Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Hailey Fire Chief Came Up Through the Ranks
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Hailey’s new Fire Chief Mike Baledge has already led his department in responding to a structure fire and a wildland fire in the three weeks since former Fire Chief Craig Aberbach stepped down.
 
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Hailey Fire Marshal Mike Baledge has been named Hailey’s new fire chief.

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle selected Baledge, who has been serving as the city’s deputy fire chief, from 20 highly qualified candidates solicited from a nationwide search.

He will step into the role vacated by Craig Aberbach, who ended his tenure on Sept. 30 so that his wife and he could relocate near their aging parents.

Baledge has 24 years of fire experience, beginning his career as a volunteer and moving through the ranks from a paid-per-call volunteer to deputy chief. He was hired full time by the Hailey Fire Department in 2002, taking on the role of fire marshal, under which he reviewed commercial building plans and inspected buildings.

Baledge noted that coming up through the ranks will serve him well in dealing with a fire department that relies significantly on volunteers, or paid-per-call firefighters.

“Our best emergency response is with paid-per-call firefighters because they bring with them all the expertise of their trades, as well as their emergency response training,” he said.

Baledge is an EMT, or emergency medical technician, instructor for the state of Idaho. He also teaches firefighter essentials at the local firefighting academy, which trains prospective firefighters every January.

He holds a national wildland Type 5 incident command certification and functions as engine boss and squad boss when deployed on wildland fires. He also takes part in Fire Prevention Week, which taught fire prevention and safety to 785 students this month.

The City of Hailey advertised the position through the International Fire Chiefs Association, which reaches more than 8,500 prospective applicants. Exiting Fire Chief Aberbach helped review the applications and identify the top five candidates, who were then interviewed by Mayor Haemmerle and Mayor-elect Martha Burke.

 

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