The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs has given top honours to the head of Edmonton Fire Rescue, Fire Chief Ken Block.

The announcement was made Wednesday, during the association’s annual conference in Regina.

The City of Edmonton said Block was recognized by his peers, for his leadership, and said with Block at the helm, Edmonton Fire Rescue had become one of the most progressive and respected fire departments in North America.

According to the city, the award recognizes Block’s accomplishments during his time as Fire Chief, a position he was appointed to in February 2009.

Since his appointment, the city said Block had helped introduce legislation recognizing 14 cancers as being job-related for firefighters, and made Edmonton Fire Rescue the third fire service in Canada to be recognized by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, for its fire and emergency services.

It’s an award Block said he’s humbled to receive.

“The fire service is all about teamwork and this recognition serves as a reflection of the significant contributions of all staff, past and present, who have contributed to our Edmonton Fire Rescue Services being considered one of the best fire services nationally and internationally,” Block said in a press release.

Block started working with Edmonton Fire Rescue in 1980, and rose through the ranks – before becoming the organization’s 16th chief.

Over the years, the department has grown to include 1,000 firefighters, investigators, and prevention officers – working out of 28 fire stations with an operating budget of $170 million.

On average, the department responds to more than 36,000 calls for help each year.

This honour is just the latest in a growing list of awards Block has received, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and the Canadian Exemplary Services Medal.