Employee Spotlight: FF Jeff Smith

Employee Spotlight: FF Jeff Smith

Shift: A-Shift 

Education: Interlake High School – Bellevue WA 

Specialties:  Acting Lieutenant, Technical Rescue, Truck Operations, Rope Rescue, Confined Space, and Water Rescue

Why did you get into the fire service?

I did ski patrol for years at Crystal Mountain; a few of the guys there were firefighters. I knew nothing about the fire service, but they encouraged me to consider it. My wife and I talked about it and decided I should give it a try. M mid-life crisis was in my 40’s. Instead of a car or a new girlfriend, I decided on a career change. I look back, and I had no idea what I was getting into. I do believe God led me to consider changing careers.

What would you want people to know about joining the fire service later in life than most?

I am a firm advocate for those who join the fire service later in life. They bring broader experiences and respect for the career. I don’t believe this job is just about the income; it’s more than that. The fire service is about always striving to mitigate any scenario and helping people. As I look close to retiring, short of my immediate family, this is my family. There is a camaraderie in the fire service you can’t experience with other careers. It is the people that make a difference.

What do you value most about the Fire Service and this career?

I always tell the younger people I work with to keep the fire service what it is. I want to hold them accountable. Keep the focus on the customer we serve. Taking care of people is of the utmost importance of what we do. I always want our days to be about the people who are receiving our care. They trust us in their time of need. We have to maintain the integrity and trust given to us by the public.

What is a challenge you face in the fire service?

The dynamics of different people. I honestly don’t believe there is a downside to this job. If there is a downside, it’s because you can’t get along with people. I genuinely love this job.

Is there a call, or type of call, that has made an impact on your life?

I would say planned teen suicides. It is incredibly impactful as a parent. I find myself talking to kids more about life’s rough roads. Seeing families in those kinds of situations made me get more involved in youth groups. You want teenagers to know they will get through the tough times, and they will be thankful they did. It made me realize the importance of sharing the joy of life with kids. It’s important to remind our children, no matter how bad they are doing, you love them, no matter what they choose to do in life.

What do you enjoy about being a part of the Woodinville Community?

I think we have a great community. I grew up in Lake Sammamish and have always liked this area. I can remember when Norm’s Resort was out here. The Woodinville area was a part of my childhood; it’s like home to me. People living here are hard-working people. I especially like our elderly community; those are some of the most significant calls we go on. They are always so thankful, and at the same time, apologetic we had to come out. They don’t know; we enjoy spending our time helping other people.

What advice or what would you want someone to know who is applying to WFR?

Stick with your pursuit of this career, it’s worth it. Do what you can to get the job. Woodinville has something rare, good people, good leadership, and we serve an appreciative community that is supportive of our District. It’s not something you see everywhere.