In a news release last week announcing his impending retirement, county Fire Chief Joseph Herr said: "I am looking forward to sleeping without an emergency radio and a BlackBerry on my nightstand."
The BlackBerry was a recent addition, but the emergency radio has long been a part of Herr's nighttime routine.
Herr, 55, will retire March 1 after serving in his current position since December 2000. Before coming to Howard, Herr spent 26 years climbing the ladder - literally and figuratively - in the Washington, D.C., Fire Department, where he started as a firefighter and rose steadily through the ranks before leaving as an assistant chief.
"I have been a firefighter for 38 years, and it's a career I am quite proud of," Herr said in the statement, released Wednesday.
"I am honored to have had the privilege to serve the citizens of Howard County as chief these past eight years and to lead the fine men and women of this department."
Herr began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Beltsville. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, and he also earned a master's degree from Johns Hopkins. The fire chief also had a fellowship at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
County Executive Ken Ulman said Herr has agreed to help find a successor.