Employee Spotlight: Lieutenant Jim Rodgers

Employee Spotlight

Person: Lieutenant Jim Rogers 

Shift: Station 35 – C-Shift

Education: East Anchorage High – Anchorage, Alaska- some classes at the University of Alaska

How did you get into the fire service?

I was 25 and working at Safeway in Alaska and decided I wanted a change. I asked the manager how hard it would be to relocate to the Seattle area. I was in luck because they were opening a brand-new store in Woodinville. Two weeks later, I was in Woodinville working.         

Safeway was a good start, but I didn’t have higher education, and I kept getting passed over on promotions. One day in 1989, I saw a sign on the street that said volunteers needed for the fire department. I had seen the guys who worked at Station 35, and they always seemed so happy.

I had long flowing hair, but I wore a suit to my interview. The Deputy Chief was impressed but said I had to choose between my hair and the volunteer job. I still miss the hair, but once I started volunteering, I knew I found a career I would love more. That was the best move I ever made. I have loved all 28 years since. 

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

I love the camaraderie. I have developed friendships here I genuinely value. You can trust the people around you to help save a life or to be there to put a roof up at your house. The people who work here are the people you would have a beer with and share your life stories. Even if you have a hard call. We are all in it together, we can discuss it together, and if someone needs more help, there are more avenues to help each other. That is so important.

What is a challenge you face in the fire service?

The dynamic relationship between labor unions and management of the Fire District. As with all places with labor unions, there is always a give and take. It can be dividing when we should all be working together. At the end of the day, labor unions and management constantly work toward what they think is best for the residents they serve.  

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

It’s always nice when you walk out of a room after reviving someone with CPR, and everyone worked together with precision. It takes a large team that works quickly and efficiently to ensure CPR goes well. 

About a week after a resuscitation, we receive a Cardiac Case Review. It goes over all the data related to the call, things like compression ratios. It’s a great tool to review with our crew and keep us focused on improvements. To be honest, it also notes a person’s survival, which is the first thing I look at. Once you leave them in the hospital’s care, you can’t help but want the best for that person. Knowing someone made it leaves you with a good feeling. 

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

Before Covid-19, I loved the Basset Bash – which turned into Celebrate Woodinville. I love how people, the community, restaurants support the Benevolent Fund and Fire District. Those events leave you with a feeling of community. The pancake breakfast we host at Station 31 always raises money for our Benevolent Fund. It’s so awesome to see the Benevolent Fund, in turn, support local causes and help the community in their time of need. 

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

I love our hiring process because it’s getting us some very awesome people. I love the new generation of firefighters; there are a lot of new hires that stand out and make a difference. Mainly, it’s a freaking great place to work. It’s been an incredible experience, and it’s the greatest job in the world.