Nine firefighters are promoted in Berkeley ceremony

Nine newly promoted Berkeley firefighters are sworn in on the Berkeley Rep stage on Friday March 30, 2012. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Nine Berkeley firefighters were sworn into new jobs Friday in a badge pinning ceremony held at the Berkeley Rep Theatre.

Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor presented the newly promoted firefighters with their badges which were then pinned by family members and close friends. The ceremony was well attended by supporters of the newly promoted public servants and was rounded off with refreshments and celebratory cake. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, Interim City Manager Christine Daniel, and councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Laurie Capitelli were also in the audience.

Each of the promoted firefighters spoke of their pride in working for BFD and the support they had received from individual members of the department.

Colin Arnold, a newly appointed Apparatus Operator, thanked the citizens of Berkeley for “constantly finding new ways of keeping this job exciting and giving us new things to learn.”

Tim MacIsaac receives his Apparatus Operator badge from his wife Misty. Photo: Tracey Taylor

New Fire Captain Warren Davis also thanked Berkeleyans: “Our citizens support us when it comes time with their checkbooks. They want a good fire department. They vote for us on ballot measures. They’re there for us. That says a lot.”

Firefighting is often a family affair, and two newly promoted firefighters spoke of how their immediate families had helped them to get where they were today. Lieutenant Keir Rankin said he had decided at age 18 to become a firefighter to follow in his father Ken Rankin’s footsteps. And newly promoted Paramedic Supervisor Rachel Valenzuela thanked her four children for being “flexible” in dealing with two parents in the department and their “crazy” schedules. Gratitude was also expressed to her parents for watching the kids, often at short notice.

Many of the firefighters who spoke conveyed to what extent the department was like a second family to them. Lieutenant Keith May said he thanked his “brothers and sisters” who were at the ceremony, as well as those who were not.

Newly promoted Captain Warren Davis. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Keith May, promoted to Lieutenant. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Firefighter Keir Rankin, promoted to Lieutenant. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Rachel Valenzuela, promoted to Paramedic Supervisor 1. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Kevin Boone with his daughter Sidney and son Aiden, was promoted to Apparatus Operator. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Robert Lawrence, promoted to Apparatus Operator, receives his pin from one of his three daughters. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Colin Arnold was promoted to Apparatus Operator. Photo: Tracey Taylor

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  • John Holland

    Congratulations to these brave firefighters. If you’re willing to run into a burning building that I’m running out of, you have my utmost respect and admiration!

  • Chris

    All of these folks studied long and hard, and put in many hours, to get here. Congrats!

  • EBGuy

    Berkeley salaries (lowest step):
    Firefighter: $80,424
    Captain: $118,392
    Starting firefighter salary in Berkeley is $10k more than that of an Oakland firefighter.  The pay difference appears to tighten somewhat at the higher levels.

     

  • Guest

    Those salary figures do not account for overtime pay or the cost of their other benefits which tax payers must pick up.  The average police officer or fire fighter costs a Bay Area municipality like Berkeley an avg. of around $250,000 in total costs.

    The recently promoted fire fighter above who is quoted as saying:

    New Fire Captain Warren Davis also thanked Berkeleyans: “Our citizens support us when it comes time with their checkbooks. They want a good fire department. They vote for us on ballot measures. They’re there for us. That says a lot.”

    Is listed at $188,000 gross pay:

    BerkeleyDavis, WarrenFire Lieutenant
    Fire$117,198$164,042$188,476

  • Berkeley Resident

    And?

  • Berkeley Resident

    Good for them.  Congratulations on a job well done.  They deserve to be compensated well for what they do.

  • EBGuy

    And in return, we get fewer city services  City workers deserve secure retirements, not benefits that far exceed those available to the general populace.  You can’t swim in a pool filled with mud.

  • Rickjamelo

    Congrats to all promoted. May all of you Berkeley firefighters be safe and may God keep his eyes on all of you. I worked there 30 yrs. and both Fire and Police are to me the best brsides being great people.

  • wd

    It’s unfortunate someone always has to take things out of context.  When budget cuts closed fire stations, our citizens were concerned.  Extra response times can cost lives and property.  They voted to increase the taxes they pay to keep stations open and increase the care they recieve to Paramedic level on the Fire Engines.  That is the support I refer too.