New face at volunteer fire department

Luc Rodarte, 19, recently completed all four phases of the training required by East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts and is the newest member of the Ruhenstroth Volunteer Fire Department.

"I never knew my grandfather but always heard stories from his friends or other fire chiefs that knew him," Rodarte said. "They'd talk about fighting fires and encourage me to become a firefighter. That's what first got me interested and after I got to go on my first fire, I was hooked. There is nothing like it (being a firefighter)."

Luc's grandfather, Luther Rodarte, was killed in a firestorm on Sept. 1, 1967, at the Sundance fire in northern Idaho when Luc's dad was six years old. Luc is following his own feeling that in a career choice "you have to do something for other people."

"Most of all, it is my faith in God driving me to want to do for other people," he said.

"The training captains are awesome but it (the training) is also pretty difficult. They really push you so you can remember what to do without thinking. I can't say enough about the people here. They have helped me so much to get to where I am right now and it doesn't cost you a dime. The chiefs come out to help you and everybody is into teaching."

Eventually Luc plans to attend the fire academy in Santa Maria, Calif., to become a firefighter, then on to become a paramedic. National statistics show that 80 percent of all calls are medical.

"That's where everyone (fire departments) is headed " to have paramedic-trained professional firefighters," Luc said. "Not sure if I want to go to a wildland or structure based specialty because I haven't had enough experience yet. East Fork is great for that because you do both. A lot of other places are strictly structure or wildland so I'm trying them both to find out what I like."

While in training, Luc was able to participate in a support capacity and do ride alongs with the paramedics as well as provide background support on fire scenes. Completing the training allows him to ride as a first responder on medical calls or as a firefighter, whichever the situation calls for. As first responders, the EMS-trained personnel can administer CPR, get vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respirations, etc.), operate the gurney and stabilize the patient before the paramedics arrive.

They may be asked to drive the ambulance to the hospital if the paramedics need to stay in the back with the patient. Each of the neighborhood volunteer fire departments have EMS-qualified personnel, but only four of the stations have ambulances staffed with firefighter/paramedics. The stations are evenly distributed throughout the county with one in Topaz Ranch Estates, one in the Gardnerville Ranchos, one in Indian Hills and two in Minden. There are also paramedics on call in the event that all ambulances are handling calls.

"It's hard to not get attached to some of the cases and I remember one while I was in EMS training," said Luc. "A young toddler had fallen out of a second story window and we had to stabilize her. She was crying and hysterical and I had to hold her down while they put the straps on her. I'll never forget that one."

Welcome to the department, Luc. Glad to have you on board.

If you'd like to know more about volunteering and training with EFFPD, go to

n To reach Gail Davis, e-mail or call 265-1947.


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