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Squaw Valley Fire Chief’s Outstanding Legacy

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By ALLEN RILEY

Squaw Valley has been very fortunate for the great leadership and vision from its fire chief over the past 24 years, and the community will miss Pete greatly. His legacy is outstanding.

Pete Bansen started with the Squaw Valley Fire Department as a volunteer 36 years ago. In those days there was one captain/firefighter on duty and a dozen or so volunteers that used to “jump on the running board and hold on”!

Through Chief Bansen’s 24 years of vision and leadership, the department has increased its status and capabilities enormously. Squaw Valley Fire Department has increased staffing from two firefighters on duty, with volunteers to supplement calls, to four full-time staff including one captain, one engineer, and two paramedics every day. Pete has provided the community with a progressive fire department with a well-equipped modern fleet of apparatus.

Chief Bansen has always been very proactive in his approach to the department’s involvement in fire prevention and emergency services. For example, Squaw Valley required residential sprinklers and carbon monoxide detectors before the state mandated them. Our fire department was also the first Basic Life Support department in the area to use cardiac defibrillators, and the first in the area to use the Combitube (an advanced airway life support device).

Under Pete’s direction, Squaw Valley Fire Department has been very progressive in their defensible-space program, inspecting 100 percent of the district every year, for more than 20 years.

When Chief Bansen took over the reins, the fire department was a small rural outfit that ran 275 calls a year with an Insurance Service Office rating of 6/8 (out of 10, 1 is best). He’s taken it to a career fire department that ran 275 calls in the first quarter of 2017 and has brought Squaw Valley’s ISO rating to a 2!

Not content to simply improve the department, Chief Bansen has engaged Squaw Valley Fire with the community through various avenues including community CPR classes, the pancake breakfast supporting the Squaw Valley Property Owners Association, Santa at the fire house for the local kids, entering an engine in parades (4th of July and Snowfest), to mention a few.  

A proud firefighters salute to our Chief for his long-standing service to Olympic Valley and the larger Tahoe-Truckee community!

~ Allen Riley is Chief Bansen’s successor, with the official badge pinning ceremony happening on June 27.

 
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The Opinion Page is your place to spout off. This section contains letters to the editor and longer My Shot pieces. Also, the Spout features two bimonthly perspectives — In the Past, delving into Tahoe Truckee history, and In the Moment, an artistic musing of a moment today.

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November 9, 2017