SUMMERDALE — The City of Summerdale selected Michael Aaron as its new fire chief after serving for one year as a deputy fire chief and fire marshal. Aaron started his career as a firefighter in …
SUMMERDALE — The City of Summerdale selected Michael Aaron as its new fire chief after serving for one year as a deputy fire chief and fire marshal.
Aaron started his career as a firefighter in 1994 as a junior firefighter with Escambia County Fire and Rescue.
During his high school years, Aaron and his best friend, Chris Bishop, called their local fire department and asked if they could volunteer. Upon calling, they were informed of a junior firefighter program and quickly made the decision to join.
“During these next few years after experiencing numerous calls for service, we both knew this was something we wanted to do for the rest of our lives,” Aaron said.
In October 2022, Aaron was selected to be the first paid fire employee for the Town of Summerdale Fire Department.
The fire chief noted there have been noticeable changes within the past year at the fire department.
“Over the past year, we’ve made a lot of changes with the goal of growing the fire department and providing a better service to the community,” he said. “We increased our volunteer staffing levels; we implemented duty crews (duty crews are where volunteer firefighters staff the fire station like paid firefighters do to help provide a faster response time); we broke ground on our new fire department property; we hired a full-time fire department secretary; we hired our first paid part time firefighters.”
Since becoming the Summerdale fire chief, Aaron created a list of goals he hopes to meet.
“My immediate goal, as one of the fastest-growing towns in the state of Alabama, is to find funding sources to help us grow as the community is rapidly growing,” he said. “We are in need of newer apparatus and equipment to be able to provide the needed services that the community expects.”
Aaron also noted that fostering strong relationships with other emergency response agencies and local government officials is crucial for providing the community with the best service possible.
“We can’t do this alone, we have to rely on our surrounding fire departments and other agencies in order to provide the best service possible,” he said. “We’ve entered into multiple mutual aid agreements and continue to meet with more surrounding fire chiefs to this day. My main goal and purpose is to be able to provide the best service possible and send the closest resources to mitigate the emergency.”
The Summerdale Fire Department has formed a relationship with Medstar Ambulance Service, Summerdale Police Department, Baldwin County 911, Baldwin County EMA and other local government agencies and business owners.
Along with a new fire chief, Jamie Hinton was selected to be the new deputy fire chief.
“Chief Hinton has a long history with deep roots throughout Baldwin County in the public safety arena,” Aaron said. “He served as the first paid fire chief for the city of Foley Fire Department and had many other leadership roles throughout Baldwin County over the years. Chief Hinton is well known and respected throughout Baldwin County, and we’re lucky to have him on our team.”
With Hinton, Reed Moss was promoted to assistant fire chief. Moss served several years in the United States Coast Guard active duty as well as the Department of Defense as a fire officer. Kayla Hatcher was hired full-time to serve as the new full-time fire department secretary as the fire department prepares for the new fire station being built at the corner of County Road 32 and County Road 73.
The new fire chief explained that he is excited to see what the future holds for Summerdale.
“Summerdale also has a unique opportunity to shape what the future of Summerdale looks like, as we have a lot of land for sale to include residential, business and industrial,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what this looks like and a one in a lifetime experience for me as the Fire Chief and Fire Marshal to be a part of building the community.”