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Former Whistler Fire Chief John McKearney receives 2022 Canadian Fire Chief of the Year award

September 26, 2022 
By The City of Whistler

Sept. 26, 2022, Whistler, B.C. – Former Whistler Fire Chief John McKearney is the 2022 Canadian Fire Chief of the Year. The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and Fire Underwriters Survey presented him with the honour at the Fire-Rescue Canada conference in Ottawa this month.

McKearney was recognized for going above and beyond his expected duties while leading the Whistler Fire Rescue Service from 2018 until his retirement in 2022. Shortly after joining the Resort Municipality of Whistler, he was elected president of the CAFC and spent his tenure advocating for policy to advance community and firefighter safety at a national level.

In Whistler, McKearney’s tenure saw him provide leadership toward community and firefighter safety through the COVID-19 pandemic, identifying alternate operational approaches for new COVID protocols and helping the department through ongoing change. Throughout this period, he kept constant focus on ensuring the department is also more prepared to deal with both structural and wildland urban interface fire fighting.

Before serving in Whistler, McKearney worked at the Vancouver Fire Rescue Service for 37 years, starting as a firefighter. He later served as lieutenant on the rescue squad and as training officer, before being promoted to deputy chief and on to fire chief with the City of Vancouver.


McKearney has an honourary lifetime membership with the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia and was also given the Marie Rogan Lifetime Achievement Award for his service as Director of the Pacific Northwest Preparedness Society.

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