City Manager Eden Freeman has appointed William A. Garrett as the City’s new Fire and Rescue Chief. Mr. Garrett was selected following an extensive nation-wide search resulting in 57 applications from candidates spanning 20 states. Five finalists were selected who then participated in a rigorous interview process involving representatives of the community, local and regional fire and rescue professionals including representatives from the city’s four volunteer companies, management experts from other localities, and members of the City’s leadership team. Mr. Garrett is a 30-year veteran of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, most recently serving as the Deputy Fire Chief.
“William is a knowledgeable, personable and experienced public servant who has prepared himself to head a combination fire and rescue department like Winchester’s,” stated Ms. Freeman. “I have found him to be an excellent communicator and someone who seeks to find collaborative and innovative solutions to challenges. I am excited to welcome him to the team.”
Mr. Garrett’s extensive experience covers the ranks of the fire and rescue profession. He began his career as a volunteer firefighter at the Franconia Fire Station in Fairfax and was later hired as a career firefighter with Fairfax County. During his time with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Mr. Garrett has held various key positions as a Paramedic, Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor, Chief EMS Officer, Arson Investigator, and Operations Deputy Fire Chief. In addition, he initiated key programs such as Citizens Hands-Only CPR, Mobile Integrated Healthcare, In-House Paramedic Training, and In-house EMT-Basic Continuing Education Units Training.
Mr. Garrett received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Foreign Language (Spanish) from George Mason University in 2009, Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice from Northern Virginia Community College, Local Government Managers Graduate Certificate from Virginia Tech, Senior Executive Institute Certificate, and the following designations from the Center for Public Safety Excellence:
- Chief Fire Officer (CFO)
- Chief Emergency Medical Services Officer (CEMSO)
"I’m very excited to be joining Winchester’s team of professionals committed to enhancing the quality of services to a vibrant community,” stated Mr. Garrett. “Through engagement at all levels, and intentional planning, we will increase the effectiveness of the Fire and Rescue Department, meeting the needs of the community and improving the quality of life in the City of Winchester."
Mr. Garrett will be sworn in as the City of Winchester Fire and Rescue Chief on June 3 (starting salary: $110,000) at 9 am. A “Meet the Chief” public open house will be scheduled soon.
The Winchester Fire and Rescue Department is a combination system (volunteer and career personnel) and has 73 employees, 70 of which are career firefighter/EMTs or Paramedics. The Department responded to approximately 6,200 incidents in 2018 with an average response time of less than five minutes for emergencies. The Department also received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus Award for their outstanding care of cardiac arrest patients. Community outreach activities include Stuff-A-Truck gift, winter gear and food drive; school visits; Trunk-or-Treat; attending local events; smoke detector canvas program; and more.