Geiger announced as new East Alabama Fire District chief

Published 5:40 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

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When the fire chief position opened in October, East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District General Manager Tony Segrest began the evaluation process for naming a new chief to replace outgoing chief Kerry Pickard.

“First of all, I just evaluate my own current staff,” Segrest said. “More than anything, I was looking at my current staff, and their history and decided to stay in-house.”

Segrest said he wanted someone who would be stable and district-oriented, and he hoped to find someone local.

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“I was hoping to keep someone as local as I possibly could,” Segrest said. “I think it’s best for the area and for the people of Chambers County and the city of Valley.”

Segrest landed on then-Deputy Fire Chief Jacob Geiger with those criteria in mind. Geiger is a native of Beulah and began volunteering in April of 2007 in Beulah.

“I enjoyed the fire department thing, but I kind of was leaning toward law enforcement,” Geiger said. “I just stuck with the fire service, and I’ve been blessed with it.”

Before joining EAFD, Geiger served as fire chief in Beulah for four years and hoped one day he would be able to serve that role with EAFD.

That time came sooner than he thought and said he had two options if he wanted to become a chief again – uproot his family or remain patient. He chose the latter, and as of Jan.1, that decision has him back in the chief seat.

Although he is the department’s face, he describes himself as just a “stagehand.”

“I’m not those guys out there [in the fire station],” Geiger said. “They’re the rock stars. They’re the band. They’re the ones that are going out and performing for the citizens. My goal is to remain the stagehand and make sure they have the right equipment in the right place, working where they need it to be, be tuned up and ready to go, so they can continue to perform an excellent service.”

Geiger’s goals for the department are to utilize the training center more, have a lot more advanced training and help his team grow internally.

Along with continued training, whether at the training center in Valley or other opportunities across the state, Geiger says he wants the department to be community-oriented and more involved in the community.

“If there is one thing we want the community to know, as a department, we’re here, and we’re approachable,” he said. “There are a lot of our people, myself included — I would love nothing more to be on a first-name basis with a lot of people in the community.

To do so, Geiger wants to have an open line of communication.

“The biggest thing is, for the community, is that line of communication is always open,” he said. “You know, if someone from the community wants to talk to the fire chief, then let’s call. Because, I want the community to know how great of a department they do have, how fortunate they are to have some of the people they have protecting them.”

Segrest says he feels Geiger will take the department in the direction it needs to go.

“I’m excited about Chief Geiger and his future,” Segrest said. “He’s very bright, he’s got a strong work ethic, and I feel like he’ll take the department, lead in the direction it needs to go.”