Author(s): Jesse Roman. Published on May 1, 2019.

The Hood File

Charles Hood, chief of the San Antonio Fire Department since April 2007



Phoenix Fire Department, 1984–2006

Phoenix College, Phoenix, Arizona
A.A., Fire Science, 1989

Ottawa University, Phoenix, Arizona
B.S., Fire Service Management, 2000

Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education: National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, 2011; Leadership in Crisis, Preparation & Performance, 2014

Metro Chief of the Year, Black Chief Officer’s Committee IABPFF, 2010
Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, US Department of Defense, 2016
Public Safety Leadership Award, National Sprinkler Association, 2018

Advice for new chiefs: “Have some really good contacts on your speed dial. Have people you can call who have done this job, who have been in the business, and who are advocates for you.”

On starting new programs and initiatives: “One of the things I learned from Chief Brunacini is that, as a leader, you can’t be afraid to fail. We tried a lot of projects in Phoenix; some were successful, some of them didn’t work. If you have a program that doesn’t work, pull the pin on it and try something else.”

On his management style: “So much of the job is about relationships. You have to make people feel comfortable and feel that you value them, and then let them go do their jobs."

On leadership: “It makes it easier to lead when people know I care about them, that I’m not in it just for me. I meet with every new officer and I tell them leadership takes energy every single day. You have to be engaging, you have to be the bigger me. Unless you’re investing in the people, nothing gets done. If you invest in people, the people will invest in the fire department.”

JESSE ROMAN is associate editor for NFPA Journal.