News Release

Town of Hilton Head Island Logo

Town to Host Swearing-in Ceremony for New Fire Rescue Chief Chris Blankenship

September 14, 2022

The Town of Hilton Head Island today announced Chris Blankenship as its new Fire Rescue Chief. He will be formally sworn into the position at 10 am Friday, September 16, at Fire Station 1 in Shipyard, where he began his career more than 20 years ago.

"It is my pleasure to promote Chief Blankenship to this esteemed position within our organization and our community. He has worked under many great chiefs and climbed up the ranks to now lead the men and women who serve in our Fire Rescue department," said Town Manager Marc Orlando. "Chris is well respected for his leadership, his knowledge, and his dedication. I’m proud that he has achieved this level of leadership in his career, and I know he will continue to serve our community well."

Blankenship will fill the role most recently held by Chief Brad Tadlock, who served in the department for 34 years, including eight as chief. He announced his retirement in August.

"I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as chief and continue to work alongside a very dedicated, caring, and experienced team of first responders. I appreciate the support they have provided me in my prior roles," Blankenship said. "We have a great department and I look forward to making it even better."

As Fire Rescue Chief, Blankenship will provide executive level leadership and strategic direction for Town's Fire Rescue Department, including fire, emergency medical services, community risk reduction, safety and professional development, data collection, 911 communications operations, fleet maintenance, and emergency management programs and services.

Blankenship first came to Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue as a college intern in 2001. After graduating from Eastern Kentucky University in May 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in fire administration, he was hired as a Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician for the Town's Fire Rescue Department. Shortly after, he graduated from the South Carolina Fire Academy. He earned his Master of Arts degree in organizational leadership from Waldorf University in May 2021.

During his tenure with the Town, Blankenship advanced through the ranks from his promotion as Senior Firefighter in 2004 to becoming a Captain in 2014. In 2018, he was named Deputy Chief of Operations. Blankenship is nationally certified as a Fire Officer I-IV and has received the designation of Fire Officer by the Commission on Professional Credentialing, a program of the Center for Public Service Excellence.  He is a certified Hazmat Technician and Rescue Technician and has been active on the Hilton Head / Bluffton Regional Hazardous Materials Team and Technical Rescue Team.

In recognition of his dedication and commitment to the Town’s Fire Rescue service, Blankenship earned a Letter of Commendation in 2011, received a Leadership Award in 2012 and was named Officer of the Year in 2015.

Carolyn Grant, Communications Director