East Fork welcomes a dozen new firefighters
Those being pinned with promotions and assignments included:
Capt. Nick Summers
Capt. Roy Minor
Engineer Jeremy Chandler
Engineer Jeff May
Engineer Zac Pedersen
Engineer Kevin Repan
Engineer Chad Sheldrew
Engineer Adam Wennhold
Engineer Matt Smith
Engineer Dennis Cote
Engineer Torril Purvis
Engineer Steven Hara
Engineer Sky Dwinell
Engineer Michael Ierien
Firefighter/Paramedic Clint Loudenberg
Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy Hall
Fire Inspector Brook Enos
A dozen new firefighters officially joined the East Fork Fire Protection District in the single largest recruit class in district history.
“This is all pretty exciting for the organization and certainly needed as the district starts to experience the ‘retirement wave’ over the next few years,” said District Chief Tod Carlini.
The new recruits will fill five vacancies due to retirements and employee resignations over the past eight months. Seven of the positions are new positions, reflecting an increase in staffing and allowing the district to staff all four of its paramedic engines with a crew of three.
Carlini said three will be used to fill positions which would otherwise be filled by someone working overtime on an almost daily basis.
The new personnel will be assigned to one of three shifts effective on Monday. They are wrapping up their two-week orientation period since they were officially pinned on Dec. 21.
“East Fork has been facing an unprecedented challenge of staff vacancies due to retirements, employee resignations, and academy failures,” Carlini said. “Combined that with five to six long-term injury vacancies, the district has been short staffed by nine vacancies for several months.”
Even with the new recruits, Carlini said additional staffing will be required to deal with the district’s geography, area growth, demographics, and volunteer recruitment challenges.
Under the district’s revamped volunteer program, 28 people have been recruited and trained for logistical and wildland firefighting tasks.
“While the volunteer commitment is critical to the overall mission, the bottom line is that the district needs additional career staff,” Carlini said.
More than 200 people attended the badge-pinning ceremony at the CVIC Hall on Dec. 21. The district also recognized 16 employees who were promoted and a new fire inspector.
“I’m very proud of all those being promoted and that they each worked very hard to achieve that recognition,” Carlini said.
The recruits completed the 12-week regional academy.
Board President Bernard Curtis read the oath of office and conducted the swearing in portion of the ceremony.
Curtis was joined Board Secretary Barbara Griffin, and members Steve Mihelic and Kenneth Garber.