Like many other rural fire departments, the Grantsville City Fire Department has its share of family legacies.
That’s certainly the case for its newest chief, Rob Critchlow, and his family.
“I think you see a lot of that in these smaller communities,” Critchlow said. “There’s a lot of tradition there. My dad has been chief, I’m the chief and my little brother is a firefighter now.”
Critchlow said he learned the value of hard work from watching his father, Neil, who was serving as chief when the younger Critchlow joined the department. He also spent time at the Utah Fire Museum at the Deseret Peak Complex, learning about the history of firefighting and the older members of the department.
While he learned about its history, Critchlow has an eye on the future of the department after being sworn in as fire chief at the Jan. 3 Grantsville City Council meeting, replacing previous chief Casey Phillips. First Assistant Chief Travis Daniels, Second Assistant Chief Jason Smith and Secretary Jason Remick were also sworn in at the meeting.
Critchlow said the department is standardizing the advancement process, with each officer moving through the ranks before becoming chief. He served as first and second assistant chief before taking the top spot, which Critchlow said was important.
“There’s a lot more responsibility the further up you go,” he said. “So it’s nice, the way it’s set up because you learn as you’re moving up, and that way it’s not as big of an ‘a-ha’ moment when you actually have the job.”
Critchlow will oversee a department that added nine additional firefighters this year. They will be part of a new class of firefighters conducting training at the beginning of the year.
“For us, training is a way that we keep people,” Critchlow said. “They love to train, they love to get their hands dirty and be out doing things.”
Grantsville City Fire Department will host the countywide training for new firefighters this year, with representatives from other agencies coming to the fire station on Center Street, according to Critchlow. Joint training is one reason local departments have worked well during fires like the July 2016 in Tooele City and the Fassio Egg Farm fire last year, he said.
“It’s really nice that all of the fire departments can work together and I think a lot of that comes from doing the Fire One classes together, where it’s multiple agencies coming in,” Critchlow said.
Grantsville City will also add a new Rosenbauer fire engine this summer, replacing an apparatus from 1983, Critchlow said.
“We’re hoping, crossing our fingers, that it’s here by the first of June, but if there are delays, it could be pushed back into July,” he said.
One point of emphasis for Critchlow has been fire prevention, which he hopes to continue to put at the forefront as chief. He said programs at schools and community events allow the department to remain prominent in the minds of residents.
“The more we stay involved, the better off we are,” Critchlow said. “Last year we only had one firework fire for both holidays. A lot of that comes down to fire prevention.”