by: SUBMITTED - Fire Chief Paul IversonWoodburn Fire District’s Fire Chief Paul Iverson has returned from the first installment of his four-year training with the Executive Fire Officer Program.

From this training, which was held Nov. 10-22 at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., Iverson was able to connect and develop a stronger network of individuals as future questions to better the district arise.

“Overall, it’s just trying to keep us up with the times because the fire service is changing really quick, as every industry is changing,” said Iverson. “For me, it’s just trying to make sure we’re staying current and even staying at the frontline of the change that’s occurring.”

Iverson mentioned new techniques in the firefighting industry include the health and safety of the firefighters.

Iverson said if a firefighter had dirty gear on in the past it was a sign that they were fighting the fire. However recent studies show the toxins that they’re exposed to, and how the products inside buildings have changed, are producing synthetic debris that collects on their gear.

As firefighters wear their gear multiple times a day, they’re exposed to the chemicals if their gear isn’t thoroughly clean, which is causing recent health issues.

Each year the program specializes in specific categories, this year’s being “executive development,” which emphasized management-related training and community risk reduction activities.

From small departments to large, Iverson said he realized Woodburn Fire District’s “little problems” aren’t unique after collaborating with other training members.

“We have a very good department, our fire district. We have great personnel,” Iverson said. “We try to keep up with everything, but hopefully there’s maybe something you pick up there that can make you do a better job at delivering your services that we deliver.”

During training and as part of an assignment, Iverson proposed to recruit additional retention volunteers for the fire district.

Thirty volunteers currently work at the district. However, Iverson mentioned a need to increase their volunteer ranks due to present volunteers’ work schedules.

The district currently has 15 career staff members, three in management and 12 line firefighters. A combination of four workers and volunteers are on one shift at a time working for 24 consecutive hours, then off for 48 hours.

Iverson said the training will continue to benefit him through the networking and working relationship with other chiefs.

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