Fort Lauderdale’s First Female Fire Chief
Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Rhoda Mae Kerr is leaving her job as fire chief of the City of Austin to become the city of Fort Lauderdale’s first female fire chief in the 106-year history of the department, the city announced Wednesday afternoon.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl, who has served in the position since 2013, is retiring. Kerr will begin to lead the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Department’s staff of 450 firefighters and administrative personnel July 1.
Kerr was also the first woman to be elected president and chair of the board of directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) in the association’s 142-year history. She was elected in 2015.
Kerr, a fourth-generation firefighter, was a coach and physical education teacher for 12 years before becoming a Fort Lauderdale firefighter in 1983. She also worked as a driver and engineer, and was promoted to lieutenant, battalion chief and division chief.