White male with dark brown hair wearing a navy blue fire rescue formal jacket, a white collar shirt, and a navy blue tieWalton County Fire Rescue, the primary provider of Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the largest fire suppression agency north of the Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County, is proud to announce Chief Austin Pugh as the department’s new fire chief.

Chief Pugh, 42, is a career public safety professional, serving the Florida panhandle for over 20 years. He began his career as an EMT with Holmes County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in 2001 before accepting a position with Walton County EMS in November that same year.

Chief Pugh played an integral role in the creation of Walton County Fire Rescue, which was officially established in 2005, serving in numerous positions. Pugh worked as a firefighter-paramedic for several years before promoting through the ranks as a lieutenant, battalion chief, training chief, and assistant chief of operations.

During his tenure, Chief Pugh governed in several leadership positions within the Local 4413 Union, ultimately acting as union president from 2013 to 2015.

While in various positions in the agency, he has served on a variety of committees dealing with labor management, policy and procedures, and capital improvement. He also assisted in the development of the first comprehensive training plan for Walton County Fire Rescue.

An alumnus of the National Fire Academy, Pugh holds a degree in fire administration as well as several state certifications. He has also worked as an adjunct instructor for Northwest State Florida’s fire academy.

“I am proud to announce Chief Austin Pugh as Walton County Fire Rescue’s fire chief,” says Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “As a 20-year member of this organization, he is well respected not only by his peers but also by professionals outside of the agency. He is dedicated to this agency and will no doubt lead his team to greatness.”