YDFD Names New Fire Chief

Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Image

National search for new leader of internationally accredited department leads to local candidate.

The Fire Commission of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has selected Gary Fredericksen as the new chief of the Yocha Dehe Fire Department (YDFD). Mr. Fredericksen, currently a  Division Chief for the West Sacramento Fire Department, will assume leadership of YDFD on January 3, 2012.

“Our nationwide search brought us an amazing group of qualified candidates and from among them, the person who stood out as the best choice to lead our internationally  accredited department was right here in our own backyard,” said James Kinter, Chairman of the Yocha Dehe Fire Commission and Tribal Council Member. “Gary Fredericksen is professionally well-rounded, with more than 25 years of line, administrative and leadership experience in fire and emergency services. Plus, he understands the unique challenges of fire and emergency services in our region. This is a perfect combination.”

At YDFD, Mr. Fredericksen will command a department with 32 uniformed personnel, three full-time administrative employees, and a full complement of fire suppression, emergency response and rescue equipment. In his present role as Division Chief in charge of Operation and Administration for the West Sacramento Fire Department, Mr. Fredericksen oversees an $11.5 million budget with 60 line and seven administrative personnel.

“I am excited and humbled to become the chief of the first Native American fire department to achieve international accreditation,” said Mr. Fredericksen. “The Yocha Dehe Fire Department is manned with exemplary staff. I look forward to continuing the high quality, professional service this department already delivers as we explore ways to expand the services we provide to the communities of the Capay Valley and Yolo County.”

Fredericksen will be taking over for retiring Fire Chief Michael B. Chandler. Chandler was hired by the Yocha Dehe Tribal Council in 2004 with one clear goal: to build a department for the entire community, designed to work hand-in-hand with existing resources to provide the best fire and emergency services possible. In 2010, YDFD became the first tribal fire department in the United States to earn Accredited Agency status through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI).

“I am incredibly proud of the team the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has built at its Fire Department,” said Chandler. “The professionalism and commitment to first class fire protection and safety for our entire community starts with the Tribal Council and is at the core of everything the department does. Gary Fredericksen has the skills, background and dedication this department needs in a leader as it moves forward. He will be a great chief for a great department.”

About Gary Fredericksen

Gary Fredericksen started his fire service career as a reserve with East Yolo Fire Department in 1985 and was one of the first firefighters hired by the newly formed City of West Sacramento in 1987. He was promoted to Engineer in 1994, Captain in 2000, and Fire Division Chief In 2007.

Gary has an AA degree in Fire Science and Business Administration. Gary is currently serving as the Yolo County Fire/Rescue Mutual Aid Coordinator for CalEMA and serves on several committees including the Yolo County Fire Chiefs Association. Gary is a lifetime resident of Yolo County and currently lives in West Sacramento with his wife and two children.