One fire chief steps down, another sworn in on Wednesday

JACKSON, Tenn. — The City of Jackson celebrated the retirement of one fire chief and the swearing in of a new one.

Wednesday, the City of Jackson held a ceremony to celebrate the career of Darryl Samuels as fire chief, while also celebrating the swearing in of the new chief, Don Friddle.

Samuels enjoyed a long career of service to the public at the fire department. Thinking back on his career, Samuels said he is most proud of the upgrades and progress the department has made since he began working in 1975.

“Starting out in 1975, we were riding the tailgate of firetrucks, or fire apparatus at that particular time. Now we’re riding in four door cabs, four man cabs,” Samuels said.

Along with his retirement, Samuels was also given a key to the city by Mayor Scott Conger. Friddle is taking over for Samuels. Friddle has more than 30 years of firefighting experience.

“We’re here for the public and we want to give them the best service that they can possibly get. My job is simply to take care of our firefighters. And when we have firefighters that are taken care of, they have the equipment, they have the training, and all the health needs met, then they can truly take care of the community the way that the community deserves,” Friddle said.

Friddle says one of the main things that he wants to focus on is the health and safety of the firefighters.

He says that he is a true believer in good mental health, and that over time, firefighters can begin to collect cumulative trauma.

“My goal is to be able to provide resources to where they can help to deal with those issues. Sometimes when we’re dealing with cumulative trauma incidents, we don’t know ourselves that were dealing with it. But some of our relatives or our friends may see it in us,” Friddle said.

Friddle says he is fortunate and blessed to have Conger and the city council backing him.

Samuels says he plans to take a few weeks off and then go back to consulting between the fire department, central dispatch, and the police department. He says or help out at his friend’s funeral home.

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