For more than four decades, Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block has lived, worked and breathed fire and rescue.
Victoria’s inaugural Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block has more than 40 years’ of fire and rescue experience.
Ken was the Chief Fire Officer of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services in Canada from 2009 to 2020 and served three terms as the President of the Canadian Association of Fire Chief’s (CAFC).
Ken has worked with career and volunteer firefighter organisations and allied agencies across Canada. He develops strong, productive relationships with his workforce and their unions.
Ken is a tireless campaigner for improving the safety of the community, firefighters and the fire and rescue services.
Throughout his career Ken has led significant organisational change, and delivered improvements to:
- the mental and physical health and wellbeing of employees,
- fire stations, appliances, equipment, and building codes,
- community safety through fire prevention, public education, fire investigations and fire engineering, and
- achieve a workforce that better reflects the community
Ken played a significant role in enacting Canada’s Fire Fighter’s Presumptive Cancer legislation, which recognises that 17 primary site cancers and heart injury are related to the work career firefighters do to serve their community.
He also advocated for presumptive rights for firefighters in the United States of America, Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Iceland and Germany.
Ken advocated on this issue most recently in Australia, which saw the Firefighters' Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Act 2019 introduced into the Victorian Parliament in May 2019.
Ken has received the following awards:
- Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association Fire Chief of the Year, 2015
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2013
- Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs Chief of the Year 2013
- Chief Fire Officer Designation, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, 2011
- Alberta Centennial Medal (Outstanding Citizen), 2005
- Alberta Provincial Emergency Services Medal, 2002, and
- Canadian Exemplary Services Medal, 2000
Ken has also formerly served as:
- a Canadian Building Codes Commission member
- the Chair of the Governance Council, Alberta First Responders Radio Communications system
- the President of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association
- the President, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, 2016 – 2020
- the Chair of the Canadian Association of Fire Chief’s National Advisory Council
- the Presidential Advisor of the Alberta Fire Chief's Association (AFCA), and
- the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.
Commissioner Block worked closely with the Victorian Government and emergency service agencies to establish Fire Rescue Victoria. Ken joined the Department of Justice and Community Safety on 10 February 2020 before commencing his role as Fire Rescue Commissioner with Fire Rescue Victoria on 1 July 2020.
Reviewed 16 October 2020