MONTECITO, Calif. - Montecito Fire Department Division Chief – Operations Alan Widling announced plans to retire at the end of December after 31 years of service.
Chief Widling was hired as a full-time firefighter by the Montecito Fire Department in September of 1989, after beginning as a private ambulance paramedic and Reserve Firefighter for the Santa Maria City Fire Department.
Widling left Montecito a few years later in 1991 to spend the next 23 years rising through the ranks in the Santa Maria City Fire Department, becoming the Operations Battalion Chief in 2011.
In 2015, Widling returned to the Montecito Fire Department as a Shift Battalion Chief, and in July of 2019, was promoted to the Division Chief – Operations position.
“Chief Widling has been an incredible partner the past several years; his commitment to our community and organization were truly representative of his service over self-mentality,” said Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor. “We are grateful for Alan’s 31 years of service and wish him and his family well in retirement.”
Widling also served as an Instructor for the Allan Hancock College Fire Academy since the late 1990s and achieved the level of Confined Space Rescue Technician - Senior Instructor with State Fire Training in 2008.
He also participated in the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) program and currently serves as the Chairperson for Santa Barbara County US&R Regional Task Force (RTF-12) and as Deputy Chairperson for the California Statewide US&R RTF Working Group, which is made up of all 12 of the State’s RTFs.
“For my entire career, I have been passionate about serving others and attempting to master the craft of firefighting through study, training and experience. My achievements were only possible through the support of my family, which sacrificed so much for me to achieve my goals. I will now have time to invest in paying them back for all of the birthdays, events and other special moments in life that I missed pursuing my dream,” said Widling.
Montecito Fire Department Battalion Chief David Neels will be promoted to the Division Chief – Operations position effective January 1, 2021.