Today is a bittersweet day as I am announcing my upcoming retirement from the City of Madison Fire Department. My last day serving as Fire Chief will be April 1, 2022.
When I was appointed Fire Chief on January 2, 2012, I made a promise to the organization, to the community, to my family, and to myself that I would serve to the best of my ability and with honor and dignity for 10 years. My time has come and I feel like I have fulfilled that promise. I am proud to have played a role in shaping the City of Madison Fire Department into the one of the most innovative and progressive fire departments in the nation.
During my tenure we saw the addition of two new fire stations; expansion of our service into Shorewood Hills, Blooming Grove, Town of Burke, and Town of Madison; the launch of our Community Paramedicine program—and more recently the CARES initiative—plus the establishment of our Peer Support Team. The City of Madison also achieved a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) and we made the switch to PFAS-free firefighting foam, in addition to a number of other environmentally-friendly innovations.
Of course, the last decade has brought challenges as well. The tragic and untimely death of Firefighter/Paramedic Richard Garner in 2018 was the department’s first line-of-duty death in decades. A year later, the department was dealt another devastating blow with the death of Apparatus Engineer Todd Mahoney. And for the better part of the last two years we all have had to adapt to the shifting landscape brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To the members of the Madison Fire Department, all I can say is, “Wow!” The last 32 years went by in the blink of an eye. I have truly enjoyed working with each and every one of you. I am simply awestruck by the dedication that all of you display each and every day. When I started my career in August of 1989 I had no idea the amount I would learn, the number friends I would make, and the amazing people I would meet, and it has been an incredible and rewarding journey.
Our success as a Department wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my colleagues in City government. Our ability to have an open dialogue and to collaborate around shared goals has been the cornerstone of our progress.
I would also like to thank the members of the community for their continued support over the years. You have frequently expressed your appreciation for our members and the vital services they provide. You recognize the importance of what we do, and we are so thankful for your heartfelt expressions of gratitude.
The list of people to whom I am indebted is long and substantial. I have learned far more than I have taught, from so many people. I am happy to call so many members of the community my friends. I will miss everyone I have gotten to know over the past 10 years as Fire Chief. I am very humbled to be your servant and I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world.
Thank you again, Madison, for allowing me to serve you for the last 32 years!
Steven A. Davis
City of Madison