North Chicago Fire Chief retires after nearly 30 years
Fire Chief Dell Urban was the first full-time female municipal fire chief in Lake County

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (June 4, 2021) – North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban has announced her retirement from the City of North Chicago.  Urban spent nearly 30 years as a member of the North Chicago Fire Department.  Previously, she worked as a firefighter for the Newport Township Fire Protection District. A public walk-out ceremony is planned for her last day, Friday, June 11, 2021.

Throughout her career, Chief Urban has been a pioneer for women in the firefighting/EMS profession.  When she was hired, Urban was the first female firefighter in the history of the North Chicago Fire Department.  When she was appointed North Chicago Fire Chief in June 2012, she was the first full-time municipal fire chief in Lake County.  Currently, Chief Urban is one of only two municipal female fire chiefs in the state.

Making training and education a priority and expectation, 23 members of the North Chicago Fire Department completed Advanced Technician Firefighter, all but a handful have obtained their Fire Apparatus Engineer.  All fire department officers have completed the Chief Fire Officer program, the highest certification designation through the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Additionally, under Urban’s leadership, the department underwent an extensive remodeling of both fire stations in addition to the replacement and standardization of nearly all fleet of apparatus.  Physical fitness became a priority for the department, which brought back annual physicals and promoted firefighter physical and mental wellness. As chief, Urban says her biggest challenge turned into a major achievement.  She worked to ensure personnel had the tools, equipment, and apparatus to respond in the most efficient manner.

Through her tenure as chief, Urban worked continuously to find the department alternative funding via grants and other sources.  In addition to millions of dollars in grants, the department received millions more in local and county awards for equipment purchases.

Urban says one of the most rewarding accomplishments was the launch of the Sound Alarm Campaign.  In collaboration with the American Red Cross, the campaign provides free 10-year ion lithium battery smoke detectors for North Chicago residents. Since the inception of the program, the department installed nearly 700 smoke detectors in over 330 homes.

In 2014, Urban and her staff spearheaded a call notification upgrade for the department that led to nearly a 43.5% decrease in response time. When seconds count, this time savings had a critical impact on saving life and property.

During her time in North Chicago, she has seen the fire service evolve into a safer, more structured, and educated profession.     

The public is invited to attend Chief Urban’s Walk-Out Ceremony.

WHAT: Walk Out Ceremony for North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban
WHEN: Friday, June 11, 2021
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: North Chicago Fire Station 1, 1850 Lewis Avenue, North Chicago, IL 60064