Veteran John Tull is named Salisbury Fire Chief

Assistant Salisbury Fire Chief John Tull has been named the new Fire Chief, replacing Rick Hoppes.

Tull, who has 26 years of experience with the city department, was chosen from about 40 applicants and confirmed by City Council members during a special session on Monday, said Council President Jack Heath.

“I’ve known John for quite awhile and he’s an excellent choice. I’m extremely pleased we found an internal candidate. It sends a very strong message concerning our succession planning,” Heath said.

Tull was chosen after the applicants were narrowed down to three. In the city’s ad for fire chief, the salary range was advertised as $89,655 to $98,986.

Tull couldn’t be reached for comment, but Mayor Jake Day’s office issued a news release stating Tull is a Salisbury native and 1990 graduate of Wicomico High School.

“Deputy Chief Tull has been a tremendous asset to us for a long, long time now,” Day said.

“I have no doubt that he will serve our citizens in his new role as he has always served them, selflessly, and with honor. It is my pleasure to announce John Tull as the city’s new fire chief.”

In the news release, Tull stated that he is “humbled by this opportunity to serve as the next chief of the Salisbury Fire Department.”

“It is truly an honor beyond measure.  I am excited to start this new chapter, working with the tremendous men and women within the department to continue providing the highest possible level of public safety to our community,” he said.

A recipient of the Maryland Governor’s Citation & Senate Resolution, and the Maryland Star of Life Award, Tull lives in Salisbury with his wife, Beverly, son, Justin and daughter, Natalie.

Tull earned an associate of applied science degree in Emergency Medical Services from Wor-Wic Community College and Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University.

He began his career as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician and worked up to engine lieutenant, training captain, engine captain, assistant fire chief and deputy fire chief.

Tull is also an emergency services instructor at the University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.

He is both Maryland and nationally certified as a Fire Fighter II, Fire Officer IV, Registered Paramedic and Fire Instructor III.  He is Maryland and nationally certified in multiple special operations disciplines including hazardous materials technician, confined space rescue technician, trench rescue technician and rope rescue technician.

Hoppes, 54, retired in April after 33 years in the department. He was acting chief from 2009 to 2011 and again from 2012 to January of 2013, when he was appointed chief.

The joy of the job, he told the Salisbury Independent, is “fighting different fires every day in the chief’s office.”

“Part of it is being a firefighter and emergency medical technician for so long, you get in the business of serving folks. In those capacities you directly serve Mr. and Mrs. Smith and that’s the rewarding part of the job.

“In the chief’s office, the rewarding part of the job is making sure the folks who are physically serving Mr. and Mrs. Smith have all the tools and resources necessary to do their jobs and planning to make sure everyone is kept safe. It’s a different challenge,” he said.

“Not many people get to say these words, but I have truly loved coming to work each and every day,” Hoppes said.

Comprising 73 career employees and 120 volunteer members, the fire department covers 48 square miles and is organized into the sections of administration, operations and fire and life safety-prevention.

Services are provided from three fire stations and one headquarters. Equipment includes five engines, two quints, one aerial tower, a heavy rescue, two brush units, five specialty units, six ambulances, a fire suppression rescue boat and fleet of support vehicles.

In 2017, the department responded to 13,440 calls for service including 3,516 fire and 9,924 emergency medical service calls.


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