Woodburn Fire District announced that it recently hired firefighter and paramedic Jesse Halpern, filling a vacancy after a career firefighter took a position with The Dalles Fire District earlier this year.
"We are excited to have…Halpern join the Woodburn Fire District," WFD Chief Joseph Budge said. "His training and experience in emergency response, proven commitment to community volunteerism and involvement and a history of excellent customer service make him an outstanding addition to team."
Halpern and his wife, Alicia, live in Canby. He worked as a paramedic for American Medical Response and has volunteered as both a firefighter and paramedic for the Molalla Fire District.
The Halperns are also very active in volunteering at their church and in their community. He said he believes in, "being the change that you wish to see in the world."
"(I am) super excited to be part the team and in bringing advanced life support to the area," Halpern added.
Budge noted that Halpern's hiring helps the district fulfill a commitment to provide a minimum of four firefighters on-duty at all times, including at least one paramedic with advanced life-saving skills. A local option levy approved by voters last November prevented layoffs and ensured enhanced district staffing.
Levy funds afford the consistent four-firefighter staffing, begin on July 1.
Advanced life-saving service provided by district paramedics will be phased in as components of the program instilled. The first steps began earlier this year with the selection of two existing firefighters to receive paramedic training.
Firefighters Ryan Johnson and Mitch Raines are currently enrolled in a paramedic training, while maintaining their current full-time duties as firefighters assigned to a 24-hour shift. Initial phases of the advanced live-saving service are scheduled to begin in November.
"Four firefighter staffing is an industry best practice for providing a high level of protection to the lives and property of the residents we serve while maintaining the safety of our firefighters working in hazardous conditions," Budge said. "The presence of an on-duty paramedic at all times will bring near emergency-room life-saving capabilities to (district residents).
"We are thankful to the voters for providing the funds that make this professional level of service to the community possible."
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