East Fork welcomes a dozen new firefighters | RecordCourier.com

East Fork welcomes a dozen new firefighters

Staff Reports

A dozen new East Fork firefighters will receive their assignments Monday after completing a 12-week training course. It is the largest contingent of new recruits in the district's history, Chief Tod Carlini said.

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."

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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.

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