As the saying goes, “You can’t keep a good man down.” Neither can retirement. So after a successful 29-year career with the Vista Fire Department, where he rose through the ranks achieving Battalion Chief before retiring, Joe Napier was ready for another challenge. His timing was impeccable. Coinciding with his retirement was Valley Center Fire Protection District’s nationwide search for a new Fire Chief to oversee and implement its planned expansion. Luckily for Valley Center, they only had to look as far as, well, Valley Center, to find the perfect candidate.
You see, not only was Joe Napier extremely qualified from a professional standpoint, but also from a personal one, since he has been a Valley Center resident for almost twenty years and truly has a vested interest in our community. He has lived through the mandatory evacuations of 2003 and 2007, so has a level of experience and personal knowledge that he brings to the table. Chief Napier, or Joe as most people around here call him, has held the position of Fire Chief for “twenty-one months” and has done an outstanding job of fulfilling the vision and goals set for him, and by him.
But he doesn’t take all the credit. He says he was blessed to start with a “fine” Fire Department and through a lot of hard work from all involved, they have become a “great” Fire Department! He is thrilled that they now participate at all levels as a recognized member of the fire community. He enjoys working closely with Cal Fire, Tribal and other emergency responders. He said there is a healthy competition between VC Fire and Cal Fire (iron strengthens iron) and they complement each other in achieving the mission.
Promoting life safety through Public Education, prevention, and all-risk fire response are among the main things Joe focuses on, but his highest priority and his greatest accomplishment has been adding Advanced Life Support Services (ALS) for medical emergencies. Establishing ALS/paramedic services, whereby paramedics are deployed on-scene much more rapidly than before (where seconds and minutes count) will have been in service one year on October 1st, and is responsible for saving lives and reducing trauma from injuries and long-lasting effects of other medical emergencies. What a blessing and peace of mind to know that when you call 911, within minutes, a paramedic team will be onsite to help stabilize the patient(s) in need!
You don’t have to spend much time with Joe before it becomes obvious that he loves his job! In fact, he practically glows with excitement when he starts talking about his passion for protecting and educating his neighbors about fire safety and prevention. The same is true when he addresses the forty dedicated personnel he oversees. It truly is refreshing and encouraging to meet someone who, after so many years in the business, is still passionate about what they do!
If you haven’t had a chance to meet our Fire Chief, he would love the opportunity to meet you. He is available to speak at civic clubs, organizations, community meetings, schools, etc. You also are welcome to meet him on his own turf at the Fire Department, or what he likes to call the “Department of Quality of Life.”
VCFPD Fire Chief