South Walton Fire Chief Rick Talbert to Retire in 2019 

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South Walton Fire Chief Rick Talbert to Retire in 2019 


(Santa Rosa Beach) – At the regularly scheduled South Walton Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners meeting on Monday, December 10, 2018, Fire Chief Rick Talbert announced to the seven-member board and those in attendance that he will retire by March 1, 2019.


After an overall 40-year fire service career, with 11 of those years dedicated to serving the South Walton Fire District, Chief Talbert has provided impactful leadership and guidance to SWFD. Under his leadership, the South Walton Fire District has improved their level of service with the following public safety enhancements:


  • Organizational excellence in our service delivery
  • High standards in employee training, education and career development
  • An improved Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating for the fire district (lowered from 5 to 3)
  • Full Advanced Life Support (Paramedic) services
  • Exceeding customer’s expectations through compassion and empathy
  • Active participation in the community
  • Growing leaders within the organization through, training, coaching and mentoring
  • Sound fiscal responsibility and planning
  • An expanded and professional beach safety and education program
  • Design and approval of a state-of-the-art live fire training and multi-use training tower and a maintenance facility
  • Cooperative and effective partnerships with all emergency service providers locally and statewide


Chief Talbert was awarded the prestigious Florida Fire Chief of the Year in 2009 and was recognized by Florida’s governor and cabinet.  “For the past 11 years, the citizens and Board of Fire Commissioners of South Walton have trusted me with one of their most treasured and important assets.  It has truly been my honor to work with a community who understands and appreciates the need for a higher quality of public safety,” explained Chief Talbert.


“Their support has continually reaffirmed to us that serving the public with honor, trust and integrity is rewarded with the resources needed to be successful.”


“I am excited about the next phase of my life and the opportunities ahead.” I know that the best days are ahead for SWFD and I can take leave with a feeling of pride for having been part of a team that makes such a difference in the everyday lives of our citizens and visitors. Thank you again for providing me with this unbelievable opportunity to serve.”


If you’d like to share your well wishes with Chief Talbert before his retirement, please email him at before March 1, 2019.


We thank Chief Talbert for his service to our Fire District and for his years of leadership and guidance and protection. Best wishes on his next adventures!

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