Meet Vincent Smith

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

February 4, 2013

Vincent J. Smith ’88, chief of the Wayland (Mass.) Fire Department, is the first city resident to assume the role in more than 30 years. He received a B.S. in business, management and economics through the Center for Distance Learning.

Vincent J. Smith

Vincent J. Smith

Smith joined the department in 1978 and rose through the ranks while completing numerous certifications, including chief fire officer management training, fire inspector and emergency medical technician.

He grew up in Wayland, graduating from Wayland High in 1973. In addition to attending SUNY Empire State College, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Framingham State University.

One of Smith’s most notable recent achievements before becoming chief was the introduction of new advanced life support services in 2009. He worked closely with members of the community on the Advanced Life Support Committee to see the initiative through to implementation.

“I firmly believe that local government needs to be involved in the business of prehospital emergency care,’’ Smith said, “and this service dovetails nicely with a fire department’s routine.”

“We always have to have a skeleton crew on call,” he said. “Meanwhile, there’s a lot of downtime for these firefighters. So training them to be paramedics as well gives them another skill to utilize in helping to save lives.”

Smith has also been active in the juvenile fire-setters program for youngsters who are curious about or experimenting with fire.

“Usually, we do this at the request of the parents,” he said. “It’s not a punitive approach. We try to make friends with the child and teach him or her some fire-safety lessons.”

Smith has devoted considerable effort to the fire-safety education program in the schools. He started by going to his own children’s kindergarten classes, and has followed them along as they advanced through the grades.