Fire Chief of the Year

Troy Brock

More than passionate about his profession and even more about the firefighters working under his leadership.

An old adage claims that it really isn’t work if you love your work. If that’s the case, Rome-Floyd Fire Chief Troy Brock has been very happy for the past 33 years. However, in taking a little time to sit down with the chief, you realize that he is more than passionate about his profession and even more about the firefighters working under his leadership.

His dedication and relentless efforts to enhance the professionalism of his department, along with his love and compassion for local firefighters, prompted the naming of Troy Brock as the Georgia Fire Chief of the Year by the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs in 2022.

The path to his career began while his father and brothers were in law enforcement, but his dad wanted him to go in a different direction. When Troy expressed interest in a newspaper posting for a firefighter’s job, his dad was very supportive, telling him to ‘go for it.’ “It took me a few tries to make it,” Brock said. “Hiring within the fire department was tough back then, and they didn’t hire that often.”

October 1, 1990, would become his first day on the job. Within five years, he was promoted to sergeant, a rank he held for over three years. He was promoted to captain in 1999 and became battalion chief in 2004. Nine years later, he was named Division Chief of Operations. Brock succeeded Gordon Henderson as chief in April 2015.

Since Chief Brock became a firefighter, technique and training, have changed. Improvements over the years have been welcomed. Although collapse time has been reduced significantly, fires grow under different circumstances; therefore, risks are higher, and the training becomes more rigorous. Changes in building materials have also had an impact on putting out fires. Entering a structure is terrible enough with poor visibility but can be even more dangerous when improperly constructed.

Sighting the last three decades of technology growth, Brock relates that one of the most essential equipment evolutions involves the selfcontained breathing apparatus — the basic air pack. Composite bottles were used to provide air, but the backup was steel. You wanted to make sure you got that fire out quickly because you didn’t want to wear that steel on your back,” Brock said. All the air packs are now constructed with a relatively lightweight advanced carbon material.

Brock has seen more than his share of unforgettable fire-related incidents. The most difficult ones involve loss of life. Two of which happened while he was serving as a battalion chief. One was the Hillyer House Bed & Breakfast fire on Coral Avenue in the Oakdene community which took a life in 2005. The other was a 2011 van fire near Barron Stadium which claimed the life of a Silver Creek woman. “You never forget them; they stay with you constantly,” Brock said. “You just have to learn to cope.”

His experience has led to many advances within the department. Some of these include developing a mental health peer support program for his firefighters. This program will include additional professional steps if necessary. The idea is to assure firefighters (and other public safety personnel) that asking for help is okay.

Moving forward, Brock said he’s looking toward plans to relocate Station 1 (now located at the downtown station on Riverside Parkway at West First Street), a possible new Station 11 somewhere along the Cartersville Highway designed to help support industrial development on what is known as the old Braden Farm property. And, possibly, a new Station 12 somewhere in the Lindale area serving the county’s south end. “It’s a significant cost when you add stations, but with the population increase and what is required for ISO insurance services, we need 12 stations instead of ten,” Brock said.

The new self-contained breathing apparatus with improved communications equipment is a high-dollar purchase that will have to happen in the next year. “We’ve made many improvements to do with health and wellness over the last six or seven years,” Brock said. One of the biggest was a change to the dispatch system from the 911 Center, where the call for assistance is only heard by the station that is being dispatched, not all ten stations in the middle of the night. “That has helped reduce stress levels,” he said.

“When we build stations now, we have what we call a “clean” area and a “dirty” area, which means no one ever crosses the two,” Brock said. “Cancer prevention is huge in the fire service, and we’re doing what we can to help protect all our firefighters, ensuring one doesn’t inadvertently take anything hazardous home.”

Chief Brock shares that the greatest asset we have in the Rome Floyd Fire Department is the employees and firefighters who work there — all of whom are willing and ready to serve their community when needed.

Chief Troy Brock received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University and his Master’s in Emergency Management from Columbia Southern University. He has completed numerous training and leadership certifications throughout his tenure.