BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — After more than 30 years, Fire Chief Anthony Galagaza will be retiring.
For three decades Galagaza has called Bakersfield Fire Department his home. In that home, he built a family and a foundation to make sure that family is taken care of once he retires.
“We’ve saved lives together, we’ve seen great things together we’ve spent a third of our lives together,” said Galagaza.
Galagaza called the Bakersfield Fire Department a band of brothers. For more than 32 years, he’s been one of them. First as a reserve fighter in 1990, as a battalion chief, and for the last three and a half years fire chief. Come December 3rd, Bakersfield City Manager, Christian Clegg said he’s leaving behind quite a legacy when he retires.
“He’s just beloved by the department, and he’s famous for promoting legendary customer service. Not just customer service but legendary customer service,” said Clegg.
According to BFD, that legendary customer service led BFD to maintain their insurance services office class two rating, which puts their department in the top 1.5% of departments in the country.
Galagaza said it’s all in their teamwork. Having additional rescue squads, arson personnel, dispatch, and training contributed to them increasing 2.5% within that insurance rating.
“Probably by the end of this year, and within the next 6-7 weeks, we’ll be fully nationally accredited for the center of public safety and excellence. And we have a five-year plan that will range our short and long-term goals for quite some time. It’s an exciting time and there’s a lot that has gone on, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” said Galgaza.
Galagaza added that an upgrade of the department’s health and wellness programs was a crucial goal he wanted to fulfill with his team during his tenure.
“In our post-traumatic stress injuries. Being able to address those injuries toward our firefighters and dispatchers. Benign able to address those issues that are important to me because these people are important to me,” said Galgaza.
At the end of the day, it’s the community he has been there for. In the event of an emergency or through the department’s five nonprofits at work, that also makes Galagaza proud of his over 32 years of service.
“I will always be a proud Bakersfield firefighter for the rest of my life,” said Galagaza.