Oklahoma Christian grad named new Edmond fire chief

Jake Rhoades (photo from the Rogers Fire Department)
Jake Rhoades (photo from the Rogers Fire Department)

By Mark Schlachtenhaufen,
Courtesy of The Edmond Sun

EDMOND - An Oklahoma Christian University graduate is Edmond’s new fire chief, the city announced.

Jake Rhoades, whose resume includes 20 years of fire service experience, is expected to start Oct. 29, city officials said via a news release.

City Manager Larry Stevens said he had three good finalists and he chose Rhoades because he is the best fit for the future of the Edmond Fire Department, the city and the community.

“I look forward to getting him on board,” Stevens said.

Rhoades, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from OC in 2003, began his career with the Stillwater Fire Department where he was promoted to training officer during his 16 years there.

He served as assistant fire chief with Jenks Fire Rescue and as deputy fire chief with the Rogers Fire Department in Arkansas, where he has served since 2009.

He is currently the at-large director of the International Fire Chiefs Safety Health and Survival Section. The organization works to reduce the number of line of duty deaths and injuries in the fire service. He also is a principal member for the National Fire Protection Association technical committee on risk management.

His resume also includes obtaining designations from the Center of Public Safety Excellence as both a chief fire officer and chief medical officer. He has also served as the Arkansas state advocate for the “Everyone Goes Home” program, and has served as a regional trainer for the Firefighter Near Miss program.

Rhoades said he’s looking forward to serving as fire chief in a great organization. He said his plan is to be the hardest working person in the city for the citizens as well as the firefighters so the Fire Department will continue to provide the expected level of service for years to come.

In a previous report, Stevens said his decision was aided by a focus group that included citizens Martha Turner and Mike Roark. Also serving on the panel were City Attorney Steve Murdock, Police Chief Bob Ricks, Assistant City Manager Steve Commons, Public Safety Communications Director Matt Stillwell, Human Resources Director Anita Breen and Assistant Human Resources Director Lisa Goodpasture. Stevens said the original pool consisted of about 25 candidates.

Rhoades’ starting salary will be $111,017.52. The fire chief’s package will include a city issued vehicle, city business cell phone or cell phone allowance and a benefits package will be part of the deal, according to the city’s fire chief profile created to publicize the position opening.

Rhoades succeeds Gil Harryman, who served 35 years with the Edmond Fire Department. Harryman retired in June. Under the fire chief’s direction are the deputy fire chief and 112 sworn personnel of which 80 are emergency medical technicians, 32 are paramedics and five are administrative support personnel.