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Orcas Island Fire & Rescue Q1 Chief’s Report

Orcas Island Fire  & Rescue Chief Holly vanSchaick and staff responded to 76 calls in March, for a total of 224 calls for the first quarter of 2024. Our average calls are 80% EMS and Rescue, with approximately 9% service calls, 4% false alarms, 4% good intent calls, and the remaining 3% fire, hazmat, or other unique incidents.

A patient transfer to Airlift Northwest at the Deer Harbor landing zone.

2024 is on par with trends from 2023, except for an unusually busy January and a similarly slow February. Of the 224 calls in the first quarter of 2024, 42 overlapped another call. When overlapping calls occur, the chiefs (who are both also paramedics) and volunteers often respond as a second response crew. The average of overlapping calls for 2023 was 18% and it is trending the same for 2024 so far.

A firefighter recruit pulling deploying hose at live fire training in February.

The 2024 Fire Academy is complete. OIFR had ten individuals graduate from this joint fire academy led by Lieutenant Karl Kuetzing of San Juan Island Fire. Recruits and OIFR staff dedicated Saturdays and Sundays to the fire academy from the beginning of January until the end of March. A swearing-in will be held at 5 pm on May 6, 2024 during the next regularly scheduled BOFC meeting. Three more individuals are joining OIFR as Wildland Firefighters as well.

We celebrated Jim “Mac” McCorison's retirement but welcomed him into the role of Radio Officer to continue to utilize his expertise in that field. Lt. McCorison has chosen to continue to serve as a volunteer as Station 22 (Westsound) lieutenant, and we are grateful for his continued service. The department also has hired a Finance Manager, Kim Kimple, to join the administration. Kim is also a first responder, trained as an EMT and firefighter.

Community CPR classes have continued in 2024, and aided by several new OIFR CPR instructors, 69 individuals have earned their First Aid, CPR, and AED for adult and child certifications. If you or your organization are interested, please contact Alan Stameisen at 714-271-1215 or astameisen@orcasfire.org. More information can be found on our website at www.orcasfire.org.

If you have questions for your fire department, contact the Public Information Officer, Kat Barnard, at pio@orcasfire.org.

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