New firefighters arrive in Woodburn
The Woodburn Fire District has added two new firefighting paramedics this month.
On Wednesday, July 21, the district swore in James Lang and Jerrod Schuch. The two will fill vacancies created by the retirements of Lt. Darin Unrein and firefighter Scott Mateson last spring.
WFD Chief Joe Budge said Lang and Schuch are seasoned veterans with previous fire service experience with Marion County Fire District #1, which borders the Woodburn Fire District south of the Brooks area. They served MCFD1 as career firefighter paramedics.
Budge said new WFD members undergo a full year of comprehensive training in fire, rescue and emergency medical service skills.
"Even though they come to us with extensive firefighting experience, the training is required to ensure that they are well versed in the procedures, tactics and equipment used by Woodburn firefighters," Budge said. "The extensive training by current Woodburn firefighters will ensure the ability to work seamlessly as a trusted member of the crew they are assigned."
Lang and Schuch are also certified and experienced paramedics. WFD began providing advanced life support service in 2019 after voters approved a five-year local option levy. Advanced life support brings many life-saving capabilities within minutes to people who experience medical emergencies.
Budge stressed that hiring personnel who are certified paramedics saves the district the cost of 14 additional months of paramedic training. It also fortifies the district's commitment to have at least one paramedic on duty at all times.
Lang and his wife, Madeline, live in Lebanon with their three young daughters.
"(I am) looking forward to the team atmosphere at Woodburn Fire and (am) excited to work for a family- and community-centered fire district," Lang said.
Schuch and his wife Amelia live in Silverton and are awaiting the arrival of their first child in August.
Schuch said he "feels like the Woodburn Fire District is the valley's best-kept secret."
He added that from his experience, WFD members are very effective and he is excited to be working for a fire district known for its customer service, sense of community and professionalism.
Budge said the hiring process was extensive; there were initially 72 applicants for the two positions. District officials pared the list down to 30 via a written test, then invited them to an assessment center to evaluate candidate education, experience, firefighting and emergency medical skills.
The district then ranked the candidates and placed them on a hiring eligibility list. Lang and Schuch came out high on the list and were invited to further interviews and comprehensive background checks.
"I am excited to have these two members join the fire district," Budge said. "I think they have the right experience, values and skills to become an important part of ensuring the life safety of the communities we serve."
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