David Burnett was promoted to be Plant City’s new fire chief last week in a ceremony held at Fire Station One.
Plant City’s new fire chief plans to continue to move the agency forward by focusing on improving technology and ensuring relationships with the community continue to blossom under his leadership.
City Manager Bill McDaniel announced David Burnett had been promoted to chief at a July 25 ceremony at Fire Station One. He personally presented Burnett with the insignia of his new position.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with this guy and especially like last week, we spent a little over an hour, I think, talking in his final interview and I want you all to know that a couple of things really stood out to me in talking to David in that interview,” McDaniel said. “Number one is his passion for this department, his passion for you. You have a chief that believes in you, supports you, who has your best interests at heart.”
McDaniel said they received dozens of applications for the position, which were reviewed and reduced to a pool of semi-finalists. They then participated in a panel interview and two finalists were chosen.
Burnett’s passion for fire rescue has been evident in Burnett’s life since he was a teenager. At age 15 he was active in Exploring, a section of the Boy Scouts of America that connected young adults to fire service worksites. After learning what the fire station was about in high school he went on to volunteer for several years before heading to Florida State Fire College and then wrapped up his state certifications as a firefighter and EMT at the Pensacola Junior College, now Pensacola State College.
Burnett said he worked his way up and eventually became fire chief of the Midway Fire District in 1996. In 2003 he left and headed to Chiefland before coming to Plant City in 2007.
He came to Plant City as a training chief and has held multiple positions with the department including serving as the city’s interim fire chief and deputy fire chief during his tenure.
“I’m excited,” Burnett said. “It truly is an honor and a privilege for the city to give me this chance and the personnel I work with, the men and women of the Plant City Fire Rescue, it’s truly just great to continue working with them and to continue to provide the highest level of service and move the agency forward with technology training and continue to improve moral within the department.”
Some of the technological advancements coming to the department include a program the department is currently a beta test site for. The new technology is programmed into the fire trucks and calls up pertinent information like the owner of the property and where the sprinklers are located while the crew drives toward the location. It acts as a database for fire inspections and eventually will bleed over into a more field-based response. Burnett said it is expected the program will roll out in October or November of this year. He also has plans to continue enhancing the Emergency Medical Services site and to continue to write and pursue grants.
During the ceremony, McDaniel and several members of the fire department’s staff said Burnett’s calm and steadfast nature make him suited for the position. He said he hopes his personal attributes will help him bring the best quality of leadership to the city.
“It’s my dedication and devotion to the job, to the agency, but also I think the most important thing overall is probably my integrity,” Burnett said. “Trying to make sure we take care of the customers that we serve to the best of our ability and to maintain that professional relationship... I think that’s really important in my position.”