Baltimore County News
Baltimore County is a national leader in terms of diversity in public safety agencies
This morning, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Fire Chief John Hohman honored Assistant Fire Chief Jennifer Aubert-Utz, whose recent promotion makes her the highest ranking woman in the history of the Baltimore County Fire Department. Assistant Chief is the second highest rank in the fire department.
The Baltimore County Fire Department is recognized nationally as a leader in promoting gender diversity, with women making up some 20% of its sworn members, compared to the national average, which is in the single digits. The previously highest ranking female was A. Danelle England-Dansicker, a Division Chief, who retired in 2005.
“I am very proud of Assistant Chief Aubert-Utz’s achievement, and now little girls all around the County know that they could grow up to one day become the Fire Chief,” said Kamenetz.
Aubert-Utz holds a master’s degree in management with a concentration in public safety leadership from Johns Hopkins University, and she completed the four-year Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy in 2015. She has devoted time to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and has taken a particular interest in pedestrian safety concerns, serving on pedestrian safety committees for the County and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. A Parkville resident, she has served in the Fire Department for 17 years.
“In addition to being extremely conscientious, forward-thinking and a real self-starter, Assistant Chief Aubert-Utz is a natural leader who has a uniquely effective way of mentoring people to draw out their individual strengths and inspire them to succeed,” said Fire Chief John Hohman. “She has earned the respect of our personnel with her vision and skills, and it is not so remarkable that she is a woman, but that she is so talented. She is recognized across the country for her leadership and is a role model and leader for both men and women in the fire service.”
“I feel honored to be chosen as the first woman to attain the rank of Assistant Chief," Aubert-Utz said. "I hope I can inspire other young women to pursue careers in community service."
"I'm familiar with Chief Aubert-Utz's excellent reputation from when she worked in my district and congratulate her on her quick ascension through the ranks," said Baltimore County Council Chair Tom Quirk.
Baltimore County Fire Chief, John Hohman
One of the best parts of my job is to promote our best and brightest firefighters and emergency medical personnel. This year I had the honor of promoting the very first woman to the rank of Assistant Chief, the second highest position in the department. Jennifer Aubert-Utz is now the highest ranking woman in the history of the Department, as one of three Assistant Chiefs.
I can remember when I first started in the department in February 1977. That year, the U.S. returned the Panama Canal to Panama, the first Apple II computers went on the market and the winter was so cold that the Chesapeake Bay froze over and they had to bring in ice-breakers. Also, it’s hard to believe, but at the time there was not a single female firefighter or paramedic in the Baltimore County Fire Department. I’m proud to say that we are now one of the top departments in the country in hiring females. The department has approximately 1,000 sworn members; 20 percent are women, while the national average for women in fire departments is 3 percent.
Assistant Chief Jennifer L. Aubert-Utz
Jennifer Aubert-Utz has spent nearly 17 years in the department. She has steadily moved up the ranks, starting as a Firefighter/EMT. Recently she served as commander of the Fire-Rescue Academy. She earned a Master’s degree in Management at Johns Hopkins University, and completed the National Fire Academy’s challenging four-year applied research program to attain the Executive Fire Officer designation. She has devoted time to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and has taken a particular interest in pedestrian safety concerns, serving on pedestrian safety committees for the County and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council.
“I feel honored to be chosen as the first woman to attain the rank of Assistant Chief. I hope I can inspire other young women to pursue careers in community service,” Aubert-Utz said. She has earned the respect of our personnel with her vision and skills, and it is not so remarkable that she is a woman, but that she is so talented. She is recognized across the country for her leadership. She is a role model and leader for both men and women in the fire service.
Assistant Chief Paul S. Lurz
Paul Lurz joined the department in 1990 and spent six years as a member of the department’s Hazardous Materials Response Team. He has worked in all three geographic divisions of the county, with his most recent assignment as the Division Chief for all of D Shift. In addition to his new role as Assistant Chief, he is also the Deputy Director of Emergency Management for Baltimore County, focusing on citizen preparedness, grants management, and planning. One area of interest is in ensuring that our vulnerable populations are properly served. Lurz earned a Master’s Degree in Management from Johns Hopkins University.
Division Chief Wayne L. Tome Sr.
Wayne Tome joined the Baltimore County Fire Department in 1983. He served as a paramedic until his 1986 promotion to EMS District Officer (Field Supervisor/ Lieutenant). He was subsequently named EMS Shift Commander (Captain), Fire Director for Emergency Medical Services, and has served as a Battalion Chief since 2012. He is also the mayor of Port Deposit, Maryland.
Battalion Chief Lonnie D. Ledford
Lonnie Ledford joined BCoFD in 2000 as a member of the 81st Recruit class. He has spent much of his career serving communities on the east side of the county, serving as a Fire Specialist, EMS Lieutenant and Fire Captain in Dundalk, Fullerton, and Towson. In 2015, Ledford worked as the Operations Captain of the Fire-Rescue Academy and as a Public Information Officer. He completed a Master’s degree in Management at Johns Hopkins University.
Battalion Chief Thomas G. Ramey
Tom Ramey joined the BCoFD in 1999 as a member of the 78th Recruit Class. He has held multiple positions including Firefighter/EMT, Paramedic/Firefighter, and EMS Lieutenant. He most recently was a Fire Captain at the Fullerton Fire Station, also serving as a Peer Fitness Trainer. He has been active with the Professional Firefighters of Maryland and earlier this year completed a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore.
Natalie Litofsky, Public Safety Information Specialist
Baltimore County Fire Department
July 4th weekend is one of the most popular occasions for family and community cookouts. While you’re serving up burgers and hotdogs, it’s also important to remember that safety is still a serious element of summer fun.
The Baltimore County Fire Department recommends that backyard grillers carefully read specific product information after buying new barbeque equipment, and that they review this information each year.
County law prohibits the use of charcoal or propane-fueled grills – or any other open-flame cooking or heating device – on any balcony or within 15 feet of multi-family buildings such as apartments. This restriction does not apply to townhouses or single family homes.
Liquefied petroleum gas (propane) used to fire gas barbecue grills, is highly flammable. Propane is contained under pressure in a steel cylinder. Vaporized and in a confined area, it has the explosive force of several sticks of dynamite.
You should never use a gas grill inside of a structure or store the propane tanks inside of any part of a structure, such as an enclosed porch or balcony. Keep propane tanks in a shady or cool area outside and in the upright position so the relief valve is on top.
Inspect propane grill hoses and connections prior to use. Make sure all fixtures, valves, and caps on propane canisters are working and are tightened properly. If the hose has deteriorated or the fittings are loose, do not use the grill until you correct the problem.
Although they may be eager to help, you should never let young children use a gas-powered barbecue grill.
Never use a charcoal barbecue in an enclosed space or inside the house. Combustion of charcoal produces carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. You should place a charcoal grill on a non-combustible surface a safe distance away from any structure.
It’s very important that you keep children away from a charcoal grill, because there is serious risk of both injury and spreading fire if they were to knock it over.
Do not use lighter fluid on a fire that has already been started. If you need to use a starter fluid, use only charcoal lighter fluid and follow the directions on the container. Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid to start a grill.
After you are finished grilling, pour water on the charcoal or ashes before disposal so they will not restart a fire.