Published 2:37 pm Saturday, March 30, 2024

Fire Captain and paramedic Jabaris McDaniel of the Vicksburg Fire Department (VFD) is enthusiastic about his career. In
May he will have been with the department for eight years.

McDaniel was born and raised in Vicksburg and has a wife and five children.

“I started having kids early,” McDaniel said. “When I was having my second child I was 18 years old. I was like ‘I need to do
something with myself.’”

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For a few years, McDaniel made a living as a welder. When he turned 21, the minimum age for firefighters, he tried out. At 22, he was in the department.

First, he trained in EMT school, then got his firefighting certification, known as a NFPA 1001.

Next, he became certified as a paramedic. He now also works as a registered nurse at Merit Health River Region.

One benefit of working at VFD, McDaniel said, is the wide variety of colleagues he gets to work with.

“You’ve got plumbers, you’ve got welders, electricians, you’ve got other nurses,” he said. “You’re really learning a lot.”

Meeting people from different walks of life has been an inspiration, McDaniel said.

“When you’re in the ambulance, you go to the hospital a lot. So you see a lot of nurses and doctors. So you start to see that you can achieve these things,” he said, “And then I think the more you’re around it, the more you believe that you can do it.”

McDaniel is also enthusiastic about what the fire department can do for new recruits.

“It’s really a land of opportunity,” McDaniel said. He cited great benefits and retirement packages as positive aspects of the job.

“I can retire when I’m 52 years old,” he said.

McDaniel is enthusiastic when it comes to recommending the fire department as a career path for young people.

“Even when I go out to Walmart, when I go to fast food places, go out to the gym, any time I see a young person, male or female, I recommend it to them,” McDaniel said. “I try my best just to get them to see the light.”

McDaniel said he welcomes anyone to come to the fire station to learn more about a career with VFD.

“I think we got a wonderful thing going with the administration, from Chief Stamps to the deputy chief on down to the captain
level, you know?” he said. “And I’m just trying to pass it on.”