Journal of the San Juan Islands


Get to know your volunteer firefighter

July 31, 2014 · Updated 3:19 PM

San Juan Fire & Rescue Lieutenant Jason Wood, of Roche Harbor Station No. 35, behind the wheel, ready to roll. / Contributed photo /SJ Fire & Rescue

By Sheila Harley, SJ Fire & Rescue public information officer

Special to the Journal

Jason Wood is a lieutenant in the San Juan Island Fire Rescue, assigned to Roche Harbor Station 35.

He has been with the department since 2005, giving him nine years of service. His first firefighting experience was at UC Davis, for a restoration ecology class where he helped conduct prescribed burns to restore native grasslands.

Since joining the department he has also had the opportunity to join Washington state mobilizations in Eastern Washington. These have been great learning experiences and also helps ensure that if we ever have ‘the big one’ here, other fire departments across the state will come to help us as well.

Like all firefighters, Jason gets a certain amount of satisfaction from being there for his community. But, when he read Howard (of “Go With The Flow” fame) Schonberger’s article in the Journal of the San Juan Islands, in 2005, about the possibility of fire station closures because of a lack of firefighters, he decided to join. He was in the process of building his home then and didn’t like the idea of his local fire station closing.

San Juan County still struggles to get enough people to join the fire department, which can affect emergency response rates and fire insurance costs. No previous firefighting experience is needed to join the department (extensive training provided) so please consider contacting the fire department to help out your community.

You’d be joining an interesting and varied group of people who make up the department, learn valuable safety and emergency skills, contribute to your community in a meaningful way, and bring home a little extra money (you get paid for training and response).

Jason was born in Olympia but spent the first 18 years of his life living in Europe and Africa. Jason and his wife, Wendy, have two children. Tristan, 22, attends Western Washington University, while Echo, 16, is in her junior year at Friday Harbor High School.

Jason’s other (real) job is Operations Manager & Senior Research Scientist for the Sea Mammal Research Unit, a company owned by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He runs the U.S. and Canadian offices.

San Juan Island Fire Rescue welcomes all interested men and women to drop by the station on Mullis Street and make an appointment to attend a drill on Monday nights to see what we are all about. The structural firefighting class will begin in September. Join us. Our phone number is 360-378-5334.


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