Volunteer Corner: Stewart McMorrow | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner: Stewart McMorrow

Amy Edgett/Sierra SunStewart McMorrow

How long have you been with Meeks Bay Fire Protection District?A little over a year. As far as firefighters go, Im relatively new there.How did you get involved?I have a personal interest in wildland fire. One of the volunteers asked me to come check it out around August of last year. It was perfect timing.Why do you volunteer?Seemed like I could use my special set of mental and physical characteristics. I am healthy, large and strong, plus I am interested in wildland fire and defensible space. I have always volunteered, and continue to do so with (Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships). I think its important to be an effective member of the community, and volunteering with the fire district is interesting and exciting work.And satisfying?Responding to any kind of call is rewarding, to assist in any way even if its moving furniture to allow space to maneuver the gurney. You come away with a feeling of being part of it and doing something.Is there a particular event that touched you?The Washoe Fire. I was in the area doing some defensible space work with the Meeks Bay Fire chief. We heard the call and were one of the first people there. The whole house was on fire. It hit home because I knew the person who started the fire, and was just doing defensible for some houses there. If it werent for the fast and huge response, the fire would have been much bigger.What is your background in firefighting?I am a forest fuels program manager and have a forestry degree from Cal Poly. I served on a wildland fire crew in Los Padres National Forest, and have seen plenty of fires since then. My career is in forestry management.Tell me about the Meeks Bay Fire Protection DistrictThere are about five paid staff and up to 20 volunteers. We have drills two times a month on all aspects, including medical and structural fires.What could a volunteer expect for duties?There is a certain level of commitment. The degree to which you are allowed to work depends on your level of training. Within two years, some level is preferred. The district pays for outside education, say if you want to get your EMT or attend classes at Truckee Meadows Community College. I am up to first-response level. Attending trainings, which cover key elements of the job. Eighty percent of calls are medical. Your duties could be more generalized, such as gathering information for trained personnel when they arrive. You determine what the situation is, if the victim is taking medication, offer comfort to the victim and family.How would interested parties get involved?Speak to Fire Chief John Pang at 525-7548. Hell talk them right into it. The Sierra Suns Amy Edgett interviewed Stewart McMorrow for this weeks Volunteer Corner. Please send your suggestions to aedgett@sierrasun.com, subject Volunteer Corner. For volunteer opportunities in the North Tahoe Truckee area, visit http://www.handsontahoe.com

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