Michael Baker, former Chief of Emergency Medical Services for the Tulsa Fire Department, was chosen Monday to serve as Tulsa’s 12th Fire Chief. He will take his post effective Tuesday, June 16.
“Out of several exceptional public servants who put forth their names to serve as Tulsa’s next Fire Chief, I have decided Michael Baker is the best person to lead the Tulsa Fire Department moving forward,” Mayor Bynum said. “Michael has served the department for many years and has done an outstanding job turning our EMS system into one of the best in the nation. I want to thank all of the applicants who bravely put forth their names for consideration, issuing me a stark reminder of the extraordinary talent that exists in the Tulsa Fire Department. Chief Baker will represent the Tulsa Fire Department at the highest level and will continue to lay the groundwork for one of the best fire departments in the nation.”
Chief Baker has served more than 30 years in public safety, 25 of those with the Tulsa Fire Department. He’s played a key role in the development of TFD’s Community Assistance, Referral, and Education Services (CARES) program, which helps triage those who have specific care needs to programs and resources that can help change their lives for the better.
“It is my honor to be selected as the twelfth Fire Chief for the City of Tulsa,” Chief Baker said. “I am excited to be a part of a great leadership team and work with a world class group of firefighters. Great plans are on the horizon that not only address the life and fire safety of all Tulsa residents, but also work to improve the quality of life in our community. Through an informed, collaborative, and equitable team of firefighters, Tulsa will continue emerging as an energetic and resilient community.”
The Tulsa Fire Department has more than 700 firefighters, all of whom helped TFD earn a Class 1 Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating in 2019 – the highest rating a department can get in the country.
“Chief Baker is an excellent selection for Fire Chief,” former Fire Chief Ray Driskell said. “Chief Baker has been preparing himself for several years and has a diverse background within the Tulsa Fire Department as well as the fire and medical service. Chief Baker’s talents and experience will continue be an asset to the Tulsa Fire Department and the City of Tulsa.”
Throughout his career, Chief Baker has become an innovative fire service operations officer, emergency manager and administrator. In his capacity as the Director of Emergency Medical Services, which he has held since 2009, he has helped improve Fire and EMS response reporting times, while saving TFD money through improved processes and systems.
“I look forward to seeing the Tulsa Fire Department flourish under the leadership of Chief Michael Baker,” Tulsa City Council Chairman Ben Kimbro said. “I believe in his capability, expertise and competency with organizational science to shape Tulsa Fire into the organization that all of Tulsa desires and deserves.”
Chief Baker, who first served Tulsa as a firefighter at Fire Station 4, has more than 10 years’ experience with the International Association of Firefighters as a field instructor, helping provide him a better perspective of the skills required to maintain a positive interaction between labor and management with an emphasis on maintaining a quality working relationship.
“Michael Baker is a collaborative and innovative leader who has been instrumental in the success of Tulsa’s first responder partnership, the Community Response Team (CRT), a mobile mental health united comprised of the Tulsa Fire Department, Tulsa Police Department and the F&CS’s COPES team,” said Gail Lapidus, CEO of Family and Children’s Services. “His creative problem solving is best exemplified through the development of the Community Assisted Referral and Education Services (CARES), which connects high-need individuals with community services. He is a gifted leader who will build positive relationships within the fire department and the community. He will also ensure that those needing fire services will receive the highest quality of care.”
“IAFF Local 176 welcomes a new chapter of leadership in the Tulsa Fire Department,” IAFF President Jim Nance said. “We want to congratulate Fire Chief Michael Baker and look forward to working together with him in productive partnership on behalf of our firefighters and the citizens of Tulsa.”
Chief Baker will take his post tomorrow, June 16, at which time Interim Chief Scott Clark will return to his regular job duties.
“I think that Michael will be an outstanding Fire Chief and I look forward to the accomplishments he and the Department will achieve together,” Interim Fire Chief Scott Clark said. “I appreciate his dedicated and innovative service to the Department.”