The Dexter Area Fire Department has a new Fire Chief

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Doug Armstrong, Fire Chief of the Dexter Area Fire Department. photo courtesy of the DAFD

The Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) has a new Fire Chief. He’s a familiar face in the community with over 25 years of local firefighting experience.

Doug Armstrong, who has been serving as DAFD's interim Fire Chief since last July, has been selected as the new DAFD Fire Chief.

The Sun Times News (STN) reached out to him through email to get his reaction to this news.

“I have been a member of the greater Dexter community for 30 years,” he said in answering how it feels to be named Fire Chief. “I have been a firefighter with the Dexter Area Fire Department (DAFD) for most of that time. I have enjoyed serving and helping to protect the Dexter area. I am excited to have the opportunity to partner with the DAFD Board, residents, and business owners to ensure the safety of the city and surrounding townships. I have built long-standing relationships with key stakeholders within the community and department and look forward to building many more.”

As to what he would like the community to know about him, he said he comes to the job with a diverse background that includes 15 years of EMS experience, 26 years of firefighting experience (Chelsea Area Fire Authority, Scio Township Fire Department and Dexter Area Fire Department) and a 35-year career at the University of Michigan Health System in various emergency services, nursing, and management roles.

He also has a solid relationship with the neighboring fire department leadership, and said he believes that their current cooperative agreements can be expanded to maximize area efficiencies.

“I believe that each of these experiences will help inform the direction and support of operations for the DAFD,” Armstrong said. “The DAFD is fortunate to have a group of committed fire fighters who are dedicated to keeping the community as safe as possible. Since its inception, the department has been an innovative leader within Washtenaw County thanks to the fire fighters, previous Chiefs, and the Administrative Fire Board. Together they have assembled all the ingredients needed to continue this path and I am excited to be chosen as the next Dexter Area Fire Department Chief.”

One of the connections he has is with the Scio Township Fire Department. STN asked Scio Township Fire Chief Andrew Houde about Armstrong being named the new chief in Dexter.

“Dexter is getting a great Fire Chief by hiring Doug,” Houde said. “He is dedicated and hard working, will be a great asset to them. I look forward to continuing to work with him although in a different way.”

Armstrong has served as Scio’s assistant chief and fire marshal.

In giving a brief history of his time in the community, Armstrong was one of the first firefighters to staff the temporary joint fire station located in the Multi-Lakes Sewer Authority garage. He said this station was opened in 1997 as a cooperative project between the Dexter Area Fire Department and Chelsea Area Fire Authority.

“This temporary station led to the new permanent fire station located on North Territorial Road,” Armstrong said. “I have been an active fire fighter with the DAFD since that time and served as an Assistant Chief and since July 2022, as the Interim Fire Chief. Having grown up in Albion, Michigan, another small town, I deeply appreciate the sense of community that surrounds the Dexter area.”

STN asked him about his goals for the Dexter department.

He said, “The Dexter community is evolving and growing. The needs of the community and the ability of the Fire Department to meet those needs are constantly changing. Fortunately, Dexter has had the foresight and willingness to make infrastructure investments to support the Fire Department. The DAFD has worked to add 2 new fire stations, purchase new fire apparatus, and add additional firefighters. These have been important steps in preparing the fire department to best serve the community. I look forward to working with the DAFD Administrative Board to add staff to the new stations and to develop a long-term vision and plan for delivering fire education, assessing community risk, and providing excellent fire and medical response for the Dexter Area Community.”

With two new township fire stations and a replacement city fire station being planned, he said the community is positioned well to meet growing emergency service needs.

“Balancing the increasing demand for emergency services and the goals to keep the needed service affordable, requires careful consideration and planning,” he said. “I look forward to leading and managing these discussions.”

In moving forward, he said the community should know the fire department is here to serve them.

“Please stop by any of our stations, at any time, to see the facilities, apparatus and fire fighters that work together to insure your safety,” he said.

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