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John Binaski – Fire Chief of the Year

John Binaski, Fire Chief
Clovis Fire Department

Fire Chief John Binaski is one of the most dedicated public safety professionals we have had the honor of working with. He has been a member of the fire service for 29 years.  He holds a Master of Science Degree in Emergency Services Administration, Executive Fire Officer with the National Fire Academy, Chief Officer Designee with the Commission on Professional Credentialing, California Executive Chief Fire Officer Certification, and is a California Master Fire Instructor.

Chief Binaksi’s commitment to the fire service is an understatement. Here are just a few of his accomplishments:

  • California Fire Chiefs Association Area Director and now a Division Director.
  • Former California League of Cities Fire Chiefs’ Department
  • Central Valley Fire Chief’s Association Vice-President, California Statewide Training and Education Advisory Committee Member
  • A School District Career Technology Advisor.
  • Peer Assessor for the Commission on Fire Accreditation
  • California Incident Command Certification System Fresno County Peer Assessment Committee
  • Fresno County Emergency Medical Care Committee (Central Valley Fire Chief’s Representative).
  • Improved His Agency’s Insurance Service Office rating from a Class 3 to a
  • Improved Advanced Life Support delivery to the community with a public private partnership and no additional costs to the
  • Maintained accreditation from the Commission of Fire Accreditation International, meeting all industry best practices for emergency services

The recipients other noteworthy career accomplishments include:

  • College of the Sequoias Fire Academy
  • California State Fire Training Master Instructor
  • Fire Service Executive Development Institute, International Association of Fire

Leadership is something that becomes very apparent during times of great difficulty and stress. Recently, The Porterville Fire Department suffered a double line-of-duty death.  Chief Binaski, with Porterville’s authorization, coordinated the numerous LODD notifications to varying government agencies and professional organizations. More importantly, he spearheaded a plan for the Department employees to remain off-duty for approximately 10 days. This was in coordination with multiple fire departments within seven different counties to allow the agency who lost their two firefighters an opportunity to grieve the loss of their fellow firefighters while attending funerals and memorials.

Another example of Chief Binaski’s leadership has been a driving force in developing and implementing local protocols while procuring supplies for logistical support during the COVID-19 crisis. Many organizations, including local health and medical officials, county agencies, and city leaders, have been looking to him for a blueprint of ideas on how to locally handle the national crisis while using his strategies within their respective jurisdictions. This is a demonstration of reverence for the quality of work and forethought that he produces, beyond just the fire service, when there are limited directives and policies specifically for these events.

He has participated in many innovative projects during his tenure with his department. Some of these noteworthy projects include:

  • Facilitated an internal fire department study on how Planned Unit Developments (PUD’s – high density housing with narrow streets) affect fire department response times in comparison to traditional neighborhood street configuration with full scale response data while conducting structural firefighting operations within the restricted area for those
  • Established a lease agreement with the local electrical utility company to rent space at the training facility and provide a regular and reoccurring revenue stream to purchase training props and upgrade the facility on an annual These props are utilized by multiple mutual-aid partners, our explorer program, and hosts the Fresno Training Symposium
  • Partnered with the local school district Regional Occupational Program (ROP) to apply for a 100% educational grant funding for a new three-story training tower that was built at the Fire Department training facility. A joint powers agreement was established outlining both entities’ cooperative access to the new training

Professional development and giving back to the fire service as a whole are very important to the awardee. He routinely shares his experience, knowledge, and wisdom with fellow fire departments and organizations.

With all of the above accomplishments, he still has time to give back to the community. Some of the events he participates in include home visits for cancer survivors, personally purchased bicycles for the annual Christmas bike giveaway through the Fresno County Chapter of Pink Heals, and annual participation in the chili cook-off at Alisa Ann Ruch Burn foundation Champ Camp.

When it comes to integrity, he is an example of “what to do”. It doesn’t matter what the issue is that comes before him, he always evaluates each issue on its own merit and evaluates the facts to base his decisions without sugar coating the issue. Furthermore, he is of the personality that he doesn’t give back for the recognition or notoriety; he simply does it because it is the right thing to do. His integrity is always above reproach.

Chief Binaski’s worthiness of this award is further evidenced by the fact that the signatories of his nomination letter include all of his management team and the Department’s union president.

Please, join us in congratulating this year’s 2021 Ronny J. Coleman Fire Chief of the Year, Fire Chief of the City of Clovis and CalChiefs Northern Division Director, John Binaski.

                                               Past Recipients

2021 John Binaski Clovis Fire Department
2020 Michael McLaughlin Cosumnes Fire Department
2019 David Rocha Alameda County Fire Department
2018 Jeff Carman Contra Costa Fire Protection District
2017 Mark Hartwig San Bernardino County Fire Protection District
2016 Tracey Hansen Cosumnes Fire Department
2013 Kurt P. Henke Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department
2012 Kenneth Woods III Humboldt Bay Fire Department
2011 Sheldon Gilbert Alameda County Fire Department
2010 Doug Williams/John Hawkins Rincon Valley Fire Department/Cal Fire – Riverside
2009 Kenneth Massucco Marin County Fire Department
2008 Tracy Jarman San Diego Fire & Rescue Department
2007 Kim Zagaris California Office of Emergency Services
2006 William McCammon Alameda County Fire Department
2005 Ray Quintanar U.S. Forest Service, Region 5
2004 Dave Carlson Riverside Fire Department
2003 Rick Martinez Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District
2002 Chip Prather Orange County Fire Authority
2001 Mike Thompson Culver City Fire Department
2000 Daniel Lydon Fremont Fire Department
2000 Robert E. Marcucci San Rafael Fire Department