Savannah Fire Chief Charles G. Middleton retires effective January 1, 2019. During his 12 year tenure, Chief Middleton implemented reforms designed to modernize the department and improve fire and emergency services in the City of Savannah. He leaves Savannah Fire as one of the nation’s highest ranking fire departments.
Middleton, a Savannah native, served as Chief of Savannah Fire and Emergency Services for 12 years. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He achieved Chief Fire Officer Certification in 2003 and earned Member Institute of Fire Engineers (MIFireE) certification in 2007, which is an international fire management/ engineering validation.
Chief Middleton’s firefighting career spans 42 years. Before coming to Savannah Fire as chief in 2006, Middleton worked for three years at Ft. Myer Virginia Fire Department and 20 years at Arlington County Virginia Fire. He served as the logistics division chief in Orange County, Fla., for 12 years. Accomplishments under Chief Middleton’s leadership:
Savannah Fire became an internationally accredited fire agency, with reaccreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International in 2016; Earned an ISO Class 1 designation in 2014, the highest possible rating; Required national professional certification for firefighters of every rank; Developed a vehicle replacement program; Automated the records management system; Developed a fire station construction and maintenance program; $1.3 million Homeland Security Grant for a fire boat to enhance marine firefighting services and improve firefighting in response to port expansion; Established a public safety diver program; Established an emergency management function within the City of Savannah; The Arson Unit became a state certified agency; Established a Professional Standards Unit; Constructed 5 fire stations to the FEMA standard for critical facilities and a fire training academy;
$3.5 million Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant to increase the firefighting force; $1.4 million Homeland Security Grant for industrial fire pumps; Revitalized the recruitment program; Developed its first safety plan in 2007; Developed its first health and wellness plan in 2007; Developed its first strategic plan in 2007; Developed its first career development plan in 2007; Established education requirements for promotion in 2007.