Orcas Island Fire and Rescue – Neighbors Serving Neighbors
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue provides vital services to our community and is an integral part of island life. They provide a 24-hour emergency medical response with four paramedics and a volunteer staff of nearly 70 all hazard responders.
The central Headquarters Station is located in Eastsound and there are six additional strategically-located satellite stations which provide an all-hazard emergency response as well as community services of many kinds.
The most recent Fire and Rescue Update is listed below; for more information, please visit orcasfire.org.
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Supresses Wildland Fire Near Mountain Lake
At 6:27 a.m. on Friday, July 3, Orcas Island Fire and Rescue responded to a report of a wildland fire in the area of Mountain Lake. Responding crews found a small vegetation fire approximately 40 feet x 30 feet. An immediate response from more than 25 personnel and eight apparatus helped to quickly secure and suppress the fire scene. Moran State Park crews will be monitoring the area for a minimum of seven days. There will also be signs posted in the area for hikers to be on lookout for area hot spots.
The exact cause of the fire is human caused, likely from cigarette butts. Preliminary reports indicate this was a fire in the forest duff. Duff is the layer of decaying forest litter consisting of organic material such as pine needles, leaves, plant and tree materials covering the mineral soil. Orcas Island Fire & Rescue takes this opportunity to remind the public that there is a full burn ban in effect issued by Department of Natural Resources for all State Parks. Due to our hot dry weather, fire danger is unusually high and the public is urged to use extreme caution with all flammable materials.
OIFR Responds to Wildland Fire on Turtleback Mountain
OIFR responded to a Wildland Fire on Sunday, June 21 at 3:12 p.m. in the area of 1550 Crow Valley Road. Access was very difficult, through 350’ of steep terrain covered by thick vegetation with an abundance of trees. The area affected by the fire was approximately 100’ x 30’ and was contained and extinguished by using approximately 3,000 gallons of water. Crews dug a fire line around the fire and utilized chain saws, hand tools to extinguish stumps, root systems and expose potential hot spots.
The origin of the fire was determined to be a campfire, prepared correctly but unfortunately on top of foliage and duff, which is hard to recognize and has the tenacity to smolder and travel underground, coming to the surface at a different location and starting the fire. More than likely, this event started with the duff and root system underneath the campfire, traveled underground, probably for several days, surfacing on Sunday and igniting the vegetation.
OIFR had 26 members respond with 11 apparatus and three utility vehicles in response to the wildland fire. Crow Valley Road had to be closed, as the equipment could not park anywhere other than the road for a period of approximately three hours.
Monitoring of the burn site will continue through OIFR as well as the Land Bank (Firefighter/EMT Dean Dougherty) for at least the next week, to make sure that no hot spots show up to reignite the area.
OIFR thanks the support of the SJC Sheriff’s office, the Land Bank, specifically Dean Dougherty who fought the fire as an OIFR member and representative of the land bank. In addition, OIFR wishes to recognize the hard fought campaign by its volunteers in mitigating a potentially disastrous wildland fire on Turtleback Mountain.
– Mik Preysz, OIFR Chief
Fire Chief’s Report
January 1 – January 31, 2015
|DECEMBER 2014||JANUARY 2015||YEAR TO DATE|
|2014||1/1/14 – 1/31/14||86|
* Total service response for 2012 was 783 (14% Increase)
* Total service response for 2013 was 879 (12% Increase)
* Total service response for 2014 was 984 (11.9% Increase)
* Year to date increase from 2014 is -4.7%
* Percent of overlapping alarms for 2015 = 28.4%
* “Other Services” include Orcas Cares, Inspections, Public Service, Public Events
Fire Chief’s Goals and Priorities for 2014
- Execute the mission of OIFR through direction of the Board of Commissioners
- Improve and maintain fiscal accountability for all OIFR operations
- Provide positive leadership for OIFR and our community
- Improve reliability and performance for OIFR
- Execute the OIFR strategic plan
- Provide sound management and oversight for all operations, equipment, facilities, projects and programs for OIFR
- Maintain a high level of service delivery
o Improve operations through identifying efficiences
o Update all policy, procedures and guidelines
o Improve all communications (Radio, Interdepartmental, Community)
o Improve public programs
- Foster open and clear communications with the Orcas Island Community and our surrounding partners.
Structure Fire, Mutual Aid
January 1, 3:00 a.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue was requested by Shaw Island Fire Department to assist with a structure fire on Shaw Island. Four OIFR firefighters responded with a WASP fire engine and a water tender truck.
January 5, 2:00 p.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue responded to the Orcas Elementary School to evaluate a child with a history of asthma and difficulty breathing. After emergency medical treatment and consultation with the parents, the child was able to finish out the day at school without further problems.
Orcas Cares Program Assist
January 6, 1:00 p.m. An OIFR volunteer working through the CARES program provided a wellness check and needed assistance to an elderly Eastsound resident. Orcas CARES is a volunteer assistance program that helps seniors and others who require help and is sponsored by OIFR. Orcas CARES program partners include the Orcas Senior Center, Lahari, Orcas Lions, Hearts and Hands, and others.
January 6, 3:00 p.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue assisted an Eastsound woman who sustained a significant hip injury. The patient was treated for pain, splinted, and and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to Island Hospital in Anacortes via Island Air Ambulance.
Breathing Difficulty, Infection
January 8, 2:00 a.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue assisted an Orcas man with shortness of breath and a probable infection. Due to weather constraints, the patient was observed and emergency medical treatment continued for four hours until an OIFR ambulance was able to transport the patient to a mainland hospital via the first morning ferry.
January 9, 10:00 a.m. An Orcas Island resident with a sudden onset of chest pain was evaluated and treated by Orcas Island Fire and Rescue. The patient was transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to Skagit Valley Hospital in Mt. Vernon via Airlift Northwest.
January 12, 4:30 a.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue assisted a male with signs and symptoms of internal bleeding. The patient was treated and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to a hospital in Seattle by Airlift Northwest.
January 16, 1:00 a.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue responded to assist a man with complications of diabetes. The patient was treated and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.
Decreased Level of Conciousness
January 18, 2:00 a.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue responded to a report of an unconscious person. After the paramedic and EMTs arrived and evaluated the patient, it was determined that the probable cause of the problem was a medication reaction. The patient’s condition stabilized and the patient was able to remain at home with family.
Fall With Complications
January 21, 10:30 a.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue assisted an adult patient who had fallen and displayed other medical complications. The patient was treated and transported to a local physician’s office by OIFR ambulance where it was determined that additional care was required. Orcas CARES volunteers were able to provide assistance until the patient could be transported to Peace Island Hospital in Friday Harbor by OIFR volunteers.
Possible Propane Gas Leak
January 21, 4:00 p.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue responded to the report of a propane odor inside a residence. Firefighters arrived and investigated the situation. It was determined that there was no hazard and the residents returned to their home.
January 23, 2015, 11:40 a.m., Orcas Island Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a home on Pine Ridge Drive in the White Beach neighborhood for the report of a structure fire. The homeowner was on location and reported the fire had started around the vicinity of the wood stove that was in operation. Firefighters arrived to find an approximate 2000 square foot detached shop structure fully involved in flames. Twenty-five OIFR members and ten fire and aid vehicles responded. Due to the narrow, wooded road conditions, an OIFR SUV was put to use hauling personnel and equipment to the fire scene. Through the hard work of the responders, the fire was quickly brought under control. Due to the building construction and the nature of the contents, an excavator from Orcas Construction Company assisted in fully extinguishing the fire. There were no injuries to civilians or responders and the incident was deemed to be accidental in nature.
January 26, 7:00 p.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue was called by a physician at the Orcas Medical Center to assist in the care of a woman who had lost a significant amount of blood. Due to poor weather, air evacuation was not possible and OIFR volunteers and a paramedic transported the woman to Island Hospital in Anacortes in stable condition by ambulance via a Washington State Ferry.
January 27, 11:00 a.m. Orcas Island Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a local physician’s office to assist a patient with possible neurologic issue. The patient was treated and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.
News and Events
Special thanks to Patricia Ayers who has transitioned from her assignment as the OIFR Administrative Services Manager and will serve as the Secretary of the Board of Fire Commissioners. Pat has been a long-time volunteer EMT and Rescue responder and began as a part-time employee in 2013. We are fortunate to have Pat on our team!
With two administrative positions open by the transitions of Lindsay Schirmer and Patricia Ayers, OIFR has hired Mary Tanner as our Administrative Assistant for Financial Services and Jana Webb as our Administrative Assistant for Human Resources. Mary is a long-time island resident with many friends and deep roots on Orcas. She will make a great member of our team. Jana recently relocated to Orcas with her family, Orcas School Superintendent Eric Webb, and their son McCabe, a 9th Grader, and their daughter Mesa, a freshman at Western Washington University. Welcome to Mary and Jana!
Washington State Fire Training Academy
Maintenance Technician/Responder Seth Ybarra is attending the Washington State Fire Training Academy in North Bend, Washington. The 12-week program provides comprehensive instruction in the fundamental skills of firefighting and rescue. Seth is scheduled to graduate on April 17, 2015 with an IFSAC Firefighter II credential that is essential for all career firefighters.
Assistance to Firefighters Grant
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue has made an “Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG)” request for the replacement of Firefighting Turnout Gear (Helmets, Coats, Pants, Boots, Gloves), Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs), an air supply trailer, and thermal imaging cameras (TICs). AFGs are administered by FEMA/Homeland Security and are geared toward improving effectiveness of emergency response. We should receive a decision in late spring of 2015.
Washington State Senate Bill 5346
OIFR Staff, the Washington Fire Chief’s Association, and the Washington State Council of Firefighters have been working to support the good work of Washington State Senator and Orcas resident Kevin Ranker in his sponsorship of Senate Bill 5346. Creation of the bill was inspired by the events of the San Juan County Telecommunications Outage of 2013 and will direct medical alert companies to share the contact information of their subscribers with emergency responders like fire, EMS, and law enforcement agencies in the event of an emergency.
OIFR is Seeking Volunteer EMTs, Firefighters, and Administrative Help
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue is currently recruiting EMTs to fill a class targeted for the fall of 2015 and firefighters for a class scheduled in the winter of 2016. We are also seeking help with light administrative tasks. If you are interested, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Mindy Kayl at [email protected] or call 376-2331.