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Platz selected as NLFD fire chief

Nov. 6 start date, pending city council approval
North Liberty Fire Chief Brian Platz

NORTH LIBERTY– As long as the city council agrees, North Liberty will have its first full-time fire chief on Nov. 6.
Brian Platz, a former assistant chief (and current firefighter) for the Solon-Tri Township Emergency Response Agency (volunteer) and current deputy chief for the Iowa City Fire Department (ICFD), was announced as the new chief Friday, Sept. 1, pending North Liberty City Council approval at a Tuesday, Sept. 12, regular meeting.
The North Liberty Fire Department (NLFD) is a volunteer department, which has had a part-time paid chief and two paid part-time assistant chiefs. A consultant’s report in 2016 listed hiring a full-time chief as a priority for the department, based in part on continuing population growth in North Liberty, and the increasing responses that come with it. The council approved the position in May and hired Moulder and Associates, LLC, to conduct a search for qualified candidates.
“Since this is the first time North Liberty has hired a full-time fire chief, they had some pretty specific requirements,” William Moulder said. Among those requirements was experience in a career (full­—time paid personnel) fire department as well as a volunteer department. Second on the list, he said, was a requirement for the candidate to either have attended, or be attending, the National Fire Officer’s School in Emmetsburg, Va., at the National Fire Academy as well as leadership experience.
Platz also was an elected officer for the Iowa Firefighters Association.
Moulder sorted through 48 applications and trimmed the pool to 15, which was further reduced to 10 and then five finalists, including Platz.
The new chief is a native of Dyersville and grew up with the fire service. “My dad was on the fire department there and from a very young age I was a station rat,” he said at a candidates meet and greet in August. “I loved going to the fire station with him. My passion (for the fire service) started very early.” He was hired by the ICFD when he was 21 and moved to Solon and joined its volunteer fire department. “Growing up in, and my love for, the volunteer fire service… that occupied a pretty big part of my heart,” he said.
Platz earned his Chief Fire Officer credentials from the Centers for Public Safety Excellence’s Commission on Professional Credentialing and is also certified as a firefighter, fire instructor, fire officer, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), aerial (ladder truck) operator, driver-pump operator and Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) technician. As a deputy chief for the ICFD, Platz is responsible for coordinating and directing emergency operations, maintaining facilities, managing special projects and serving as the accreditation manager for the career (all paid) department.
“It’s been fun, it’s been interesting,” he said. “For me, the draw here is, North Liberty is in a situation of so much growth, I just think there are some special times coming up here for the North Liberty Fire Department.”
Platz said he loves his job, his co-workers and ICFD Chief John Grier, but “The opportunity this position is going to provide is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.” Solon and North Liberty often respond together through mutual aid, which means Platz is very familiar with the NLFD and its members. “When North Liberty shows up, they get it done. They’re good at what they do,” he said.