Thursday morning Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will announce the appointment of Benjamin M. Barksdale, Jr. as the City of Orlando’s next Fire Chief effective November 15, 2019. The announcement will take place at Orlando Fire Station 1, 78 West Central Boulevard.
As the current Fire Chief of Prince George’s County, Maryland, the largest combination municipal fire and EMS department in the U.S., he led more than 2,500, including 1,000 firefighters and 1,000 volunteer firefighters and civilian personnel throughout 45 fire stations that respond to a population of 900,000.
He began his firefighting career in 1987 with the Arlington County Fire Department in Virginia where he rose to the rank of Assistant Chief. Chief Barksdale was also on one of the initial responders at the Pentagon in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Under Chief Barksdale’s tenure, his agency had a strong commitment to ensuring firefighters have access to mental health programs and treatment. Additionally, he comes from a diverse department where women and minorities hold prominent roles.