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Fire Chief David Ellis Announces His Retirement by Years End to City Manager Patrick West

By frhayes | October 12, 2009

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On Wednesday October 7, 2009, Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) Fire Chief David Ellis, the 15th Chief in the 112-year history of the LBFD announced to City Manager Patrick West his impending retirement by years ends. Chief Ellis an almost 30 year veteran of the fire service, currently responsible for an over 90 million dollar budget, and approximately 550 employees began his career in the city of Glendale in 1980. In 1982 he “Came Home” to Long Beach where as a child he grew up and attended Fremont Elementary School, Jefferson and Rogers Middle Schools, Wilson High School, and graduated from the California State University of Long Beach. He has served as the Fire Chief since 2004.

Chief Ellis’ educational background includes his participation in the Harvard Leadership Program, he has attended the National Fire Administration Executive Leadership program, served as a peer review panelist for the Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program, and is a graduate of “Leadership Long Beach”. Chief Ellis has also visited the Gulf States to lend his support and to learn after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and has visited Israel to learn ways to better protect our Airport and Port.

A few of his primary goals as the Chief has been to focus on professional and efficient service delivery to the community while ensuring that the LBFD is prepared to respond to natural and man-made disasters.

Chief Ellis’ contributions to the LBFD include the Facilities Master Plan; this has included the opening of new Fire Station 24, Fire Station 6, the new Fire Headquarters, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port for improvements to two boat stations, and ensuring gender accommodations. Under his leadership there have also been great strides in replacing apparatus and equipment. Chief Ellis  has moved the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) program into a nationally recognized program, initiated the Basic Life Support Program and Hazardous Materials Program, and instituted a department wide wellness program.

 Chief Ellis’ involvement within the department and community are great and he has been recognized by many different organizations for these contributions. One issue that he is passionate about is cancer prevention, early detection, support, and proper treatment. Chief Ellis is a cancer survivor and by sharing his story, bringing in guest speakers, encouraging early screening for early detection, he has helped members of the LBFD and the community. He has been actively involved with the Boy Scouts and in 2007 received the Distinguished Citizen Award for “embodying the commitment, dedication, and ideals of the Boy Scouts of America”.

The Chief has also been recognized by the NAACP, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Mayor and City Council members for promoting understanding respect in Long Beach’s diverse community, and for his dedication, commitment, and outstanding effort towards the advancement of “All People”. Family and children’s advocates have also characterized him as a “Champion of the Children”. As a fire ground commander he was also recognized for his outstanding leadership during one of the largest fires in the LBFD’s history (Paradise Gardens).

The Chief will be assisting in any way possible to help with the selection of a new Fire Chief and will ensure a smooth transition occurs. He would like to express his appreciation for all of the support and hard work from every member of the LBFD. The Chief would like to express that he has  enjoyed in working with city officials, city management, and with all the employees throughout the City. He will surely be missed.

Chief Ellis looks forward to spending more time with family and friends and welcomes the challenges ahead.

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