ORLANDO, Fl. – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the appointment of Benjamin M. Barksdale, Jr., who has over 32-years of professional fire service career experience, to serve Orlando as the new Chief of the Orlando Fire Department.
“Under Chief Barksdale’s tenure at his current agency, he has shown 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,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “I am confident Chief Barksdale will lead OFD furthering our commitment to providing professional development and training opportunities for our firefighters, implementing mental health awareness programs, promoting inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, all while preserving the pride and tradition that OFD has built during its 134 years.”
As the current Fire Chief of Prince George’s County, Maryland, the largest combination municipal fire and EMS department in the U.S., he leads a team of more than 2,500; including 1,000 sworn 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 one of the initial responders at the Pentagon in response to the attacks on September 11, 2001.
“I am honored for this opportunity to serve this great city and I look forward to calling Orlando my home,” said Chief Barksdale. “Since I was eights years old, I knew I wanted to be a firefighter, and I am excited to share that same passion now with the Orlando Fire Department and build on the department’s legacy of excellence. I look forward to working alongside all the men and women of OFD in providing the highest level of fire and EMS service to the citizens of Orlando.”
Upon City Council confirmation, Chief Barksdale, will become the Department’s 20th Fire Chief effective November 15, 2019. In this role, Barksdale will oversee the day-to-day operations of the department and serve as chief counsel to the Mayor in matters of fire and public safety.