Fermilab firefighters are sworn in

On Saturday morning, Feb. 25, Fire Chief Steve Hernandez hosted the inaugural swearing-in and pinning ceremony at the 327 building for the Fermilab Fire Department. Family, colleagues, friends, former members and retirees attended to celebrate this special day. Fire officers from Argonne, Batavia, Warrenville, Geneva and St. Charles were also in attendance in a show of support for the department.

Security and Emergency Management Division Deputy Director Joe Rogers swore in Fire Chief Steve Hernandez, who assumed his role Feb. 7, 2022. Photo: Steve Hernandez

It is a long-standing tradition in the fire service to pin and swear-in members of a fire department. Firefighters take an oath of office as a solemn promise to defend the Constitution of the United States and to follow the regulations of their department. Fire departments expand that oath to include a willingness to place others above themselves; placing the public above themselves is how firefighters are trained. It is the duty of firefighters to protect members of the public.

Two men in uniform shake hands.

Chief Hernandez congratulated Deputy Chief Jorge Cortez at the ceremony. It has been more than 20 years since the Fermilab Fire Department has had a deputy fire chief. Photo: Steve Hernandez

Badge-pinning is a proud tradition within fire departments, signifying the introduction of department members into their new duties and welcoming them to the department.

Shown from left to right: SEMD Deputy Director Rogers swore in Fermilab Fire Department Lieutenants Christopher Fioretto, Eric Poss and Christopher Hurst. Photo: Steve Hernandez

The Fermilab Fire Department has protected the laboratory since the beginning of its operation. FFD was first instituted as a fire brigade and has evolved into a complete, full-time fire department.

Chief Hernandez presented Jim Niehoff with a plaque of appreciation for his leadership and support of the Fermilab Fire Department. Niehoff had assumed the administrative interim chief position from the end of November 2021 through early February 2022 after Chief Chuck Kuhn retired. Photo: Steve Hernandez

As Fermilab continues to evolve as a particle physics laboratory, the FFD is on site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, supporting and protecting the science, employees, users and visitors.

Shown are the current members of the department, including Fire Chaplain Mike Rasicci (front row, left), who is the first official chaplain of the Fermilab Fire Department. Photo: Steve Hernandez