Serving the Community: Firefighter Deitrick Sims, Summerville Fire Department
Deitrick Sims, 32, of North Charleston came to firefighting by way of teaching.
He grew up in Atlanta, graduated from Sumter High School, graduated from Central State University in Dayton, OH with a Bachelor’s degree in English. In fact, although he had a graduate assistantship and was working on his Master’s Degree, he left it all for love.
“Allison was in college at the University of Charleston,” he explains, “so I left school and came here.”
So he taught middle school – seventh and eighth grade – at Scott’s Branch Middle School outside of Sumter.
It was a hefty commute of 50 miles each way…he and his wife live in North Charleston.
“A friend, Cpt. Seabrook, works for Charleston and we talked and he showed me the opportunities for firefighting and how firefighting matched my skill set,” he explains.
So he left teaching, and went to Charleston Fore Department and began training. He was with CFD for six months.
A month ago, he accepted a job with Summerville Fire Department.
“I miss teaching a little bit,” says Sims, “but I am very comfortable and very happy here – I like having an impact on the community, helping to save lives, and so forth.”
“I think when people know we are there to help them and their families, it makes a difference. We impact the community in myriad ways and it’s huge.”
Sims has trained for EMT, haz-mat ops, he is an Incident Safety Officer, has had Emergency Vehicle Driver Training, National Incident Management Systems – Incident Command Systems training as well as training in building construction and PICO.
He rides backwards behind the captain. Depending on when his truck arrives at a fire (and what kind of fire it is) he might pull lines [hoses] or maybe be on the RIT [Rapid Intervention Team] team.
“Every scenario is based on the structure and what we find when we arrive,” he explains.
When he isn’t working, he is busy with his family, his wife and two little girls – Jordyn, 2, and Zoey, 1.
His wife is a massage therapist with the Center for Therapeutic Massage and an impressive client list – U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and the World Tennis Association Family Circle Cup as well as several corporations.
At home he likes doing yard work, coaching basketball – he is the varsity coach at Porter Gaud School in Charleston – studying (he is still on probation at SFD so he has lots of studying to do), fishing (he eats them) and reading a wide range of fiction, nonfiction and articles.
He also plays football Saturday mornings with the pastor of Faith Assembly in Summerville.
But his favorite pastime is cooking…from scratch.
He cooks at home and he cooks at the firehouse.
“I make meals at the station and the guys critique them…we’ve had some really good meals!”
He also will go out in the community – to rec centers – and talk with youth, he says.
“I try to be a role model, help kids with decisions and making good choices. He works with his church fellowship helping kids with challenging backgrounds, he says.
One day, he says, he might like to become a Battalion Chief and, on the way to that, an engineer and captain.
“But first, I want to become seasoned and respected by my peers, then I want to carry on the legacy of the great guys I work with.”