This week Mayor Ed Murray nominated Harold Scoggins as the next Chief of the Seattle Fire Department.
“As Seattle grows rapidly over the next 20 years, our fire service must continue to evolve to serve the city’s public safety needs,” said Murray. “Our department saves lives every day and our Medic One program remains a national leader in paramedic training for our fire fighters. Chief Scoggins has an outstanding track record and brings the right kind of experience to Seattle.”
Scoggins comes to the Seattle Fire Department from Glendale, CA. He joined the Glendale Fire Department 25 years ago as a fire fighter and rose through the ranks, serving at every level of the department. He was named chief in Glendale in 2008.
“I am honored to serve as the Fire Chief for the City of Seattle,” said Scoggins. “I look forward to working with the men and women of Seattle Fire Department to set its course for the future. My family and I are also very excited about the community and all it has to offer.”
The department currently has 80 vacancies. The mayor is directing Chief Scoggins to intensify recruitment of a diverse workforce of fire fighters, as well as ensure proper succession planning at lieutenant, captain and senior leadership positions in the department.
The Seattle Fire Department’s percentage of women fire fighters is 8.4 percent, which exceeds the national average of 3.4 percent, and the mayor is urging continued focus on the recruitment of qualified women.
“I look forward to working with Chief Scoggins, who will lead the best group of firefighters in the country – protecting us daily and providing emergency care that keeps us all safe,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “One critical aspect for the new Chief will be to complete implementation of the five-year strategic plan completed in 2012, setting goals for developing leadership abilities of Fire Department employees at all levels, helping employees develop and improve, health and safety, ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce, fostering community outreach and partnerships, and maintaining equipment and technology critical to the department.”
The Seattle Fire Department has more than 1,100 employees and an annual budget of $178 million. Fire fighters at 33 stations serve 640,000 residents and respond to more than 88,000 alarms each year.
Today, more than 80 percent of fire emergency responses are medical in nature, a trend that is expected to grow. In January, the department added a new aid unit downtown with 10 additional firefighters. The mayor is expecting further recommendations regarding the department’s structure from the new chief.
Scoggins served for five years as a fire fighter in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Glendale Fire Department in 1989. He was promoted to Fire Engineer in 1996, Fire Captain in 1998 and Battalion Chief in 2003. In that position, he was responsible for recruitment, hiring and training of the department’s fire fighters. In 2007, he was appointed Deputy Fire Chief, before being named Chief of the Glendale Fire Department a year later.
Scoggins is a past-president of the Los Angeles Area Fire Chief’s Association. He taught Fire Science as an adjunct professor at Mt. San Antonio College and El Camino College. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, and is an active community volunteer.
Scoggins earned his associate’s degree in Fire Technology from Glendale Community College in 1994, a B.S. in Fire Administration from California State University Los Angeles in 1996 and a Master of Public Administration from California State University Long Beach in 2007.
Scoggins replaces Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, who retired at the end of 2014 after a decade at the helm. Interim Chief Michael Walsh, who first joined the department in 1971, stepped in to fill the role for the first part of 2015.
“I certainly welcome Chief Scoggins as the new chief of the Fire Department,” said Interim Fire Chief Michael Walsh. “We pledge our full support to ensure a smooth transition.”
"We are looking forward to working with our new fire chief,” said Kenny Stuart, President of Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27. “Seattle fire fighters need strong, high-quality leadership to meet the increasing challenges in today's modern fire service, including increased call volume, a growing city, significant training demands and the constant threat of cancer and heart attacks for fire fighters.”
Chief Scoggins’ first day at the department will be April 1. He will be paid an annual salary of $205,000.