‘Serving with Compassion, Courage, Integrity’

WLFEA swears in new firefighters

Feb. 1, 2023 - Ten new firefighters were sworn in during the Jan. 26 Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority (WLFEA) meeting, with friends and family filling up the meeting room in Station 1 to celebrate those who dedicate their lives to providing emergency services to the Siuslaw community.

WLFEA Chief Michael Shick administered the oath to those who completed their Firefighter 1 training, who solemnly swore to do their duty for WLFEA to the best of their abilities, serve their officers with respect and loyalty and serve the citizens of the community with compassion, courage and integrity. 

The newly trained firefighters include:

Darrek Mullins 

Max Carlson 

Geri Brooks 

Alfred Johnson 

James Pearson 

Jack Freel 

Ethan Hack 

Hope Taylor 

Berenger Constantino 

Chris Millsap

Following the swearing in, the new firefighters had their badges pinned to their uniforms by their family, loved ones or friends.

An update from the Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCR) was next on the agenda, with Program Director Camille Griswold giving an update to both Siuslaw Fire and Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance boards.

Griswold announced that MCR, which provides mental health response care, emotional support, assessment, community resources and follow up to community members in crisis, had secured funding through 2023.

Since the conception of the program “We have come a long way with interfacing between law enforcement and the range of services available from Peace Harbor,” she said. “These include discharge planning, working within clinics, telehealth and mobile integrated health.”

But MCR would be taking a broader look at community needs when it comes to mental health care.This includes more cohesion with the Peace Harbor’s emergency room, improved coordination of care and improved triage access to community based services that address underlying social issues, workforce coverage and sustainability. 

“MCR is only barely scratching the surface of the kind of support we can offer to our community and our first responders,” Griswold said. “We have many plans and great ideas for the future and how to benefit our community.” 

In other news from the meeting, the board approved the acceptance of a $3,000 Three Rivers Foundation grant that helps provide child car seats to the region. 

Improvements to WLFEA’s main Station 1 building were also approved by the board, which will see the replacement of north and south exterior siding on the building, which has suffered from failed integrity and underlying structural damage since it was built. Cost of construction will be $87,000,and taken from the capital improvement fund. 

In board member comments, SFVR Director Sam Spayd praised the work of firefighters for their work during a recent controlled house burn, which the department does periodically for training purposes. 

“It was very, very well done,” Spayd said, amazed by how the firefighters were able to protect surrounding structures such as telephone polls while also keeping the fire under control. “I came back the next morning and there was nothing left. I just couldn’t believe it. … Excellent training.”