Job Announcements

Fire Chief

San Juan Island Fire Department

Friday Harbor, Washington

Salary: $100,000 - $130,000

For a complete position profile and to apply online, please visit the Prothman Company at and click on "Open Recruitments." For questions, please call 206-368-0050.


Reporting directly to the Board of Fire Commissioners, the Fire Chief is responsible for the quality and state of operational readiness of the fire district, and performs a variety of functions to include planning, organizing, directing fire suppression, developing and implementing policies and procedures, managing personnel, and other duties and responsibilities associated with minimizing the loss of life and property. The Fire Chief promotes a positive working relationship with the other agencies in San Juan County, portraying a positive presence within the community, and promoting a harmonious atmosphere within the Department. 

Other Responsibilities Include: 

➢ Assures compliance with all appropriate federal statutes and requirements, all appropriate statutes of the State of Washington, and all policies and procedures of the fire district consistent with the level of service as defined by the Board of Fire Commissioners of the fire district.

➢ Supervises and/or manages the functional areas of administrative services, emergency incident readiness and response, equipment management, facilities management, financial management, personnel management, information management, planning services, and public relations as defined by and under the direction of the Board of Commissioners. 


➢ Maintains an adequately staffed response organization to include effective, well-trained volunteer and career emergency response personnel, as well as sufficient non-response personnel to support emergency operations to ensure the fire district delivers the desired level of service as defined by the Board of Commissioners. 

➢ Develops and maintains an annual budget for capital improvements, maintenance, training and safety and develops and maintains a five-year plan to accomplish these goals. 

➢ Establishes a monthly reporting system to inform the Board of Fire Commissioners of the progress of established goals and objectives and other activities of the Fire District. 

➢ Attends Board of Fire Commissioner meetings to provide staff support by presenting recommendations based on objective and valid information. 

➢ Develops and maintains an effective emergency response system and preventative activities to provide the Fire District with the established levels of service as defined by the Board of Fire Commissioner in the delivery of fire protection. 

➢ Recommends an annual budget that satisfies the defined level of service, and appropriate federal, state, local and district requirements. Develops funding sources through grant writing and alternative funding. 

➢ Serves as human resource officer and develops and implements standardized personnel management procedures to include, but not limited to recruitment and selection of both career and volunteer personnel, career development, training, occupational health and safety, personnel retention, and personnel evaluations. 

➢ Manages labor contracts and assists in labor management negotiations as appropriate for the Fire District. 

➢ Establishes and maintains a working relationship with the media, citizens, business community and other civic groups and stakeholders with the Fire District.




Emergency Medical Services 

Emergency Medical Services (EMS), both BLS and ALS, are provided by an independent EMS District. Approximately thirty years ago this District left the Fire Department and affiliated with the Public Hospital District. A Citizen's Advisory Group has been established to evaluate the re-consolidation of the EMS services into the fire department. The Fire Chief will need to understand the dynamics of this issue and be prepared to knowledgeably participate in the discussion

Strategic Plan 

The new Fire Chief will have an opportunity to work with the organization to develop a clear vision and mission to address the challenges of the future. A critical component of this will be to implement both short and long-term planning with clear goals and objectives. Some of the issues in need of addressing are: a working mission statement, facilities and equipment, staffing and deployment, paid-on-call recruitment and retention, compliance with laws, standards and regulations, updated and relevant SOP’s/SOG’s and reliable data management via technology.

Community Involvement 

San Juan Island is a small, close-knit community that takes pride in their fire department. The department has done an excellent job of fostering positive public relations, demonstrating transparency and maintaining a strong working relationship within the community. The new Fire Chief must embrace this value and will need to be active in their participation.Visibility in this will be a key to success; an ‘open door’ policy is a must. It will also be important to understand the unique challenges that accompany life on an Island. Housing, infrastructure and services are limited,and travel to-and-from the ‘mainland’ is an approximate 90 minute journey via the ferry, most times requiring a reservation.   

Recruitment and Retention 

The Fire Department currently benefits from a strong volunteer/paid-on-call force. However, the demographics of the community have changed, and the Department no longer has sufficient numbers of volunteers spread across the island. Volunteers are primarily concentrated in or near the town of Friday Harbor. This has resulted in WA Survey and Rating Bureau decertifying two stations resulting in significantly increased cost of home owners’ insurance in those areas. Recruitment, retention and/or deployment strategies to these under-served areas will need to be addressed by the new Fire Chief. While the north end will have the requisite number of department members in August, the new Fire Chief will have the opportunity to continue maintaining a strong volunteer/paid-on-call force


Education and Experience: 

This position requires graduation from an accredited high school or GED equivalency, and a minimum of ten (10) years in the fire service with a minimum of five (5) years of service in the position of Battalion Chief or higher. Candidates must have a valid Washington State Driver’s License with a Commercial Endorsement, or certification of Emergency Accident Prevention Program training. A Red Card Wildland Certification is desirable. A bachelor’s degree with curriculum centered on Fire Command and Administration interests is highly desirable. The Fire Chief must reside on San Juan Island and maintain knowledge of the geography of San Juan Island Fire Department and its buildings, streets and roads, and special areas requiring pre-fire knowledge or special firefighting techniques.

Necessary Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: 

• Excellent executive leadership skills and a comprehensive knowledge of all facets of the fire service and EMS. 

• Experience in a combination department (substantially volunteer) and a history of progressive and proactive program development.  

• Ability to maintain a cohesive combination department with a strong volunteer/paid-on-call program. • Hands on experience working with volunteers/paid-on-call members. 

• Experience working for a Board of Commissioners to build strategic vision with achievable goals and objectives. 

• A demonstrated ability to formulate, implement and manage operating and capital budgets. 

• Skilled in strategic thinking and planning with the ability to communicate to all stakeholders. 

• Exceptional written and oral communication skills which will be used to clearly communicate the policies and procedures established by the Board to department staff and citizens in a clear and concise manner. 

• Knowledgeable, preferably through extensive experience, with all aspects of the job, both as it relates to operations and administration. 

• Understand their role as the Chief Executive Officer and balance their position as an ‘employee’ of the Board with that of being the ‘head coach’ for the staff and the ‘advocate/liaison’ to the community. 

• Possess strong leadership skills in guiding and mentoring career, volunteer/paid-on-call, and administrative staff. 

• Lead by example, setting the standard for all department members. 

• A strong and confident presence, be a good listener, be accessible, and understand the importance of maintaining close and consistent communication with staff.  

• Exhibit strong, relational leadership throughout the organization, to include a clear vision with goals, objectives and accountability. 

• A will to lead the department with passion and inspiration. 

• Value community involvement and be comfortable participating in community events.  

• A good understanding of the unique challenges that accompany life on an Island.

Candidates may possess any combination of relevant education and experience that demonstrates their ability to perform the essential duties and responsibilities. The ideal candidate will be committed to excellent customer service.


 ➢ $100,000 - $130,000 DOQ 

➢ Medical, vision, and dental insurance 

➢ Deferred compensation 

➢ Health care reimbursement account 

➢ 10 Days of vacation 

➢ 10 Holidays 

➢ Sick Leave 

➢ Five-year renewable contract 

 The San Juan Island Fire Department is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  All qualified candidates are strongly encouraged to apply by August 5, 2018 (first review, open until filled).  Applications, supplemental questions, resumes and cover letters will only be accepted electronically. To apply online, go to and click on "submit your application" and follow the directions provided.  Resumes, cover letters and supplemental questions can be uploaded once you have logged in.    



Posted: Jul 10, 2018,
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