It is an honor to serve as the Fire Chief of Douglas County Fire District #5. I have served this department and community since I was 18 years old, starting my initial EMT and firefighter training while I was still in high school. Entering my 25th year in the Fire Service, I am humbled to have served as Fire Chief since 2004.
Our district had evolved immensely over the years, from the expanded response area to the vast upgrade of apparatus and equipment. Our fire district comprises of approximately 520 square miles, reaching from the cliffs of Banks Lake to the shoreline of the Columbia River. We also serve the Town of Mansfield. Today we currently have 28 volunteers. Of those 28 volunteers, 9 also maintain their EMT certifications for medical responses. There is a clear reflection of the dedication and commitment shown by the volunteers of Douglas County Fire District #5. They are an extraordinary group of men and women who are willing to put in the time and effort to develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities to assist their community when the need arises. Our volunteers currently respond to approximately 100 calls per year.
We continue to try and meet the ever-changing demands of the fire service through our training and infrastructure upgrades. In 2010 we were fortunate to pass a Bond Measure which helped purchase new apparatus and make critical repairs to our main station. In 2019, our voters overwhelmingly supported a Levy Lid Lift Measure which helped raise the yearly tax collection amount our district receives through property tax assessments, which is our main funding source. We have and continue to aggressively apply for several different grant opportunities to also help support major apparatus and equipment needs.
Challenges we still face is the need for more volunteer firefighters and EMT’s and the need for expanded apparatus storage facilities in the future. It is important to remember that our volunteers take time away from family and friends to ensure that they are prepared to respond to the next alarm. This could be their house or their neighbors, family business and so on. This fast-fading tradition of serving the community in which you live only to provide safety is fast going to the wayside.
We are passionate about partnering with you to help protect what you value most. We are proud to be the ones who you call when you need someone the most. I offer my sincere thanks to the community for supporting us and to those who make the choice to volunteer for our department.