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After leading the Geneva Fire Department during a time of substantial growth and change in the community for the past two decades, Fire Chief Steve Olson has announced his retirement effective June 30.
“Four decades of service to the citizens and businesses of Geneva is testimony to Chief Olson’s love of community and pride in his work,” Mayor Kevin Burns said. “Thanks to Chief Olson’s steady leadership and passionate service, Geneva’s Fire Department remains the envy of communities far and wide. I am proud to have worked alongside such a dedicated public servant and gratefully acknowledge the many sacrifices he and his family have made over the years.”
Chief Olson has spent 42 years serving in the Geneva Fire Department, first being hired in 1974 as a paid-on-call firefighter. After being promoted to Fire Lieutenant in 1978, he joined the Fire Department on a full-time basis the following year. His career ascension included being named Captain in 1982, Deputy Fire Chief in 1986 and finally Fire Chief in 1996. He oversees a combination department of 26 full-time firefighter/paramedics and more than 40 paid-on-call firefighters.
Coinciding with the growth of the City, Chief Olson has brought the Geneva Fire Department into the modern era with the construction of two fire stations, including a new headquarters station; the purchase of updated vehicles and equipment; and the implementation of technology that includes educational programs and data analysis for all department operations. He initiated a community-based Automated External Defibrillator program that assisted local businesses and organizations in acquiring the devices along with training, installation and maintenance.
Chief Olson developed the successful In-Service Company Inspection program that ensures the department annually inspects all commercial properties and introduced the use of laptop computers in fire vehicles to provide critical building information to responding firefighters and paramedics. He also helped lead the Fire Department through an exhaustive process that resulted in the department becoming an internationally accredited agency in 2001, a status it has successfully maintained through the subsequent 15 years.
Outside of Geneva, Olson was a field instructor for the Illinois Fire Service Institute from 1986 to 1996 and has served on the Commission of Fire Accreditation as a peer assessor/team leader since 2005 and as vice chair since 2014.
Chief Olson is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Kane County Chiefs Association, Mutual Aid Box Alarm System – Illinois, Illinois Fire Accreditation Managers workgroup, and Tri-Com Central Dispatch Board of Directors.
A lifelong Geneva resident, he and his wife Beth have three daughters, all of whom graduated from Geneva High School.