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Brian Tobin

Position: Fire Chief
Portrait of Fire Chief Brian Tobin


A Biography


Brian was hired as a Phoenix Firefighter in 1983.  He rapidly became involved in other facets of the department and received hazardous material training. By 1986 he had become a Master Trainer in the International Association of Fire Fighters (I.A.F.F.) Hazardous Materials Training Program and continues to be a supporter of the IAFF’s program that enhances the safety of both members and the general public across the country.


Brian was first elected to the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, Local 493 as a Trustee in 1987.  He served in many capacities of the Phoenix Fire Fighters Assoc. including Fundraising Chairman, Treasurer, District Vice President, Secretary and as the founding President of the Phoenix Fire Command Officers Association.  He also was elected twice as President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, of which he was honored as “President Emeritus.”


After the September 11th tragedy, IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger, summoned Brian with other Local 493 officers to assist his fallen brothers in the FDNY.  In his capacity, Brian assisted in setting up and implementing the United Firefighters Association and United Fire Officers Association Delegate Support Center which supported the unions’ programs in distributing $160 million from the New York 9-11 Firefighters Disaster Relief Fund.  At the 2002 Biennial Convention in Las Vegas, Brian was appointed by IAFF District Vice President James Ferguson to represent the 10th District on the influential Policy Committee. 


Brian was an original member of the Phoenix Fire Department’s Cadet Program when he was 15 years old.  During that experience Brian started his leadership quest by working himself up through the ranks and being assigned as the Chief of the program.  But one of his fondest memories was assisting the Phoenix Fire Fighters Union during the binding arbitration campaign the Union was engaged in 1980 when he was sixteen. 


Everyone who knows and works with Brian knows that he has a knack for cutting through to the heart of every issue. Determining what is best for the membership and the organization is at the core of his opinions and decisions. Much of the ability to focus on the member’s best interest comes from the broad range of experience that has come from performing many jobs entrusted to him both by the membership as well as the past and current Local Presidents and Fire Chiefs.


His intimate knowledge of members’ needs as well as operational priorities for Fire Departments earned him an appointment to the original Federal Emergency Management Agency F.I.R.E. Act Grant Committee. This board evaluated grant applications submitted to the federal government by departments from across the nation. These grants provide much needed dollars to departments across the country to purchase critical equipment in cities and towns without the budgetary resources to make the purchase.


On a local level the City of Phoenix Mayor and Council appointed Brian to serve on the Community Development Block Grant Committee from 1997-2000. Brian was able to help many of our community groups and improve neighborhoods in Phoenix with the use of these grants.  Also, the members of the Phoenix Fire Department elected him five times to represent them on the City of Phoenix Fire Pension Local Board.  He previously sat on Governor Napolitano’s Central Regional Advisory Committee (R.A.C.), recommending homeland defense programs to the State Homeland Security Director, and was the Chairman of the 2005 AZDHS Director Susan Gerard search committee for Governor Napolitano.  In 2007, Governor Napolitano also appointed Brian to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board of Trustees.  He was re-appointed by Governor Brewer and Governor Ducey and served as Chairman of the Board for eight years.


Having been promoted to Phoenix Fire Captain in 1994, he followed that up by completing his A.A.S. Degree from Phoenix College in 1995. Brian went on to complete his bachelor’s degree at the National Labor College in 2001 graduating Summa Cum Laude.  In the winter of 2002, Brian was invited to attend the Harvard University Trade Union Program in Cambridge Massachusetts. There, the students were put on a steady diet of course work and lectures presented by the top Professors at Harvard Law, Business and Economics as well as national authors and authorities of a variety of areas that affect labor today.  He completed his master’s degree in Legal and Ethical Studies at the University of Baltimore Program on campus at the George Meany Center in Silver Spring, Maryland in June 2004.  Brian completed the Institute for Public Executives, the Certified Public Manager Program and the Management and Leadership Institute at the ASU College of Public Programs.  Brian was promoted to Phoenix Fire Battalion Chief in 2004, Division Chief in 2006, Deputy Chief in 2007 and Assistant Fire Chief in 2018.  He retired as the Assistant Chief of Operations in June 2019 after 36 years of distinguished service and received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner and the Department he loved so much.


In February 2020 Brian was honored to be appointed as the Fire Chief of the Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical Department, a position he currently holds.


Brian continues to be a cornerstone of the Arizona Firefighters ability to have a continuing positive impact on our state, cities, fire districts, our fire departments, our members and their families and the communities they serve.


Brian is a single parent to two amazing children, Ceilli (19) and Eoin (15). His greatest gifts of all!

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