Howard Fire & Rescue Services Promotes First Black Woman to Chief Officer

Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) yesterday held a pinning ceremony for Battalion Chief/Paramedic Cerisa Speight, who becomes Howard County’s first Black woman chief officer.

“For more than a decade, Battalion Chief/Paramedic Speight has been a stand-out in our Department of Fire and Rescue Services,” said County Executive Ball. “Her recent rise to Battalion Chief is a testament to her incredible work and leadership in the department, and we’re hopeful that her success will continue to inspire many more to follow in her footsteps.”

According to a County press release:

Battalion Chief/Paramedic Speight has served with Howard County since 2009. As a rising star within the department, she furthered her education and training to become a member of the Special Operations Team, a Battalion Chief Aide, and an On-Call Public Information Officer before being promoted to Lieutenant. She again rose up the ranks and was promoted to Captain while achieving her Bachelor’s in business administration and is currently working on her MBA.

Speight has completed the Northern Virginia Fire and Rescue Leadership Development Institute and is currently in the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute. She has traveled to New Zealand as a presenter at the Women and Firefighting Australasia (WAFA) conference speaking on fire leadership and career development as well as the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (iWomen) conference. Battalion Chief/Paramedic Speight serves as President of the HCDFRS St. Florian’s Brigade, an affinity group for women in the fire service and is a member of the HCDFRS Phoenix Sentinels, an affinity group for Black firefighters. Speight serves on multiple fire and EMS committees within the department and is a new member of the Maryland Incident Management Team.

Visit the Howard County website for more information.