FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Michael Thorne, Communications Manager
DATE: April 10, 2023
Escondido, CA – After leading the Escondido Fire Department for six years and a cumulative 33-year career in Fire Service, Escondido Fire Chief Rick Vogt has announced he will retire on July 15, 2023.
Over the course of his career, Chief Vogt served CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department for fifteen years as a Firefighter, Engineer, and Captain. He served the City of San Marcos as a Battalion Chief for ten years. During this time, Chief Vogt led a newly formed joint Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division that combined Escondido and San Marcos Fire Departments for EMS training, education, purchasing, policy, and procedures. In addition, Vogt was a member of the command staff on a state-wide Major Incident Management Team, and he deployed to dozens of large-scale wildfires and disasters.
Chief Vogt joined the Escondido Fire Department as a Division Chief in 2015, leading the Training and EMS Division. He was promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations in 2016 and was appointed Fire Chief in 2017. During his tenure, the Escondido Fire Department has had many accomplishments, including the purchase of five new fire engines and the upgrade of the department’s technology, including radios, mobile data computers, and the fire station alerting system. In addition, Vogt oversaw the implementation of community programs to install free smoke alarms in homes and provide elderly and ill residents with lock boxes that allow paramedics to access homes quickly during medical emergencies.
Chief Vogt is recognized as a regional fire service leader. He has been an active member of the North Zone Fire Chiefs and the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association, serving on the board of directors and as President from 2020 to 2022. Vogt said, “The level of collaboration and cooperation amongst the federal, state, local, and tribal fire agencies in San Diego County is outstanding. Seamless emergency response is the result of trustbased relationships from constantly training, meeting, and planning together. A great example of how this benefits the community was how the fire service in San Diego County implemented ‘operation collaboration’ during the pandemic and provided vaccinations to the public, especially the most vulnerable in convalescent and elderly care facilities.”
During his time as Fire Chief, Vogt is most proud of the enhancements made to the education, experience, and training of the members of the Escondido Fire Department. The department implemented the ‘Blue Card’ incident command certification program through the use of an onsite simulation lab that prepares firefighters for actual emergency incidents. Investments in the Fire Explorer program have provided Escondido youth with an opportunity to learn about and prepare for a fire service career. Facilitating formal education and incident management training and deployments has equipped members for advancement. Vogt said, “The development of our team is one of the highest priorities so that we will always have people with the experience and preparation to step into higher leadership roles.”
City Manager Sean McGlynn shared, “Chief Vogt has served the public for over three decades, providing guidance, ensuring safety, and sharing his fire expertise with his team. Our community has benefitted greatly from his leadership and dedication to Escondido. I wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Vogt said, "I have been blessed with a long career as a firefighter, and the highlight has been leading the men and women who serve the City of Escondido and working with the City’s executive leadership team and elected officials.” In his retirement, Chief Vogt plans to enjoy more time with his wife, who is a middle school teacher, and his fifteen-year-old twins and two adult children. A nationwide recruitment for the next Escondido Fire Chief recently began with the goal of naming a replacement by June 2023.