Multiple special recognition awards were handed out at the year-end meeting of the Plumas County Fire Chiefs Association. Thirty members and guests participated in the annual event at the Graeagle Fire Department, followed by a BBQ lunch.
“Our nonprofit association values recognizing and thanking people for a job well done, in support of our local fire and emergency services,” said PCFCA president and Graeagle Chief Ed Ward. He presented the perpetual Steve Tolen Leadership in Emergency Medical Services Award to Matt Brown and Sam Blesse of Care Flight in recognition of their outstanding work improving EMS in Quincy and beyond.
“Among their many accomplishments are a big improvement in survival rates for those patients in need of Cardio-Pulmonary resuscitation,” said Ward.
The perpetual Chief Robbie Cassou Training Instructor of the Year award was given to Captain David Schmid of Quincy FD, in recognition of his excellent contributions to the Quincy Fire Academy over many years. “David has also made outstanding contributions to public education and fire safety education for the schools,” said Chief Cassou, “… he is very devoted to what we do.”
Retiring Indian Valley FD Chief Jim Hamblin was recognized for 70 years of excellent service to his community. He received a full-size, engraved brass Fire Chief’s speaking trumpet, used long ago by chiefs to command fires in the days before two-way radios.
“Jim has achieved a very rare and highly unusual length of service, for which he is to be commended,” said PCFCA Vice President and Chester Chief Joe Waterman.
Officer Mike Grant of the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office was recognized with a “Band-Aid, Duct Tape and Bailing Wire” award, for his outstanding work since 2002 creating and maintaining the county-wide fire service communications system.
“It was originally funded through grants that have long-ago dried up. Mike does an excellent job seeking new funding sources and other grants to keep it all running smoothly. His work has included many long hours spent repairing mountain-top radio repeater sites when they are damaged by severe weather,” said Cassou. “Sometimes this has required trekking through deep snow and stormy conditions, but Mike has always come through.”
John Steffanic and his wife Denise Morganroth of Sierra Promotions received special thanks, in recognition of ongoing outstanding support to the Plumas County fire service.
“John suggested we do a Firefighters Muster at the Plumas-Sierra County Fair, through his part-time role as Fair Director,” said PCFCA secretary treasurer and Plumas Eureka Chief Tom Forster, “… in addition, they have generously donated all of the awards and T-shirts for the event each year, through their Portola business Sierra Promotions.”
PCFCA accomplishments for 2017 included expanding the regional Quincy Fire Academy for new firefighters, and offering numerous low-cost or free training courses. These included the California State Fire Training & Education System Driver Operator and Pump Operations classes, completed by 70 county firefighters. In addition, a weekend National Fire Academy course was held, focused on officers supervising life safety operations and structure protection during wildland fires.
“We also had very successful mutual aid operations, both inside and outside of our county,” said Chief Waterman. “Incidents we successfully coordinated resources for response included the Minerva, Toll and Squirrel fires near Quincy, and many large state fires, including those in Butte, Sonoma, Napa, Ventura, Mendocino and Santa Barbara counties.”
“We had a very productive, cooperative year,” said Ward, “and we look forward to a great 2018 working together.”
Event organizers said that now is a good time to consider becoming a volunteer firefighter in your community. The annual Quincy Fire Academy will be starting in March. Contact your local fire department for more information and visit the PCFCA website at plumasfirechiefs.org.