Employee Spotlight: Lieutenant Paul Peterson

Employee Spotlight

Person: Lieutenant Paul Peterson 

Shift: Station 31, B-Shift

Specialties:  Technical Rescue Team, Surface Water Rescue, 3rd-year Lieutenant

Education: Stephen F. Austin University

Between my sophomore and junior year of college, my parents moved to the Seattle area. I came home for the summer to work and save money. I saw an advertisement for a volunteer firefighter in Kirkland. I had no intention of it becoming a career, but it turned into a passion.

Why did you get into the fire service?

I started when I was 21 volunteering at Kirkland Fire. I volunteered there for six months. While volunteering, I spent some time with the Captain there, and he let me ride along in the ladder truck. Once I took that ride, I knew I wanted to make firefighting my career. I immediately started testing for local fire departments.  I have always liked the training, camaraderie, and unpredictability that comes along with this job.

What is a challenge you face in this career?

The fact that we live together can present problems other career choices may not have. It’s challenging living with different people and personalities. That is something you get better at over time. In the end, you still work as a team, no matter the circumstance.

Are there any leaders that have made an impact on you in the fire service, and how so?

Two leaders have made an impact on my career. I would say retired Battalion Chief Bryce Riddell because of the way he took care of his crew. He spent a lot of time to train the people who worked for him. I still use some of the techniques he taught me and try to take care of my guys the same way.

Secondly, current Deputy Chief Davishis nickname is the professor. Deputy Chief Davis has a way of working through problems in a methodical manner. He takes his time to think through problems. When you have large scale incidents in the fire service, its good to think of things systematically. He is one of the best at doing that. I am happy to have the opportunity to learn from him. 

What would be a memorable call? 

Recently, we had a call come in around midnight for a motor vehicle accident. As we arrived on the scene, we noticed a car upside down in the ditch on fire. My crew moved quickly to get there, get a line pulled, take the doors off, and get the patient out of the vehicle. The crew was able to extricate the patient out of the vehicle within seven minutes of arriving at the incident. Those are the moments where you put all that practice into play with the crew, and you can see how much training matters.

Why did you decide to promote to Lieutenant? 

I had been on driving on the ladder truck for a long time. It was an excellent time to move up and teach the skills I have learned to newer employees. I have a passion for teaching, its why I took the time to be an academy instructor last year.

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

I have been working at Woodinville for a long time. I know people, I see the same people over the years working at local stores and shops. It is fun to see people over the years and learn their personal stories like how they make a living and how long they have lived here. I find the people here interesting and caring.