Fire and Emergency Services
Department Director : Fire Chief Russell Knick
Gwinnett County Fire Chief Russell Knick began his successful career with Gwinnett County in 1990 in the Sheriff’s Office before transferring to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in 1993. Russell’s 26 years of experience in fire and emergency medical services include high-profile assignments in the areas of strategic planning, leadership development, training, accreditation, and community partnering initiatives.
Committed to the well-being of the department’s 961 employees and their families, Russell is a strong advocate for employee safety and engagement. He also thrives on challenges that embrace innovative best practices and is a respected leader for his well-rounded management experience and passion for community-focused customer care.
Russell holds a BS and a Master of Public Administration from Jacksonville State University and a career excellence designation as a Chief Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is a member of the 2018 class of Leadership Gwinnett.
Russell, a Lawrenceville native, lives in Commerce with his wife, Patti. They have two grown children.
On March 22, 2017, Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services received Accredited Agency status with the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). This prestigious recognition was given for meeting the criteria of the Commission on Fire Accreditation International’s (CFAI) voluntary self-assessment and accreditation program. The department was also commended by the CFAI Committee for its innovative programs and services.
The accreditation process examines past, present, and future service levels, including internal performance. The department submits the Annual Compliance Report each February based on accreditation cycle. The CFAI is dedicated to assisting agencies throughout the world to provide continuous quality improvement and enhancement of service delivery. The department’s accreditation is valid for five years.
On September 16, 2011, the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) awarded the Gwinnet County Department of Fire and Emergency Services with accreditation for the Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic Program. CAAHEP is the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field and accredits over 2000 educational programs in 28 health science occupations. The Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic program was judged by CAAHEP to be in compliance with nationally established standards.
When an institution or program is accredited, it has demonstrated that they meet the standards set by the organization representing the academic community and professionals. To maintain accreditation the institution or program must undergo a similar review on a regular basis. Typically accreditation reviews are conducted every five years.
In a continued commitment to the citizens of Gwinnett County, the department has worked diligently over the last five years to exceed standards set forth by CAAHEP which resulted in a successful reaccreditation process on July 21, 2016. The next reaccreditation will occur in 2021 and the department is committed to the continuous enhancement of its programs and educational standards.
For more information about the improved ISO rating, click here.