including how fires are fought with downtown revitalization.

“We have to change the way in which we respond to events in a high rise, now that a number of them are being constructed with lofts or apartments, we’re putting humans into those buildings that were originally designed as offices,” Prillaman said.

His biggest goal though is answering a question of how the department can be a better representation of the very community it serves.

“How do we get little girls to want to be firefighters and how do we get little boys of color to want to be a firefighter as well,” Prillaman said. “I think that we have an opportunity to talk about planting a seed in their mind that they too could be a firefighter.”

Other plans include expanding the Citizens Fire Academy, hosting fire station open houses and being more active on social media for transparency in times of safety concern.

“What I wanna do is transfer it from vision in my own head and literally lay it out as a map for the organization kind of like the picture on the outside of a puzzle box that shows you what the end result looks like,” Prillaman said.

Puzzle pieces slowly fitting together and illustrating how Prillaman pictures the future of the fire department.

Prillaman said he’ll begin to make his roadmap public on his exact vision for 2020 in a few weeks.

His long-time goal is to create a new Fire Station 1 and use the current one on Bluff Street as a museum.

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