Keys named battalion chief, George fire marshal for South Lake Tahoe

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Jim Drennan has selected Captain Justin Keys as battalion chief and Cpt. Kim George as fire marshal, effective Dec. 10 and Jan. 9 respectively, the city announced on Wednesday. 

As battalion chief, a position vacated when Drennan was appointed chief, Keys will be responsible for the training division. He is one of three battalion chiefs with South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue. 

Keys began his career with the City as a reserve firefighter in 2006, becoming a full-time firefighter in January 2009 and was promoted to captain in 2017. He has managed multiple staff assignments, including rope rescue, ice rescue, swift water rescue, and the boat program. He is on the apparatus committee and served as the training captain prior to this promotion. In addition, Keys has coordinated the annual, in-house fire academy for new firefighters for over six years.

Justin Keys

Keys said, “I’m proud to serve this great community and honored that Chief Drennan has entrusted me with the training division as a battalion chief. I look forward to serving in this position that has a long history of excellence.”

“His heart of service makes him a well-respected member of our agency and we are thrilled he has earned his new position as battalion chief,” Drenna said. “Keys is the epitome of calm, cool and collected on-scene and has built a solid reputation in the area.”

Keys has worked as an instructor at the Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy for 10 years and has worked at Heavenly Ski Patrol for 16 years. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, fishing, camping, and spending time with his wife, Jess, and their two children, Juliette and Tanner.

As fire marshal Kim George will be responsible for building the City’s fire prevention bureau, with a focus on defensible space, resiliency, and hardening our community to withstand future wildfire events. 

George has worked for SLTFR for 21 years, starting as a firefighter/paramedic in 2001. As the EMS officer and public education officer, she has managed the EMS training program for 11 years and the public education school programs for six years. She was promoted to engineer in 2009 and to the rank of captain in 2016. 

“I have worked with Kim for over 20 years and I can proudly say that she is truly dedicated to SLTFR and this community,” Drenna said. “She continually strives to improve department operations and outreach. I expect Kim to do great things as our new fire marshal.”

Kim George

George said, “I’m looking forward to using my skills and insight to build the City’s fire prevention bureau. I’ve called South Lake Tahoe home for over 20 years, and am honored to continue to serve my community as your fire marshal.” 

George holds a Master of Science in executive fire leadership with an emphasis on disaster preparedness from Grand Canyon University and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Excelsior College. In addition to being a registered nurse, she holds multiple certifications, including California State Fire Marshal Fire Officer, National Fire Academy Quality Improvement in EMS, and California State Fire Marshal S-404 Safety Officer. She has completed the California State Fire Marshal Fire Chief Series. 

George is an active member of the basin-wide Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, hiking, biking, relaxing at the lake, going to San Jose Sharks games, and spending time with her husband, Matt, and their two boys, Odie and Tyler.

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