There’s a New Chief in Town:  Fire Chief Ryan Gibson

By AAK, Sara Jane Richter

As of the end of March 2024, there’ll be a new chief in town—a new fire chief, to be exact. Ryan Gibson takes over for retiring Fire Chief Tony Stewart of Kingfisher. Gibson’s advancement comes after a career of learning and growing as a firefighter.

Originally from Dover, Oklahoma, Gibson will continue his career close to home. His family—daughter, son, and wife—is very important to him. He has always wished to help people ever since the national headline news story of Baby Jessica falling into the hole in that Midland, Texas, backyard in October 1987. While watching that near-tragedy-turned-heroic rescue, Gibson dreamed of helping others in need and danger. He has made this dream a reality for all of his adult life.

His training gives him a great background to assume his new role. Starting his career in Dover as a community volunteer firefighter in 2000, he quickly earned his Basic EMT and Firefighter 1 certificates and learned hands-on about call response and equipment maintenance. He became a Kingfisher firefighter in 2004 under retiring Chief Stewart and received his EMT Intermediate and EMT Paramedic certificates. Three years later, Gibson became lieutenant and then reached the rank of captain in 2014.  

All the while, Gibson earned additional training and certifications, proving that firefighting and leadership were his ultimate goals. In 2019, he completed the Executive Fire Officer Leadership Program. At the Kingfisher station, he responds to emergencies, maintains equipment, trains crew members, and handles day-to-day operations. He comes with superb recommendations and top-notch training.

As Kingfisher’s new fire chief, Gibson wishes to maintain the good work ethic and high morale already established at the station. In addition, he intends to keep his crew learning and training at various venues, such as the OSU Fire School Training Center, EMT classes, and fire and rescue conferences and seminars. Each afternoon, the Kingfisher firefighting crew members undergo training of some sort regarding emergency tactics, mass casualty demands, water rescue action, fire abatement, and leadership expertise. A fire department crew doesn’t just sit in the station waiting for an alarm to sound. The Kingfisher Fire Department maintains a crew of eighteen firefighters plus one volunteer and, of course, the chief.

Training is a pivotal part of the department’s success, and work regarding ropes rescue and hazmat training regularly occurs. It is imperative for a department to retain its ISO (Insurance Services Office) national rating to allow community residents a lower insurance rate to protect their homes, businesses, and property.

Gibson understands that change isn’t always easy, and he accepts this new position, realizing that he will face challenges. The station crew and he understand, first of all, that a budget must be followed; however, gaining new firefighters, EMTs, and firefighting equipment sometimes makes budget adherence a tricky proposition. Too he looks forward to the completion of the new fire station, which will naturally help morale and boost hiring new members of the station’s crew. Regardless of challenges, Gibson and his team are prepared for the future. 

Gibson says that the world is no longer the safe place that we all once thought existed. He is ready to shoulder new responsibilities and methodologies to protect the citizens of Kingfisher and Kingfisher County with his wealth of experience, training, and good intentions. A lesser man would not have applied for, let alone accepted, the role of the chief; therefore, the next time you see soon-to-be Chief Gibson, wish him well, shake his hand, and thank him for his dedication to his community—and you. He’ll do a great job. Photo by AAK Jack Quirk