DeKalb Fire Chief Named Georgia Chief of the Year

Dekalb County

DeKalb County Fire Chief Darnell Fullum has been named 2023 Fire Chief of the Year by the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said, “Chief Fullum embodies the spirit of public service and servant leadership, and he has guided the transformation of DeKalb County Fire Rescue (DCFR) to meet the ever-changing needs of our community.”

“I share this honor with the brave and dedicated men and women of DeKalb County Fire Rescue who serve our residents every day,” Chief Fullum said. “It is an honor to have been recognized by my peers across the state.”

Since 2017, Chief Fullum has:

  • Championed better pay for DCFR. In April 2023, after a series of pay raises during the past few years, the starting salary for new firefighter recruits became one of the highest among large local governments in the state.
  • Used $2 million in SPLOST funding to design and develop a fleet of 10 new rapid response vehicles to alleviate some of the overuse of other larger DCFR units. This strategy has led to reductions in fuel consumption, wear on apparatus and equipment, and, most importantly, reductions in crew fatigue that have resulted in improvements to morale.
  • Led the efforts to allocate another $44 million to replace four existing fire stations, construct two new fire stations, and repair other stations.
  • Upgraded the DCFR radio communications system using $1.5 million in SPLOST funding.
  • Oversaw efforts that increased DCFR’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating from a Class 3 department to a Class 2, resulting in lower insurance rates countywide.
  • Been a leader in DeKalb’s multiple large-scale efforts to provide vaccinations against COVID-19 and monthly efforts over the last three years to address pandemic-related food insecurities. DCFR has helped to administer approximately 15,000 vaccinations and distribute 130,000 boxes of food.

Chief Fullum began as DeKalb’s fire chief in 2014.