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Ray Navarro Named New Fire Chief for Carpinteria-Summerland District

Dated infrastructure and filling vacancies left by retirements will be two of the challenges facing the former Santa Barbara County Fire Department division chief

Santa Barbara County division chief Ray Navarro was named chief of the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Thursday. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County division chief Ray Navarro was named chief of the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Thursday.  (Courtesy photo)

Over a year after his predecessor’s retirement, Ray Navarro, a division chief with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, was named chief of the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District by a unanimous vote of the district’s board on Thursday.      

He is taking over the reins from Jim Rampton, a battalion chief who has been serving as interim chief since Michael Mingee’s retirement from the top post last summer.

As the new head, Navarro said that one of his goals is to implement recommendations in the district’s Standards of Cover Report, a study drawn up by the management consultants Citygate & Associates as a roadmap of sorts for the district’s future.

Those recommendations include developing a third fire station with additional personnel, he said.

“My philosophy here is that if we are caring for the community, they’ll see our value and help support our need to build that third fire station,” Navarro told Noozhawk.

Further improving paramedic service is also at the top of his to-do list, he said.

Navarro’s experience in Carpinteria and Summerland began in 2009 with his appointment as a division chief for the area. His primary responsibilities were personnel training, and the emergency medical services and paramedic program.

Prior to joining the county, Navarro served on the State Commission on Emergency Medical Services and the California State Firefighters Association’s Emergency Medical Services Committee. Before that, he was a battalion chief with the city of Beverly Hills, where he started his career as a firefighter and paramedic.

The top two issues Navarro said he faces as he takes over are aging facilities and retiring personnel.

“The current challenge that we have is dated infrastructure in each of the fire stations,” he said.

A new fire station in Summerland is urgently needed, he said, adding that a hired consultant determined that “we need to move our personnel immediately.”

Last year, a $10.65-million bond measure to build a new Summerland station and renovate the Carpinteria station failed. 

“My first task is to find a healthy, safe environment — a structure that can support our fire response and be close enough to Summerland that we do not come out of compliance with our seven-minute response time at the 90 percentile,” Navarro said.

To offset the effects of numerous retirees, he told Noozhawk, the district will need to jumpstart the hiring process and internally promote personnel.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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