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Palo Alto Fire Chief Earns State’s Top Achievement Award

Palo Alto Fire Chief Eric Nickel received a distinguished career honor on Monday, March 21 as he became the 31st Certified Fire Chief in California.

The Certified Fire Chief is the final level in the Fire Officer track. Nickel was presented the award at the City Council Meeting by Chief Tonya Hoover, State Fire Marshal CAL FIRE.            

Candidates must submit an application to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and pass a rigorous set of performance evaluations conducted by a Peer Assessment Committee.


Among the qualifications to merit the award, candidates must be college graduates and have:

• Leadership & Chief officer experience

• Technical knowledge

• Professional organization affiliations

• Community involvement

• References from other fire chiefs and non-fire service personnel

Nickel was presented with a certificate and a Certified Fire Chief collar brass at the Council meeting.

"I am honored to become the 31st Certified Fire Chief in California after a career spanning nearly three decades. This recognition is one example of the continuous improvement being made by the Palo Alto Fire Department and allows us to better serve the community while demonstrating our core values of education and professionalism," said Chief Nickel.

The certification program was created in 1998 as the capstone for the State's certification and qualification system. There are nearly 1,000 fire departments in the state with fire chiefs eligible to complete the process.

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