Mo. fire chief announces retirement, takes job at FEMA

Sandra Schiess, the first female fire chief in the Kansas City area, is leaving to become the federal disaster recovery coordinator for FEMA.

The Kansas City Star

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Sandra Schiess, who has served as Independence’s fire chief since 2005, has announced her retirement.

The first female fire chief in the Kansas City area, Schiess is leaving to become federal disaster recovery coordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region 7. Her retirement takes effect Friday.

“Chief Schiess has shown her dedication to protecting the lives and property of this community,” City Manager Robert Heacock said in a written statement.

As fire chief, Schiess worked to raise the department’s status to a Class 2 rating from the ISO Public Protection Classification program. Independence joins only 10 other fire departments in the state of Missouri with the rating, Heacock said in the statement.

Schiess became a firefighter in Columbia in 1978. She joined the Independence department in 2000 as assistant fire chief of administration. In 2004, Schiess was named interim chief following the retirement of Chief Larry Hodge.

She was named chief after a national search.

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