MILTON, Ga. — When he reached his senior year of high school, Milton Fire Chief Robert Edgar already had a career path set out.
He knew he did not want a monotonous job, but coming from a family with experience as police officers, Edgar also knew he did not want to pursue a law enforcement career.
Fire rescue provided him with a chance to do something different each day, be involved with the community and help others. Edgar put himself through fire school and launched his career.
A native of Florida, Edgar spent 29 years with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Department, rising through the ranks from firefighter to assistant chief. He also garnered experience in EMS, training, fire prevention and administration, setting him up to take over as Milton’s Chief in 2008.
Not only was Milton incredibly inviting, Edgar said, he was also intrigued by the opportunity to take over a department just getting off the ground.
“A great challenge and something great to be a part of is to build a department and work with a new city,” Edgar said. “It’s a great place to work. I’ve never seen such support from the community and city leaders.”
As chief, Edgar organizes and coordinated the activities of the Fire Department, including planning, resource allocation, budget and identifying and addressing specific fire and rescue needs for the community.
“Most importantly, [my role] is to provide the best possible service to the Milton community,” he said. “I have high expectations of the men and women who wear the City of Milton Fire-Rescue uniform and it’s always our goal to exceed the expectations of the community.”
In order to provide all the services the community may need, Edgar must also stay up to date with procedures through education and certification.
“Especially today, it is so important to keep up with the ever-changing environment,” Edgar said. “When I started out, it was all about controlling fires. Now we have to deal with hazmat, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and dealing with the opioid breakout. We have to stay on top of those things through education and learning from those who have experienced it.”
In addition to his collegiate degrees, Edgar earned certifications from the Commission of Professional Credentialing, U.S. Fire Administration’s Nation Fire Academy and completed the Georgia Fire Chief Certification program. He is also a member of multiple state and national fire rescue associations.
These certifications and continuing education helps Edgar continue to provide the best training for his staff.
“Being a firefighter can be dangerous at times,” he said. “It’s my commitment to our firefighters and their families that they are properly trained and provided the best equipment available so they can go home each day to their families after serving the citizens of Milton.”
And the support of the city’s residents which he serves has been “incredible.”
“I am proud to be a part of this great city team and work in a community that appreciates the work we do,” Edgar said. “We have low turnover with most of our firefighters having been with us since day one. I believe the partnership that exists between the department and the community is a big factor in our retention.”
Outside of his duties as fire chief, Edgar says his top priority is spending time with his family. Together, they enjoy boating, fishing and golf and often visit South Florida to visit family.