Chuck Kuhn to retire after 31 years at Fermilab

Chuck Kuhn will retire from Fermilab at the end of November after 31 years with the lab’s fire department.

Known to many as simply “Chief”, Kuhn began his firefighting career with the Batavia Fire Department before joining Fermilab’s fire department full-time in 1990. Since 2012, he has served as the lab’s fire chief. Prior to that, Kuhn was battalion chief and tasked with launching an electronic program for tracking items such as vehicle checks, inspections, the fire extinguishers inventory in buildings and its preventative maintenance program. Kuhn also headed up the building inspection program and fire-related public education.

As fire chief, Kuhn transitioned the building inspection program to a cloud-based solution. Under Kuhn’s tenure, he moved the laboratory to National Incident Management System methodology, which involved revamping the Facility (Fire) Incident Reporting Utility System database that the emergency dispatchers dispatch from. He was also instrumental in revamping the AED program for the lab.

“The lab has been lucky to have had Chief Kuhn as the fire chief for the past nine years,” said Amber Kenney, chief safety officer. “Under his leadership the fire department took on more responsibility across the lab to prevent fires and emergencies. Not only that, but he also elevated the importance of the lab’s support for our neighbors through Mutual Aid responses. Chuck has been incredibly dedicated to the lab and has instilled that dedication in the team. He leaves behind an incredible fire department that will miss him, but he has arranged it so they are perfectly prepared.”

Kuhn played a critical role in preparing for the lab’s successful — and safe — 50th anniversary open house. He continues to be very involved with laboratory-wide fire inspections, fire drills and public education. He has been very supportive of having shift members making regular visits to the onsite daycare center to read books and help educate teachers and students about fire prevention and safety.

“His passion; commitment to safety, preparedness, and protecting the laboratory, fellow coworkers and the public; and continuous improvement that he not only talked about but led by example – all made us want to be better,” said Jim Niehoff, emergency services manager.

Kuhn’s last day is November 30. Please join us in wishing him well in his retirement.

— ESH team