Fire District #3 hires chief

A process that began several months ago concluded last week as Jackson County Fire District #3 announced the hiring of Dan Petersen as Fire Chief.

Petersen is currently Deputy Fire Chief of Administrative and Training for the Medford Fire District. He has been with Medford Fire for 23 years and has 31 years in fire service.

Petersen has a bachelor of science degree in fire administration from Western Oregon College (now University), an associate degree in fire service from Rogue Community College and is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officers Program, National Fire Academy, Maryland. He has taught fire science at RCC. In 2003 he received a masters in management degree from Southern Oregon University.

Administrative duties as Deputy Fire Chief with Medford Fire have included responsibility of the business functions of the fire department. This has included records, statistical analysis of operations and business, as well as technology and information. This has involved office supervision and budgeting as well. Training has involved EMS and fire fighting.

Petersen will officially join Fire District #3 on Oct. 18.

Randy Iverson, who retired from Fire District #3 in 2006 after 34 years in fire service and 15 as chief of District #3, was brought back in April as interim chief.  Iverson expects to have a clear transfer of authority, meaning he will once again retire and do so before Petersen takes the helm.

The district began its annual review of strategic planning. This year it will be covered in four separate sessions. Last week Fire Marshal Hugh Holden discussed risk management, which examines events that may occur along with the potential impacts from those events. The goal is to match district resources with the identified risks in the most effective manner possible, said Holden. This involves:
• Examining hazards that may exist.
• Identifying values and property at risk.
• Evaluating impacts and consequences.
• Potential frequency of an event.

To examine each of the areas listed above involves incredible details from a county-wide analysis of hazards, to topographic information about the district as well as transportation. As an example highlights of transportation information include information about major roads, airports and airstrips, waterways large and small, railroads and details about each.

The district is divided into seven Fire Management Zones (FMZ). They are Agate Lake, Central Point, Dodge Bridge, Eagle Point, Gold Hill, Sams Valley and White City, where the district has either paid or volunteers at a station. 

Each community is analyzed for risks. As an example the Eagle Point zone includes 24 maximum or high risk occupancies and 18 special or infrastructure risk occupancies. Examples of maximum risk or high risk include areas where people assemble, such as schools and  where people that are non-ambulatory reside, foster care, multi-family and assisted living facilities.

The fire district has found 155 high or maximum risk occupancies and 28 special or infrastructure risks in White City.

Calls thus far this year in the Eagle Point FMZ are up 10.6 percent but down for the month of August. Last year thru August calls numbered 584; this year that figure is 653. August of last year there were 84 calls, this August 77. Fire Chief Iverson offered congratulations as response times were met in all areas, which include urban, suburban and rural.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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