Exceptional Service Award: Celebrating Dave Atkinson's dedication and leadership

Published on June 7, 2023

Placer County Office of Emergency Services Assistant Director Dave AtkinsonDave Atkinson, assistant director of the Placer County Office of Emergency Services, has been honored with the Exceptional Service Award from the California Emergency Services Association.

The award recognizes Dave's outstanding performance during response and recovery efforts in the face of numerous emergencies over the past year.

"I am deeply humbled and grateful to receive the award,” said Dave Atkinson. “This recognition is a testament to the dedicated efforts of our partners and the entire team at the Placer County Office of Emergency Services. Together, we have strived tirelessly to serve and protect our community during times of crisis.”

Dave has managed five major disasters in Placer County, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the River Fire, the 2021 winter storms, the Mosquito Fire, and the 2022 winter storms. 

Since stepping into this role he has worked tirelessly alongside operational area partners to ensure the safety and well-being of the county's citizens.

“We applaud Dave Atkinson's exceptional service, unwavering commitment to teamwork with Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Cal Fire/Placer County Fire, and all the first responders in the county,” said Placer County Deputy Executive Officer Bekki Riggan. “His tireless efforts have made a significant impact on the safety and well-being of our community. Join us in congratulating Dave on this well-deserved recognition.”

In 2021, Dave led the EOC during the River Fire in Colfax simultaneously with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He also collaborated with operational area partners to monitor debris flows during the October atmospheric river event, and coordinated efforts with our Health and Human Services Department and the City of Colfax during the winter storms to establish warming centers and provide generators to small utility districts, ensuring continued water delivery to residents.

In 2022 Dave activated the EOC at level 1 during the Mosquito Fire, the largest wildfire in Placer County’s history, and then directed EOC operations during severe winter storms, just two months later.

In addition to his role as EOC director, Dave has been a member of Placer County Sheriff’s Office’s volunteer Search and Rescue for over 12 years. 

Dave's dedication extends beyond Placer County, as he actively contributes to Team Rubicon, a veteran-led humanitarian organization, serving on its planning team to organize clean-up operations for residents affected by recent fires and storms.