PORT ORANGE, March 7, 2011—After nearly three decades in the fire service, Division Chief Russell Rafferty will retire from the Port Orange Department of Fire & Rescue on April 1st. Rafferty’s career with Port Orange Fire & Rescue is a stellar example of personal and departmental success brought about by hard work and determination.
Before beginning a career in the fire service, Rafferty worked his way up to a management position in the grocery business. In 1982, he was approached by a good friend who worked for Port Orange Fire Rescue and encouraged him to become a reserve firefighter. After obtaining his fire certification, Rafferty began working as a reserve firefighter. From there, he went on to manage the reserve program as a Reserve Lieutenant. After five years in the reserve program, the grocery store chain he worked for went out of business. He then made a decision that would change the future of the Port Orange Department of Fire & Rescue. He decided to pursue a full-time career in the fire service. In 1987, he was hired full time as a firefighter/EMT for Port Orange Fire & Rescue. He continued his schooling and became a Paramedic in 1989. In 1992, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and served as the Department’s Public Information Officer and Educational Specialist responsible for education the community on fire and EMS topics. In 1996, he graduated from Daytona Beach Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Emergency Medical Services. That same year, he was promoted to the rank of Commander in charge of the overall EMS function of the Department. In 1999, he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Warner Southern University and was promoted to the rank of Division Chief in 1999.
Over the years, Rafferty has received many accolades, including: Paramedic of the Year (1990), Green Cross Safety Award from the National Safety Council (1993), Fire Chief’s Award (1999), Fire Officer of the Year (2005), International Trauma Life Support Competition winner (2005), EMS Provider of the Year (Departmental Award) (2007), People’s Choice Award (2007), Fire Chief’s Award (2007), Florida’s Paramedic of the Year (2008), Volusia County’s Silver Star for Employee of the Year (2010), and Executive Fire Officer (2010). He established many award-winning programs in his time here such as the Flu Shot, Community AED, Sharps Collection and Abandoned Baby Programs. He continued to pursue further education, and obtained his Executive Fire Officer Certification from the National Fire Academy in 2010. His plans for retirement include spending time with his family and traveling before his next endeavor. Someone of Chief Rafferty’s caliber and professionalism is truly one in a million and he will be greatly missed.