City Manager Reese Goad has announced the appointment of Gene Sanders to serve as the new Fire Chief for the City of Tallahassee, effective May 20. Sanders has more than 25 years of service with the Tallahassee Fire Department (TFD).
“The City of Tallahassee is committed to being the national leader in the delivery of public service. We achieve this in part by leading with integrity, providing exceptional citizen service and investing in employee excellence – three of our core values. Gene Sanders embodies these values and lives them through his career with TFD,” City Manager Reese Goad said.
“To ensure our organization maintains the high level of service and professionalism expected, succession planning is instrumental. As we look toward the future, TFD is in excellent hands with strong leadership already in place with Chief Sanders well-equipped to begin his new role as Fire Chief,” Deputy City Manager Cynthia Barber said.
Sanders has a long history of service to our community. At the age of 20 he began the process of learning every aspect of the City’s fire department and firefighting profession, starting out as a volunteer in the department to gain experience.
He began his formal employment with TFD in 1997. During his tenure, he has held the positions of Firefighter, Driver/Operator, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Division Chief and Deputy Chief. Sanders also served as the department’s Fire Marshal from 2015 to 2017. While serving in that position, Sanders wrote and developed a grant program regarding smoke alarms and led neighborhood engagement efforts in partnership with Red Cross to help more households gain access to these life saving devices.
Sanders currently serves as Deputy Chief of Operations, which oversees the daily operations of TFD, including the Emergency Medical Services and Training divisions. He also oversees Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force 7 and Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Task Force 2, serves as program coordinator for the State Homeland Security Grant Program and serves as the Region 2 Coordinator for the Statewide Emergency Response Plan. In this role, he coordinates emergency assistance operations at the regional level, providing for the deployment of resources into affected areas. He has led multiple special operation deployments in both USAR and HAZMAT, including TFD’s assistance at both the Surfside building collapse and Hurricane Ian response and recovery.
He holds an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science and a bachelor’s degree in Fire Department Administration. He is a State Certified Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Officer II, Fire Safety Inspector, Fire Investigator, HAZMAT Technician, Fire Service Instructor III and Live Fire Instructor.
Chief Sanders is a native of Tallahassee and graduated from Rickards High School. He and his wife Valencia are the proud parents of three children.