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Way named new KCFR chief

by JENNIFER PASSARO
Staff Writer | May 9, 2020 1:00 AM

The Kootenai County Fire & Rescue District has a new fire chief.

President Pam Houser announced that the Board of Fire Commissioners chose Christopher Way as the new chief. He will assume his role on May 18.

“I am honored, humbled and excited to get started on the job,” Way said.

Way has served as an emergency service professional for 28 years. He got his start as a junior volunteer firefighter and lifeguard at the local swimming pool in Labette County, Kansas. He has served in fire and EMS roles in urban, suburban and rural settings.

Currently, Way is the chief of the Kootenai County EMS System in Idaho, a fire-based EMS system responding to almost 20,000 requests for service annually. In addition to his full-time role as chief, he is involved at the local, regional, state and national level in advocacy and leadership for emergency services.

Way also has experience in disaster and incident management at the state and national level. He has a bachelor’s degree in management and human relations and maintains all of his fire and EMS licenses/certifications.

The selection comes at the conclusion of an extensive recruitment process, conducted by Kootenai County Fire & Rescue. Way will replace former Fire Chief Warren Merritt, who retired in December. He will lead a team of nearly 90 employees, including officers, firefighters, chiefs, and support staff.

Way said that while being chief of the fire and rescue district will have a segment that is emergency medicine, a large segment of the work is fire suppression, prevention, and education.

“There are more elements involved in the job,” Way said.

Way and his wife, Jennifer, live in Hayden with their two daughters.