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Fire chief’s report | Guest column

March 7, 2013 · Updated 2:20 PM
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Chief Kevin O'Brien / Cali Bagby/ Staff photo

by Chief Kevin O’Brien

We assisted an ill adult female who required transport to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham on Jan. 30. Due to weather conditions, there was no aeromedical transport available. OIFR was able to secure marine transport to the Bellingham area via a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol vessel.

On Feb. 5, we assisted an adult female who had been involved in a significant motor vehicle accident in the area of Raccoon Point. The patient was transferred to Airlift Northwest and transported to St. Joseph’s.

Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Captain Bob Nutt was driving by the Orcas Transfer Station in an OIFR tanker truck and noticed smoke and flames coming from the Exchange complex on Feb. 9. Nutt called for additional help and began firefighting operations.  Forty-five OIFR members and ten units responded to the incident that lasted over five hours. Water for the fire was transported by OIFR tenders from a pond one half mile away from the fire. The cause of the fire was accidental.

OIFR hosted a “town hall” meeting on Jan. 9 to ask the public about possible involvement in a Marine Operations User’s Group. We will be hosting a second meeting on Thursday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Eastsound Fire Hall.

Promotions & Awards

Promotions made for volunteer lieutenant:

Lieutenant 21, George Schermerhorn

Lieutenant 22, Ian Wareham

Lieutenant 24, Alan Stameisen

Lieutenant 27, Ted McKey

Jim Schuh received a provisional appointment to Eastside Captain 23. Jim stepped up to help OIFR fill a key position until such time as we are able to conduct an examination process.

We celebrated our annual awards banquet at Camp Orkila to recognize and show appreciation for all member of OIFR. The following are the award recipients for 2012:

Healthy Responder: Jessica Haug

Service Behind the Scene:  Pat Ayers, Dwight Guss,  and the Auxiliary Team

Most Inspirational of the Year: Rita Harvey, Kevin O’Brien

Above and Beyond: Critical Incident Stress Management Team

EMS Provider of the Year: Bob Phalan and Alan Stameisen

The Golden Hour: Gulliver Rankin

Reliable Responder: Liam Nutt

Officer of the Year: Bob Nutt

Fire Service Provider of the Year: Cameron Fralick, George Schermerhorn

Station of the Year: Search and Rescue Division/Lt Rich Harvey

Member/Volunteer of the Year: Ted McKey

Medical Program Director Award: Gulliver Rankin

Citizen of the Year: Rick Doty, Long Live the Kings Volunteers, Jim and Kathy Youngren

The Heritage Club: Rick Anda, Maxx Jones

The Maxx: Rita Harvey

Service Award: Lindsay Schirmer,

The Chiefs Award: Rick Anda

Service Recognition

Five years: Jack Delisle, Ted McKey

10 years: Chad Kimple, Paul Turner

15 years: Maria Nutt, Bob Phalan, Clyde Duke

20 years: Bob Nutt, Perry Pruett, Mik Preysz

25 years: Val Harris, Rita Harvey

30 years: Dave Mowrey

Other news

Staff visited the children at the Funhouse Commons after-school program and gave a presentation on fire safety and taught the kids how to use fire extinguishers.

Staff assisted Orcas Island Elementary School in the delivery of a hand-washing program designed to prevent the spread of illness. The program focused on teaching kids the importance and practice of sanitary hand washing.

Chief O’Brien, his wife, Orcas Elementary School Counselor Nancy O’Brien, and member James Scheib were part of a community workgroup who met to reach a consensus on what improvements to local practices and attitudes we can make to lower the risk of an event occurring on Orcas Island similar to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Members attended a regional pediatric medical conference in Bellingham. Staff met with Orcas Senior Center Director Marla Blevins-Johns to discuss a cooperative effort to assist seniors in need of assistance.

Contract negotiations have begun with the firefighter paramedic’s union. OIFR continues training of our 23 new recruits with recent ladder and ventilation drills in Friday Harbor and pump operation training at the Eastsound Fire Hall.

Special thanks to Captain Jeff Larsen for his service with OIFR. Due to personal career changes, Larsen has requested to change his employment status from fulltime paramedic/duty officer to per diem (“relief”) status.

On April 27, OIFR will be hosting a memorial service for esteemed, retired Battalion Chief John Cavalli.

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