About Us

The Charlotte Fire Department is a highly respected agency of more than 1,150 personnel who provide fire suppression, emergency medical services, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, disaster response, code enforcement, fire investigations, and public education for a population of approximately 800,000 over an area of about 300 square miles.

FIRE CHIEF REGINALD T. JOHNSON

Photo of Fire Chief Reginald T. Johnson
Reginald T. Johnson is the Fire Chief for the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) and was appointed in April 2018 as the first African American Chief of the Department. Chief Johnson has acquired a Master of Science degree in Emergency Management and a Bachelor's degree in Management Studies, both from the University of Maryland University College (now known as University of Maryland Global Campus). He was an alternate on the NFPA 1710 Committee and has professional membership with the IAFC, Black Chief Officers Committee (BCOC), North Carolina State Firefighters' Association, NC Association of Fire Chiefs, and IAFF. He currently serves as a Commissioner of the NC State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). He has been married to his wonderful wife Angela for over 26 years and has two children.

Chief Johnson embraces the mission of the department and strives to always improve the all-hazards and nationally recognized services delivered to the citizens and visitors to the Queen City. He also envisions a department truly engaged in the community at the local level as demonstrated daily by the men and women of the department.

Some additional priorities include:
  • Increased fire and life safety education for the community
  • Improved health and safety of department members
  • Improve diversity within the department, to better reflect the community we serve

There are three deputy fire chiefs, each assigned to manage specific divisions/content areas in the department.

There are also six division chiefs to further facilitate communication and collaboration across the Charlotte Fire Department and to enhance opportunities. There are also six division chiefs to further facilitate communication and collaboration across the Charlotte Fire Department and to enhance opportunities to immerse the fire department into neighborhoods for better community impact across the city.

Office of the Chief

Office of the Chief

Fire Chief: Chief Reginald T. Johnson
Finance & Special Projects Manager | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.7680

Manager: Lisa Williams

Budget & Finance: Yashica Seegers

Administrative Support | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.2791

Katie Greder


Office of Public Information and Community Engagement

Battalion Chief: John Lipcsak

Public Information Office | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.2094

Public Information Officer: Captain Brian Cunningham
Public Information Specialist: Kevin Campbell

Fire and Life Safety Education | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.3974

Senior Fire and Life Safety Educator: Amy Rea
Fire and Life Safety Educator: Christie Russell
Fire and Life Safety Educator: Leigh Kish
Fire and Life Safety Educator: Maria Bostian

Deputy Chief of Operations

Deputy Chief Peter Skeris - Deputy Chief of Operations

Deputy Chief Peter Skeris

Deputy Chief Peter Skeris joined the Charlotte Fire Department in 1997, after six years in law enforcement. In January 2003, Chief Skeris was promoted to Captain and held assignments at Ladder 23, Ladder 16, Engine 20, and the Training Academy. He was promoted to Battalion Chief in January 2008. He was assigned to Battalion 6 before transferring and spending ten years in Battalion 4. He was transferred to the Special Operations Division in October 2018 as the Chief of Rescue Operations. In July 2019, Chief Skeris was promoted to Division Chief and was assigned to oversee the Special Operations Division until January 2021, when he was promoted to Deputy Chief.

As Deputy Chief of Personnel Administration, Chief Skeris oversees the Training Division, Health and Safety, Recruitment, and Human Resources. Chief Skeris has an AAS degree from Central Piedmont Community College, a Bachelor's degree from UNC-Charlotte, and a Master's in Public Administration from UNC-Pembroke. Additionally, Chief Skeris is a designated Chief Fire Officer (CFO) through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Chief Skeris is the proud father of three daughters and a son.


Deputy Chief of Operations | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.4174

Division Chief A-Shift: David Farnum
Division Chief B-Shift:  Brandon Caputo
Division Chief C-Shift:  Eric Withers
Division Chief of Airport: Justin Field
Battalion Chief ARFF: Kevin Rink
Division Chief of Special Operations: Matthew Westover
Battalion Chief HazMat: David Mitchum II
Battalion Chief Rescue: Josh Johnson

Deputy Chief of Business Administration

Deputy Chief Jerry Winkles - Deputy Chief of Business Administration

Deputy Chief Jerry Winkles
Since joining the Charlotte Fire Department in 1995, Deputy Chief Jerry Winkles has been continually driven to prepare himself to serve the citizens of Charlotte through education, training, and on-the-job experiences as he rose through the ranks. His operational preparedness and experience began as a Firefighter I and II and continued as he served as an Engineer, Captain, and Battalion Chief. Administratively he has completed many special projects including serving as the Accreditation Manager and leading the ISO re-evaluation project that resulted in the City of Charlotte's ISO Class I rating. He also served as the Strategic Planning Chief and the Deputy Chief of Personnel Administration for the department, prior to becoming Deputy Chief of Business Administration.

Deputy Chief Winkles has completed the Executive Fire Officers Program (EFO) at the National Fire Academy and received the Chief Fire Officer's (CFO) designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology- Fire Safety from UNC- Charlotte.

Deputy Chief Winkles and his wife have four children; they enjoy serving at their church, hiking, and camping.

 


Deputy Chief of Business Administration | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.4174

Deputy Director of EM: Division Chief Robert W. Graham III

CFD Communications (CFD Alarm): Bill Suthard

Public Safety Information and Technology: Crystal Cody

Strategic Planning and Research: Battalion Chief Charles Horne

Logistics Division | 1501 N. Graham St. | phone: 704.336.2411

Logistics Division Chief:  Jeffrey Matthews

Fleet Manager: Captain Josh Westbrooks

Facilities Coordinator: Mike Parker

Fire Marshal Office | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.2101

Fire Marshal: Kevin Miller

Arson Task Force | 1517 N. Graham St | phone: 704.336.3970

Chief Fire Investigator: Edwin Shaver

Fire Prevention Bureau | 500 Dalton Avenue | phone: 704.336.2112

Deputy Chief of Personnel Administration

Deputy Chief Reuben Fitzgerald - Deputy Chief of Personnel Administration

Deputy Chief Reuben Fitzgerald

Deputy Chief Reuben (Bo) Fitzgerald has been a member of the Charlotte Fire Department since 1999. As a firefighter, Chief Fitzgerald served at Stations 9 and 7, before being promoted to Engineer in 2005. After serving as an Engineer at Station 11, Chief Fitzgerald was promoted to Captain in 2006. For 11 years, Chief Fitzgerald held assignments at Ladder 27 (Relief Captain), Engine 4, Engine 5 and the Charlotte Fire Department Training Academy before being promoted to Battalion Chief in June 2017. In this role, Chief Fitzgerald was the assigned Battalion Chief over Battalion 8, C-Shift (ARFF) before being promoted to Division Chief in 2020. In his last assignment before being promoted to Deputy Chief, Chief Fitzgerald served as the Operations Division Chief over B-Shift from 2020-2024.

As Deputy Chief of Personnel Administration, Chief Fitzgerald oversees the Training Division, Health and Safety, Recruitment, and Human Resources. Chief Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor's Degree from Davidson College, and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from UNC-Charlotte. In addition to his duties with the Charlotte Fire Department, Chief Fitzgerald also served as the Volunteer Fire CHief for the Town of Davidson from 2006-2008, and as the Town's first appointed Fire Chief from 2015-2020.

Chief Fitzgerald and his wife have a son and a daughter. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and watching his children perform and play sports.


Deputy Chief of Personnel | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.4174

Human Resources Division | 500 Dalton Ave | phone: 704.336.4174

Manager: Kim Sanders

Recruitment Division | Schleace Fields

Training Division | 1770 Shopton Rd | phone: 704.432.1700

Division Chief of Training: Jeff Richardson

Safety Division | 1517 North Graham St. | phone: 704.336.5609

Health and Safety:  Division Chief Jason Perdue

Accreditation & Rating

International Accreditation:

In 2020, CFD received its fifth accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). In order to receive international accreditation, CFAI reviewed the department's assessment in 10 major categories and over 250 performance indicators, ranging from response time, training, resource deployment, public education and more.

Departments seeking accreditation must also compile a strategic plan(PDF, 12MB) and risk-hazard assessment. The accreditation is valid for five years, which means departments must continuously review their processes and services to ensure they are providing the best, updated, professional fire service. Just over 300 departments in the country hold this accreditation and the CFD boasts being one of only 113 agencies who hold an ISO 1 rating that are also Accredited.

The year-long accreditation process involved dozens of CFD employees and thousands of hours of work, including data analysis, determining community needs and how CFD can best respond, and developing ways to continue improving over the next five years.

Class 1 PPC Rating:

In 2021, the department maintained a Class 1 Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) which is the highest rating possible for fire protection services. The Class 1 rating means business owners, residents and visitors to Charlotte can count on superior fire protection(PDF, 241KB). Out of nearly 50,000 fire protection areas rated in the country, just 388 hold the Class 1 rating. This means Charlotte Fire Department ranks above more than 99% of all fire departments in the United States.

A Class 1 rating may also result in lower fire insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses.

CFD By the Numbers

firefighter climbing into a burning house
CFD By the Numbers:
  • The Charlotte Fire Department operates out of 43 fire stations and provides fire protection for approximately 850,00 people living in a 311 square-mile area
  • 43 Engine Companies, 16 Ladder Companies
  • 1,230 full time positions; of those 1,056 are civil service sworn personnel
Special Operations:
  • Two Heavy Rescue Companies
  • Four Haz-Mat Companies
  • Six Aircraft Fire & Rescue Vehicles
  • Dive Rescue Team
  • Three Urban Search And Rescue Teams
  • One Fire Boat
  • One Dive Rescue Boat

 

View our current FACT SHEET(PDF, 625KB)


Our Divisions

Nine divisions are charged with carrying out and supporting this mission, from the stand-alone Communications division, which answers and dispatches tens of thousands of 911 calls, to the Charlotte Fire Investigation Task Force, responding to scenes and working to determine what causes fires and how to prevent them.

Communications

The Communications Division of the Charlotte Fire Department, also called "Alarm," is a stand-alone 24-hour emergency communications center that is responsible for matching the public's requests with the resources of the Fire Department.

In fiscal year 2015, CFD Telecommunicators answered 177,606 emergency calls - 99.5% of those within 10 seconds. The department then dispatched more than 110,700 calls. Those calls can be related to fire, emergency medical, rescue and other service needs, and these outstanding, professional, highly trained men and women are able to obtain critical information when callers are erratic and under stress during emergency situations.

The Communications Division also provides key support to citizens, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other public-safety workers in the field. Two field communications units and two mobile command units can bring radio technology, computers, cameras, cable TV, hazmat monitoring, video teleconferencing capabilities and more - nearly anywhere they are needed.

Tactical Communications Team
The Tactical Communications Team has been in existence since June 10, 2006. It's made up of CFD Telecommunicators who respond to incidents and special events throughout the city, county, region, state, southeast and nation.

When the team responds to an incident, it can bring a variety of equipment to respond to these needs: operations special-response equipment (NC Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 3 and/or Haz Mat Regional Response Team 7), communications-specific equipment (Field Comm 1, Field Comm 2, Mobile Command P, Mobile Operations Center or USAR Comms), or individual personnel (RADO [radio operator], TERT [Telecommunicator Emergency Response Task Force], COMU [communications unit] single resource).

The team has responded to more than 500 calls since its inception, including:

  • USAR-Tropical Storm Nichole – Brunswick County moving to Bertie County
  • USAR-Hurricane Irene-Swift water rescue team deployed to Granville County
  • COMU single resource-Hurricane Irene-COML deployed to Lenoir County to the EM Eastern Branch
  • TERT-Deployed to Hyde County in response to a wildfire
  • RRT-Deployed to Union County for a hazardous materials incident
  • RRT-Deployed to Rowan County for a hazardous materials incident
  • FC-Response to Moore and Lee County for a tornado outbreak
  • FC-Response to Greensboro/Guilford County for a Tank Farm fire

The team has also taken part in numerous training and exercises, including:

  • Joint USAR training with Salt Lake City Fire Department (FEMA UT-TF1)
  • Joint training with member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, which is a water-rescue organization in the United Kingdom
  • FEMA Communications Specialist School-TEEX-College Station, TX
  • Numerous search and rescue (SAR) exercises including the Dupont Rescue Experience and the Eastern Branch SAR exercise
  • Training deployment to Emerald Isle Beach (Carteret County) in response to simulated Hurricane Larry

Field Communications

Mobile Operations

Fire Investigations

The Fire Investigation Task Force is a multi-agency unit made up of members from the Charlotte Fire Department, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Since its implementation in January 1985, The Fire Investigation Task Force has been involved in all the significant fire incidents in the City. This has not only resulted in a highly successful rate of prosecution of fire setters but has also identified many accidental fire causes to help prevent these types of recurring incidents. The Task Force continues to be recognized locally and nationally for its arson mitigation and prevention efforts in the past and present.

Logistics

The Logistics Division provides supplies and support for the Charlotte Fire Department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Logistics technicians respond to all working fires and major incidents to provide additional equipment and support. All equipment repairs and testing are performed by or vetted through a logistics technician.

Responsibilities:

  • Deliver Station Supplies
  • Equipment testing and repairs
  • Issue, repair, and clean turnout gear
  • Inventory control

If you are interested in becoming a vendor with the City of Charlotte, please complete the following information:

Register as a city vendor >>

Charlotte Business Inclusion (formerly Small Business Opportunity Program) 

Operations

The Charlotte Fire Department's 1,027 firefighters operate from 43 fire stations in eight battalions, covering nearly 300 square miles across the City of Charlotte.
Their primary duties include both Fire Suppression and Emergency Medical Services

Front-line Emergency Vehicles:
  • 41 Engines
  • 15 Ladders
  • 6 Water Tankers
  • 5 Brush Trucks
  • 1 Foam Tanker
Special Operations:
  • Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF)
  • 15 Ladders
  • Dive Team
  • Hazardous Materials Response
  • Heavy Rescue
  • Marine Operations
  • Structural Collapse
  • Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
Special Operations Vehicles:
  • Six ARFF Vehicles
  • Four HazMat Trucks
  • Three USAR Tractor Trailers
  • Two Heavy Rescues
  • Two Dive Boats
  • Two Structural Collapse Tractor-Trailers
  • One Fire Boat
  • One Mobile Command Post
  • Multiple Special-Purpose Vehicles

Training

The Charlotte Fire Department Training Division serves a diverse workforce of more than 1,100 members.

Each training officer is responsible for specific training disciplines. The division is charged with the responsibility of providing initial recruit training and certification, fire, rescue, and EMS continuing-education training and re-certification.

The training division is also responsible for providing specialized training such as Urban Search and Rescue collapse rescue training, dive rescue training, confined space training, Hazardous Materials Technician, swift water rescue, rescue technician, Emergency Medical Technician training and more. To accomplish its mission, the training division partners with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), and the City of Charlotte training team.

Recruit Training

Ladder training on side of building
After a lengthy application process, which can take between six and nine months or longer, it is considered a significant accomplishment to receive an appointment to the Charlotte Fire Department Training Academy. Recruit Training lasts for a period of 26 weeks, during which recruits receive entry-level pay. A Training Officer is assigned to each recruit class to be a leader, mentor, and to assist with anything the recruits may need. The Training Officer also facilitates physical fitness training for recruits, which is required during the duration of recruit training.

During the 26 weeks in the academy, recruits receive initial training in at least four disciplines which include Firefighting, Rescue, Haz-Mat, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. Recruits receive the following certifications: NC Fire Fighter, NC HazMat Ops, NC Technical Rescuer, NC TR Vehicle, and NC EMT.

After successfully completing recruit training, each recruit is assigned to a fire company. As rookie firefighters, they will have plenty of opportunities to put their training to the test under the direction of their fire captain and senior firefighters. During the next several months and years to come, they will receive invaluable firefighting experience to assist them in serving the population of Charlotte.

Click here to learn more about working for the Charlotte Fire Department.

 

Emergency Management

Emergency Management official logo

 

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management (CMEMO) is a local governmental agency that coordinates large-scale emergency incidents within the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Our office assists local emergency response agencies by providing detailed planning procedures and specialized needs for incidents requiring multi-agency participation and is responsible for planning, orchestrating and coordinating community resources and efforts in preparation for, response to and recovery from all hazards, both natural and human made. CMEMO operates as a division of the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) and is staffed by ten (10) of the best emergency management professionals in the country

 

 


Our History

The Charlotte Fire Department has a rich history, from bucket brigades to modern firefighting techniques.

History of CFD

Horse and buggy fire tank

The Charlotte Fire Department has a rich history, from bucket brigades to modern firefighting techniques.

Charlotte grew up in the textile industry, which was vulnerable to fire. Fire was a big danger in the industry, due to lint, dust and combustible materials associated with production.

The first mention of the fire service in Charlotte records came in 1845, when the Board of Aldermen approved payment for repairs to a fire engine. In 1875, the Charlotte Fire Department was officially formed, although the fire service in the Queen City existed for decades before that.

We are fortunate to have detailed information about the role of the fire department throughout Charlotte history. Today, four fire stations are designated historic landmarks, and the department has antique trucks and photos going back hundreds of years.

Click here for a summary of CFD history, compiled for the department's yearbook.(PDF, 5MB)

Find out more about the history of the Charlotte Fire Department by clicking on the links below. Trail of History is a documentary about the fire department, produced by the Central Piedmont Community College Department of History.

Trail of History Part 1on Vimeo.   |   Trail of History Part 2 on Vimeo.

Firefighters are some of the only workers in the world who live at their jobs. In Charlotte, firefighters work 24-hour shifts for a total of approximately 11 full days a month. During those days, the fire stations are their living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and, of course, their base of operations for the important job of fighting fires, responding to medical emergencies, and protecting lives and property.

Click on the links below to watch Home Away From Home: Charlotte's Historic Fire Stations and learn more about living at work in our incredible and historic stations.

Home Away From Home: Charlotte's Historic Fire Stations (Part I) on Vimeo.

Home Away From Home: Charlotte's Historic Fire Stations (Part II) on Vimeo.