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Education pushed Fire Chief Flowers to the head of the class

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, May 8, 2015

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Dorian Flowers began a new era with the fire department on May 1 when he replaced former chief Chris Harvey, who retired after 38 years of service in Greer. Flowers was introduced at City Council on April 28.
 

Dorian Flowers began a new era with the fire department on May 1 when he replaced former chief Chris Harvey, who retired after 38 years of service in Greer. Flowers was introduced at City Council on April 28.

 

All things being equal, City Administrator Ed Driggers suggested, education would define the new City of Greer fire chief.

Dorian Flowers “identifies with the future culture of our (fire) department and leadership as we continue to change technically,” Driggers said. City of Greer department supervisors, hired by Driggers, all reflect college-educated backgrounds. Police and fire staff, encouraged to take continuing education courses, have obtained associate degrees and technical training certification.

Flowers began a new era with the fire department on May 1 when he replaced former chief Chris Harvey, who retired after 38 years of service in Greer.

“Nothing replaces experience,” Driggers said. “Look at our department heads. We have a fire chief that received his B.S., has a master’s degree and is a licensed PE (professional engineer). Our police chief has bachelor’s and master’s degrees and teaches criminal justice.”

Flowers holds a master's degree in public administration from Anna Maria College, a bachelor of science in business administration from Mount Olive College, and an associate of applied science in fire science technology from Pikes Peak Community College.

“Education definitely was a career development path for me,” Flowers said.

He also has extensive fire education and training through the National Fire Academy, holds several fire service certifications and has taught fire and technical rescue programs at several community colleges across North Carolina.

“There’s a big drive and push to change fire departments from a blue collar profession,” Flowers said. “The National Fire Academy of training and formalized education gives you the tools to look at an organization objectively.

“Simple courses provide data . . . you can analyze a lot of data. The future fire service will be data driven,” Flowers said.

Flowers said a typical fire department is run by the number of calls and fires it handles per year. “It doesn’t paint a full picture of what residents pay for municipal taxes and homeowners insurance,” Flowers said.

And saving taxpayers money by practicing and executing fire safety is important to Flowers.

“The fire department is the only department that can put money back into the pockets of people,” Flowers said. “Greer kept its ISO 2 and that’s a testament to Chief Harvey. It keeps taxpayers and business fees low.”

Driggers said he met with fire staff during the selection process. “I asked them, ‘What do you want in a fire chief?’ They said innovation, experience and someone who has been in the business.”

Flowers represents all those prerequisites and more.

“I started as a volunteer and it became my first paid job,” Flowers said. “ I started in high school but I didn’t have the focus to know what I wanted to do. I went to the Fire Academy and during that time realized I wanted to get into the firefighting profession and also go back to school.”

Flowers received his master’s in business administration while he was chief at Hendersonville.

At New Hanover County (Wilmington, N.C.) Flowers led the transition from mostly all-volunteer fire departments into primarily paid staffs with some part-time and volunteers. He became more involved in administration and also into fire station construction.

Flowers said he will encourage his staff to pursue continued education. “Formal education not so much for the subject, but the process and follow through, time management and discipline,” he said.

 

 

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