PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Aug. 27, 2019)—Pigeon Forge Fire Department Chief Tony Watson, a 32-year firefighter, was named president of the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association (TFCA) for the 2019-20 term.
The appointment was announced on July 18 at the annual TFCA/Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs (SEAFC) joint annual conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“Chief Watson’s commitment to education and community service has benefited Pigeon Forge throughout his career,” said Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster. “We’re pleased that he will share that same work ethic with the TFCA membership.”
In this role, Watson will provide oversight and leadership to the TFCA membership. TFCA’s mission is to provide leadership to career and volunteer chiefs, chief fire officers and managers of emergency service organizations throughout the state of Tennessee through vision, information, education, service and representation to enhance their professionalism and capabilities.
Watson earned Executive Fire Officer (EFO) certification from the National Fire Academy (NFA) in January 2018. The U.S. Fire Administration, an entity of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, oversees the NFA.
Under Watson’s guidance, the city of Pigeon Forge earned national recognition in November 2017 as a Firewise USA™ site from the National Fire Protection Association. Firewise is a nationwide initiative that recognizes communities for taking action to protect people and properties from the risk of wildfire.
Watson, a second-generation firefighter, began his career as a volunteer firefighter, where he served 20 years. He has worked in emergency medical services (EMS), rising through the ranks to become the training officer for a growing advanced life support transport system, eventually becoming a multidisciplinary instructor in fire/rescue and EMS. He has served as an instructor at Walter State Community College and the National Fire Academy.
In 2007, Watson was hired as chief of the Pigeon Forge Fire Department, the first person to serve in this role in an official capacity. Under Watson’s leadership, the department has grown from a mostly volunteer department to a combination department with 50 members.
In addition to his TFCA membership, Watson has served on the organization’s board of directors and as safety committee chairman. He also has serves as the current president of the Sevier County Fire Chiefs Association and was previously vice president.
Watson earned his associate of arts degree in fire science from Walters State Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management, and a Master of Arts in education degree in organizational training, the latter two from Tusculum College. He has attended courses and trained in wildland urban interface.
Chief Tony Watson image available here. Photo courtesy of the TFCA.