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Sandy fire official leaves after 14 years

Fire Prevention Officer Alice Busch resigns from Sandy Fire District


Even in her final days of serving the community, Sandy Fire Prevention Officer Alice Busch is still exceeding expectations.

Recently, she helped organize a meeting with community entities to discuss the soon-to-come health center at Sandy High School, which will teach preventive care even to those without insurance, and in turn, reduce the fire station’s call volume.by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Alice Busch, from left, standing with Chief Gary McQueen and Deputy Chief Rob Dahl, is leaving the Sandy Fire District after 14 years of service. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Tackling issues before they arise is how Busch has stretched the expectations of her position and how she’ll be remembered when she leaves the Sandy Fire District this month after 14 years of service.

“She’s one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever worked with,” Sandy Fire Chief Gary McQueen said. “She’s always been dedicated. From day one, she was an advocate in the community, and she truly cared for the people she served.”

Busch spent 21 years in the fire service educating and connecting with the community. She started working with the Sandy Fire District in 1999 as a fire inspector, investigator, education and information officer, and spent 13 years as a shared employee with the Boring Fire District. Over time, she sought additional roles, including grant writing, emergency management/disaster preparedness, community and social services, critical incident stress management, the public CPR program and juvenile firesetter intervention.

While part of her job was teaching the public how to handle health or dangerous situations, Busch often went a step further by trying to prevent issues before they happened.

“My job is to figure out how to not just teach the public to respond once something occurs,” Busch said. “But I’m supposed to be a prevention officer.”

It wasn’t until 2010 that she learned how much the public valued her service. When the fire department considered eliminating, altering or reducing Busch’s position to part-time, about 60 local residents attended a meeting to say they wanted her to stay.

“To have a community come out like that and support what your position is doing ... I found out that the people I work for really value the service that I’ve provided,” she said.

Busch never thought she’d leave the Sandy Fire District, but her position eventually was changed to part-time, so she’s accepted a new job as an emergency management coordinator with Multnomah County Human Services.

That job will allow her to continue working with people in need.

But as Busch leaves Sandy, she knows she’s not saying her final goodbyes.

“I love Sandy and feel like I am leaving my family,” she said. “At some point co-workers and community partners merged into friends, so at least I know our paths will continue to cross.”