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New chief has 31 years experience as a firefighter

Mike Conway

Post Date:01/12/2015

Shawn Henry named Merced Fire Chief


A seasoned firefighter with 31 years of experience, Shawn Henry has been named as the fire chief for the Merced Fire Department as of Monday. He succeeds Mike McLaughlin who took a job as the deputy chief with the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department.

'Shawn Henry brings to the City 31 years of firefighting experience, with key accomplishments in the field and he has deep roots in the Merced community,' said City Manager John Bramble. '

The new chief has been responsible for a variety of innovative practices within the Department. Henry led the development and implementation of the City's smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm program. He started a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) partnership that lead to a program that identified the exact location of fire hydrants, a critical need in emergency situations.

The Chief brought the Department's safety clothing into compliance and standardized personal protective equipment. He played a key role in development of the Community Emergency Response Team and the development and updating of the City's Emergency Operations Plan and Continuity of Operations Plan.

Henry, 51, has served with the City Department since 1991 and was a battalion chief before his appointment as chief. Henry worked his way up through the ranks in the City Department starting as a firefighter I in 1991, before being promoted to engineer in 1995, captain in 2000, and battalion chief in 2009. He had prior experience with the California Department of and Fire Protection Forestry starting in 1981 and the Madera Fire Department in 1986.

He and his wife, Sandi, have three sons, Mitchel, Cameron and Preston. Henry enjoys hiking and backpacking in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and kayaking.

Henry has a bachelor's degree in fire administration from Cogswell Polytechnical College. His annual salary is $118,603.68.

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