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Exposing Minorities to a Great Career in Fire Service

Toni Washington joined the City of Decatur in January 2009 as the first African American and first female to serve as the Fire Chief/Emergency Manager.  She was the fourth African American female fire chief in the nation’s history.  Her work involves planning and managing the operations of the fire department in fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency management, and emergency medical services.  Chief Washington has worked diligently to educate the public on fire safety.  She began her public safety career at State Fire Marshal’s Office; and then to a Metro Atlanta fire department where she promoted up to the rank of Deputy Fire Chief.  Toni is currently the only serving African American female fire chief in the nation.

Before beginning her tenure in the public safety field, Chief Washington attended Savannah State University where she received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Management.  After mapping her career path, she expanded her education and received a Master of Science in Managerial Leadership from National Louis University.  In addition, she has attended the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute at Dillard University, the National Fire Academy and received her Chief Fire Officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.  Her corporate background includes employment with the Turner Home Entertainment Marketing and Public Relations Team; serving on the staff of actress Jane Fonda and working with the Cobb Microenterprise Council.  Other professional achievements consist of a vast amount of supplement training and certifications.

Chief Washington’s professional affiliations include:  Metro Atlanta Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, Black Chief Officers Committee, The Chair of Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, iWomen Board Trustee, Decatur Career Academy Advisory Council, International Fire Chiefs Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Georgia State Firefighters Association and various mentoring programs. Toni and Gregory are the proud parents of three daughters, Tahj (Lyndon), Lark (Mark) and Lauryn; and two grandsons, Little Lyndon and Logan.