The City of Oak Ridge has named Eric Rackard as its new fire marshal.
Rackard, who has recently served as an Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief, takes on the new role following Travis Solomon’s promotion to fire chief last month. Rackard joined the department in November 2007, a press release said.
“I am honored by this promotion and greater opportunity to serve the citizens of Oak Ridge,” Rackard said in the press release.
In the role of battalion chief, Rackard managed daily operation requirements for the Fire Department’s A Shift, including staffing, overtime, training, and logistics.
“I was also responsible for command and control on all major incidents on A Shift,” Rackard said. “I also lead a lot of trainings, including coordinating state commission training and serving as the hazardous materials team leader.”
Rackard will continue to lead training sessions in his new role, the press release said.
“The first thing I want to tackle is the fire pre-plan to improve efficiency and set us up for success before we even get on scene,” Rackard said. “One of my long-term goals is to improve the fire investigation team and working with ORPD to expand the program.”
Rackard has also served as a captain and firefighter/paramedic with the Oak Ridge Fire Department.
“I have no doubts that Rackard will succeed in this new role,” ORFD Assistant Chief Jody Durham said. “He is always making sure that we are taking advantage of training and continuing our education so that all of our firefighters are prepared when they respond to a scene.”
Rackard also handles the department’s computer program management.
“I want to improve our efficiency of the administrative side of the fire department,” he said. “It may not sound like something that the citizens physically see, but it will definitely help fire processes within the department.”
Continuing education is important to Rackard, and he has dozens of certifications including International Code Council (ICC) Fire Code Specialist and ICC Certified Fire Marshal, the press release said.
“We are honored to have Rackard in our department and being promoted to fire marshal, he will do great things,” Oak Ridge Fire Chief Travis Solomon said. “We are both on the same page, and his passion for the fire service shows. I am looking forward to seeing him continue to improve our department processes and the fire safety of Oak Ridge.”
Before coming to Oak Ridge, Rackard served with the Harriman Fire Department and Kingston Fire Department as a firefighter/EMT. From 2002 to 2005, Rackard served in security forces with the United States Air Force.
He has a bachelor of applied science in emergency management from Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa.
Rackard says he’s excited for this next step in his career, saying his favorite part of the job is that it’s always changing and no two days are the same.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was seven years old,” Rackard said. “I was at a doctor’s appointment for something and saw some firefighters and paramedics and from there on out, my mind was set.”
“Eric Rackard’s experience proves he is the right person for the role,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “Eric’s familiarity with the Oak Ridge community and this region’s public fire safety services will go a long way in meeting our expectations of professionalism and proficiency.”
Rackard’s first day in the new role is Monday, February 8.