GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — After 45 years with the National Park Service (NPS), including nearly 30 at Grand Canyon National Park, battalion chief Paul Glazer has retired.
Glazer’s official title at GCNP is Branch Chief of Information and Telecommunications, but he served the Grand Canyon Fire Department as firefighter, battalion chief, and instructor/coordinator for the park’s structural firefighting training program as well. In 2014, he was awarded Outstanding Structural Fire Instructor of the Year by the NPS.
It’s not glamourous work, and a lot of the time, it’s not even visible work. Along with responding to fires and emergencies that arise within the park, Glazer and his crew perform the more mundane tasks critical to public and employee safety. Do the sprinkler systems and fire alarms work? Are the fire hydrants functioning? Are the fire extinguishers in each building up to date and readily available? Are all buildings up to fire code?
The answers to all these questions are, of course, yes.
“He’s an amazing resource for the fire service,” said Tusayan Fire Chief Greg Brush, who worked with Glazer at Grand Canyon National Park before leading the Tusayan Fire Department. “The work he’s done around here isn’t known by everybody, but he’s really made a difference by what he does.”
In his spare time, Glazer also assists wildland fire efforts as a radio implementation resource.
Although he calls the Grand Canyon home, Glazer just finished a move to Los Angeles, where he will care for his aging father. It's a far cry from "the people, the critters, the quiet" that he loves, he said, but he's planning to make the best of it.
"I'm going to put on a pair of really obnoxious swim trunks and a stupid hat and go sit on the beach and meet movie stars!" he said.
Glazer doesn’t plan on hanging up the fire hose any time soon, however. He plans to continue working with the NPS firefighter training program in parks throughout the nation. The idea, he said, is to train up-and-coming lead fire instructors.
Brush said the NPS and Tusayan fire departments have a mutual aid agreement and occasionally train together. With Glazer’s help, Brush said he was able to send one of his staff to the NPS’ structural fire training course, a first for the small department.
“He has always strived to provide the most current strategies and techniques,” Brush said. “He’s a great guy and he’ll be missed.”