Changing of the Command at Glendale Fire
By Bette and Ed Sharpe Glendale Daily Planet
The passing of the Glendale Fire Department unit flag officially
changed the department’s command form one person to another. The
Glendale Fire Department Change of Command Ceremony was held on May 14,
Glendale Fire has many firsts in its history and Thursday was no
exception. To honor and recognized the professional services of Fire Chief
Mark Burdick, with the unprecedented and unique Change of Command
Historically, this kind of military ceremony is one that is formal and
is rich in tradition, involving an entire military base and its members. A
military Change of Command involves the passing of that flag. It is a
formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one
commanding office to another. The passing of the color from an outgoing
commander to an incoming one ensures that the unit and the military
personnel are never without leadership.
The American Fire Service (Glendale Fire) is a para-military
organization. Chief Burdick stated, "We have a rank
structure, we use words "combat", "offensive attack"
and our enemy is fire and smoke. We work in "Platoons" or
So it seemed appropriate for the Glendale Fire Department to base
Thursday’s ceremony on what the military does. A first-ever, Change of
Command ceremony for the Glendale Fire Department; an historical event.
Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick passed the Glendale Fire Department
unit flag to Interim Fire Chief Chris De Chant, signifying the transfer of
command and authority as conferred by Acting City Manager, Dick Bowers.
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daly Planet no. 3576.
Ed Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. DSCO5680.
Accepting the Glendale Fire Department’s flag and command, Interim
Fire Chief Chris De Chant accepts the flag and therefore accepts the
command. From Ron Heart, "Glendale Fire, Fire Chief Mark Burdick you
have served us well, please pass the unit colors to Chief Chris DeChant.
Chief Chris DeChant, by order of the Acting City Manager, you are hereby
appointed as Interim Fire Chief of the Glendale Fire Department."
Ed Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. DSCOxxxx
Retiring Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick transferred the command of
the department to Interim Fire Chief Chris De Chant on Thursday afternoon,
May 14, 2015
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daly Planet no. 3590.
The Glendale Fire Department unit colors was folded a total of 13 times
by members of the Honor Guard and was presented to Retired Fire Chief Mark
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daly Planet no. 3595.
Retired Fire Chief Mark Burdick accepts the Glendale Fire Department
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. 3609.
Photo of a photo that said it all at the Chief Burdick Reception held
Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa. Chief Burdick is
retiring after thirty plus years with the City of Glendale.
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. 3698.
From Luke Air Force Base, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Assistance Chief
Marty Yates, Deputy Chief Tony Rabonza, Chief Chris Horsman, Lt. Col.
Chris Herndon, and Assistant Chief Steve Kinkade attending the Changing of
the Command Ceremony for retiring Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick at the
Renaissance Hotel and Spa in west Glendale on May 14, 2015.
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. 3653
Pictured: Chief Master Sgt. Chris Horsman, 56th CES
fire chief; Glendale Chief Mark Burdick and Tony Rabonza, 56th CES deputy
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. 3658.
Pictured: Chief Master Sgt. Chris Horsman,
56th CES fire chief; Glendale Chief Mark Burdick and Tony Rabonza, 56th
CES deputy fire chief, and Lt. Col. Chris Herndon. Chief Burdick received
a model of an F-35.
The message on the plaque reads.
Fire Chief Mark Burdick
The firefighters at Luke Air Force Base wish to express
our deepest gratitude and appreciation for your tremendous support,
dedication, and commitment to our partnership. Your friendship and
contributions to Luke Fire Emergency Services have left an indelible mark
on the base and our entire community.
Good Luck and God Speed!
Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no.3675.
Bette Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no.3674.
to R - Lis Cortes and Patty Adams
Danny Senese and Mark Burdick on the right of the quilt
Adams, Office of the Fire
Management Aide (in white top)
"Chief Burdick, on behalf of the ladies in Admin, we would like to
present you with this t-shirt memory quilt and pillow. It covers your
32-year career from red shirt to fire chief. Our goal was to use 20
shirts, but everyone knows that the fire department makes a t-shirt for
everything, so we ended up with 31. Some of these are from your personal
collection – thanks to Colleen. We did have the red shirt made, because
Tony said you wore togas back then. Then I was connected with Gay Lee who
took our shirts and spent many hours creating this work of art for you.
The quilt represents the different divisions, events, stations, and
programs that started under your leadership. I’m sure this will bring
back lots of memories. I figure there should be at least 30 stories you
can tell…not that you need a quilt to tell a story. We hope you enjoy
this for many years! We want to thank you for your support and generosity
and hope you enjoy your retirement."
Some Chief Mark Burdick’s history with the Glendale Fire Department
Hire date 1/14/83
FF Medic 1/84
Promoted to Engineer 5/91
Promoted to Captain 2/7/92
Promoted to BC 7/1/00
Interim Fire Chief 9/01
Promoted to Fire Chief 7/31/02
Retire date 5/28/15
"But, the last time I checked, people are not trash."
Before he stepped down, one of the first thinks retiring Glendale Fire
Chief Mark Burdick said to the men and women of the Glendale Fire
Department, "I want to thank you."
Fire Chief Burdick was asked recently why fire trucks need four people
and could that number be reduced. The person asking this made a comparison
to the recent changes in trash collection. Trash collection trucks started
out with three people on a truck – the driver and two people on the back
of the truck to collect and empty the trash. Now through automation, the
sanitation trucks have just one person, the driver.
"But, the last time I checked, people are not garbage."
The comparison to fire trucks does not work. Research from the National
Institute of Standards and Technology supports GFD staffing models are
efficient. It came as a shock to Glendale Fire; however, when they learned
that a 4 person EMS crew could shave a minute-and-a-half off their on-site
An ongoing problem for firefighters and EMS personnel is a better
method of screening emergency calls to allow for maximum efficiently of
both resources - staff and equipment.
On a recent ride-along Chief Burdick went out on a call regarding a car
and motorcycle wreck. As it turned out, the patient just needed help with
a scraped knee. The system is designed that when a person calls 911,
"we respond." Burdick said. "We did not design the
system." There needs to be a better way of screening the 911 calls.
The idea for the Change of Command ceremony is due in part to the
partnership between the Glendale Fire Department and Luke Air Force Base.