Flagler County Names New Fire Chief

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Bunnell, FL - In about a month, a new face will take over the command of over 100 firefighter paramedics as Flagler County names a new fire chief.

According to an email from the county, Michael Tucker—the current bureau chief for the Bureau of Fire Standards at the Florida State Fire College in Gainesville—will replace Chief Don Petito, who retired July 2020 after serving Flagler for 15 years.

As the bureau chief of the Bureau of Fire Standards, Tucker has oversight of the curricula and programs required for the certification of the state’s 70,000 firefighters, fire inspectors, arson investigators, and fire instructors.

Flagler leaders also say Tucker is familiar with the county’s “Fire Leadership Academy," which offers high school students classroom-to-career curriculum and the chance to become a certified firefighter in the State of Florida.

“The academy-based programs, those high school-based programs are a phenomenal way to introduce them early on to the potential of becoming a firefighter and a paramedic,” said Tucker, who approved the program’s curriculum at the state level before classroom doors opened in 2017. “I believe that the high school-based programs are exactly what we need to address our future recruitment and diversity.”

Tucker also works as a consultant for the Oregon-based consulting firm Emergency Services Consulting International where he prepared proposals and provided recommendations for professional reports. Before that, he served as the fire chief of the Villages.

Per Flagler County, Tucker was selected out of 30 candidates that applied for the job.

“After this process, he was the top choice,” said Chief of Staff Jorge Salinas. “It was a rigorous process, and he answered questions very well both about fire services and about how he would fit in with our culture here at Flagler County.”

Tucker's hire will be made official by the Flagler County Board of Commissioners at their next regularly-scheduled meeting on June 21, but he won't take his post until July 6; or earlier, if he chooses, according to the county.

Until Tucker takes over as chief, Palm Coast Deputy Fire Chief Bradd Clark will serve as Flagler County's interim chief.

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