Escambia County Fire has named a new Fire Chief:

Russell “Rusty” Nail has been selected as the new Escambia County Fire Chief, responsible for supervising all Escambia County Fire Rescue staff. Nail’s target start date is Monday, May 7. He joins Escambia County with over 26 years of experience as an accomplished chief fire officer including more than 12 years of supervisory and nine years of command-level experience, mostly in a fast-paced, large metropolitan fire department of 17 stations, with over 500 personnel and a budget of up to $100 million. 

Nail will join Escambia County from Palm Bay, Florida, where he currently serves as the City of Palm Bay Fire Rescue Fire Chief and Emergency Manager and previously served as a battalion chief. Nail graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in fire and emergency services management and from Brevard Community College with an Associate of Arts in general studies and Associate of Science in fire science technology. 

Prior to his tenure at Palm Bay, Nail worked for the City of Orlando Fire Department for more than 20 years, serving as assistant fire chief, assistant chief of planning, district chief and retiring as the deputy chief. Nail’s experience also includes working as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician. 

His certifications include being a State of Florida Certified Firefighter, Chief Fire Officer with the Centers for Public Safety Excellence and a University of Florida Executive Fire Officer, among others. Nail is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Florida Fire Chiefs Association, Space Coast Fire Chiefs Association, Palm Bay Hospital Advisory Board and Eastern Florida State College Technical Advisory Committee. 

Nail was selected from a pool of 77 applicants for the Escambia County Fire Chief position after a thorough selection process. The selection committee narrowed the list down to seven candidates and then to three finalists, ranking Nail as the top candidate. The selection process included several interviews with the selection committee, along with a tour of Escambia County Public Safety and a meet and greet with staff. 

As the Escambia County Fire Chief, Nail’s duties will include supervising fire rescue staff, providing oversight and directing implementation of internal operations, managing expenditures to the approved annual budget, developing goals and objectives and ensuring compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations.