Greg Karlik (photo courtesy Rick Hines).

The Ketchikan Fire Department has a new assistant fire chief. Greg Karlik, in his new role, will focus on bringing more training to personnel as some seasoned staff retire or move on.

Greg Karlik has worked at the Ketchikan Fire Department for more than 20 years. He started in 1998 as a volunteer EMT.

“And now, I will be moving into the second seat, I should say, as far as the fire department goes, and that now is going to entail overall aspects of the fire department, whether it’s training or managing the day to day operations of the entire fire department,” Karlik said.

Karlik was the b-shift lieutenant. He was a firefighter, but also was focused on EMS and managing the emergency medicine department.  

This new job is a little different. As Karlik puts it, he’s taking a step back and helping train the people who will help the community.

“My clientele, I’d say, is not necessarily the community itself with my own hands,” he explained. “But it’s our personnel, to make them the best that they can be.”

Karlik said his main focus will be preparing an increasingly new, younger staff.

“We have a lot of young, firefighter EMTs that are coming through and now it’s to focus on them to become the next officers and the next lieutenants and the next assistant chief,” he said. “So I’m here to replace myself.”

He will be working under Fire Chief Rick Hines, who said his job, and the job of assistant chief, takes a certain mindset.

“Our role is to make sure that people that are making a difference every day on the streets — the firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs — that they have everything they need to do their job,” Hines said. “I think that’s a very important aspect of a leader. And when you’re building a team, you want to build a team that has the same focus and feelings and understandings of their position as you do.”

Karlik will help to oversee the training of EMTs, paramedics and firefighters. 

Raegan Miller is a Report for America corps member for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution at