Chief of Department - Jeanine Nicholson

Chief of Department

On May 6, 2019, Chief Jeanine “Neen” Nicholson was sworn in as the 26th Fire Chief of San Francisco.


Chief Nicholson began her career with the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) in January of 1994 as a Firefighter. Over the years, she has promoted through the ranks of Firefighter Paramedic, Lieutenant, Captain, and Battalion Chief.  She was appointed Deputy Chief of Administration in January 2018, where she oversaw a number of Divisions including Support Services, Training, Homeland Security, Human Resources, Investigative Services, and Assignment/Personnel Offices. 


Over her 24 years in operations, Chief Nicholson worked in every neighborhood in the city of San Francisco.  She has worked on engines, trucks and ambulances during that time.


Chief Nicholson sustained second degree burns at an arson fire in 2009, where five other firefighters were injured, one critically.  She is also a breast cancer survivor and served on the Board of the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation.  Due to these, and other experiences, she not only understands all the risks that firefighters face but has become a proponent of efforts to prevent cancer and other injuries among firefighters.


Chief Nicholson is a collaborative leader with a deep sense of respect and appreciation for all the members of the SFFD.  In addition to day-to-day operations, she is also focused on Firefighter Safety, Disaster Preparedness, Community Paramedicine, and Community Outreach.


Chief Nicholson has been committed to community service, both on and off the job. She taught for the SFFD’s NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team), has volunteered at Camp Blaze (a leadership and empowerment camp for young women learning firefighting skills), the San Francisco SPCA and other community organizations.


Chief Nicholson graduated from Colgate University in New York with a BA in Sociology and Anthropology. She lives in San Francisco with her dogs and cat.


Chief Jeanine R Nicholson