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Longtime North County firefighter tapped to serve as fire chief for Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar

Encinitas Fire Chief Josh Gordon
(City of Encinitas, Kieran Parhar)
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A new chief has been tapped to lead the Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar fire departments, one who says he will prioritize building relationships within the communities he serves and focus on the mental health of firefighters and other emergency staff.

The city tapped Deputy Chief Josh Gordon on Wednesday, Dec. 14, to become the newest leader of the Encinitas Fire and Marine Safety Department, the Solana Beach Fire Department and the Del Mar Fire Department.

Gordon takes over for Chief Mike Stein who stepped down in November. Stein had helmed the three departments since 2015.

Gordon has worked in the Encinitas Fire Department for more than a decade, city officials said Friday, Dec. 16. He has held every rank in the department at least once — firefighter, engineer, captain, battalion chief and, most recently, deputy chief.

The new fire chief said he looks forward to working with community members and stakeholders, and addressing their concerns over the coming months.

“The Fire Department is made up of brave, courageous people who do everything they can to keep our communities safe and protected,” he said in a news release from the city of Encinitas. “I am committed to build upon this legacy of excellence.”

Responding via email to questions from The San Diego Union-Tribune, Gordon said he is working on a plan that will outline his goals for the department’s service, leadership and communication over the next 100 days.

On the decision to select Gordon, Encinitas City Manager Pamela Antil said the city was pleased that someone with deep ties to the community stepped into the role.

Gordon grew up in Encinitas and graduated from La Costa Canyon High School. He joined his hometown fire department in 2010.

“I am confident in his ability to lead our Fire Department forward, as well as his long-term commitment to the job,” Antil said in the news release.

Gordon told the Union-Tribune that his top concerns are effective management of the budget and improving communication within the departments both internally and externally.

“Our goal is to ensure competent emergency operations is provided to all levels of the communities we serve,” Gordon said. “A priority to develop and foster internal and external relationships within the community to provide education and to receive feedback is of the utmost importance to our success as public servants. We look forward to building these relationships.”

He also encouraged firefighters, lifeguards, and prevention staff to recognize the emotional trauma they’ve endured over years and take advantage of resources made available to them to address their physical and mental health.

“More detailed medical screenings/physicals have already been implemented,” he said. “The next priority is to utilize mental health professionals to provide fire and marine safety personnel with the tools and techniques needed to help them become and stay mentally strong and healthy.”

Updates

5:36 p.m. Dec. 19, 2022: This announcement has been updated with a story by The San Diego Union-Tribune


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