The City of Lenoir has hired Norman Staines to serve as the next Fire Chief in Lenoir. Staines has 28 years of experience in the fire service, and has been teaching firefighting and public safety for more than 20 years.
The City of Lenoir management team created an extensive process to select the new Fire Chief. Candidates had to complete many steps to make it to the final round of interviews. In round one, the candidates completed written questions. Round two included a mock news interview and technical interview assessment. In round three, they gave a community presentation and completed an in-basket exercise and an in-person panel interview.
City Manager Scott Hildebran said the interview process helped staff select the best candidate for Lenoir.
"We had a very solid pool of candidates. Over 40 people from all over the country applied for the position," City Manager Hildebran said. "I believe Norman best met the qualifications and attributes that we were looking for in a candidate for this important position. He has three decades of experience in the fire service, and he knows the area and the people. He has been training our staff and many others in the area for 20 years. Based on my discussions with his public safety peers, they all speak very highly of his professionalism, his leadership and his knowledge of the fire and emergency field. I'm confident he'll do an excellent job as Fire Chief and will ensure the department adapts to changing trends in fire service and public safety."
Mr. Staines grew up in Caldwell County, and aside from a couple years after he was first married, he has lived on the same street all his life. He currently lives across from his parents, and his grandmother lives just down the road.
"I'm Caldwell County up one side and down the other," Mr. Staines said.
He attended Whitnel Elementary and graduated from Hibriten High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and Administration - Accounting from Appalachian State University and a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Management from Fayetteville State University. He also earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Gardner-Webb University.
Mr. Staines has served as the Assistant Fire Chief with the Hudson Fire Department since 1995. He assisted Caldwell County Emergency Services from 2008 to 2011 in search, rescue, and incident management. He has worked for Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) since 2000, most recently serving as the Associate Dean of Health and Public Services.
As Associate Dean, he oversees Fire and Rescue Services, Emergency Management and Preparedness Training, Paramedics and EMT Training, Basic Law Enforcement Training, Truck Driving Program, Health Services, etc. He has coordinated CCC&TI's fire and medical-related training in Caldwell and Watauga counties for many years.
Mr. Staines holds more than 20 fire and emergency preparedness certifications. He holds the Chief Fire Officer Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and is one of only 155 firefighters in North Carolina to hold that designation, and one of only three Chief Fire Officers in Caldwell County. He is also a Fire Officer IV, Emergency Vehicle Driver, EMT Basic, Firefighter II, NCSFA Advanced Firefighter, Certified Fire Investigator, and Technical Rescuer.
CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch said Mr. Staines will bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the Lenoir Fire Department.
“Norman has been a great leader for us at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute,” Dr. Poarch said. “He has done a tremendous job leading our public safety efforts for many years. As I told him and City Manager Hildebran, the City could not have made a better choice for the next Fire Chief. We hate to lose him, but he’s going to be a tremendous asset to Lenoir. We wish him great success.”
Although he may teach a few courses at the community college in the future, Mr. Staines will no longer teach full-time. He will also leave the Hudson Fire Department before starting as Fire Chief in Lenoir.
Mr. Staines said he is looking forward to making the switch from training to leading Lenoir firefighters.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to serve as Lenoir's next Fire Chief," Mr. Staines said. "Even though I have not been a Lenoir firefighter, I've been very invested in the department because of all the training I have done in the past. I want to see the department continue to grow and move forward and be the best department in North Carolina."
In his free time, Staines enjoys spending time with his wife, Kim, and dog, Nala. The couple loves watching Appalachian football and traveling.
Mr. Staines will start as Lenoir Fire Chief on June 19, 2023.