Get to Know Your Neighborhood Firefighter: Battalion Chief Rich Stenhouse
Feb 13, 2012 at 9:31 AM 2 Comments | Add a Comment
COMMUNITY I SERVE
I currently serve as a Battalion Chief at Portland Fire & Rescue. As a Chief of Battalion 1, I am responsible for managing day to day operations for Stations 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 16, 18 and 27. You can learn more about the duties and knowledge, skills and abilities required of a Battalion Chief here. I am quartered at the Hillsdale Firehouse (Station 5) that serves NW and SW Portland residents.
I was hired in May 1986. At the completion of training, I was assigned as a travelling firefighter for four years affording me the opportunity to work in all Portlandfire stations. Assignments include the Fire Marshals office as Inspector, Senior Inspector, Fire Investigator, and Chief Investigator. In the Emergency Operations Division, I’ve worked as a Lieutenant, Captain, and present assignment as a Battalion Chief.
In the old days, we didn’t have seatbelts and rode the tailboard of the engine standing up. We wouldn’t even think of doing that today. It was pretty cold riding the tailboard on the freeway in East County especially when it’s below freezing with a stiff east wind.
My memorable calls involve all sorts of mayhem. Most all of our calls for service involve a tragedy of some sort. Having compassion and a sense of empathy for others drives us to provide excellent customer service. We have to ask ourselves “if this was one of our family members, how would we want them treated.”
FAVORITE MEAL TO COOK
Everything is better with butter and bacon! I really enjoy a good “dutchbaby” because it’s an easy recipe and looks fabulous too.
Directions: Mix together 4 eggs, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup of milk. Bake 425 degrees until golden brown. Serve with fresh squeezed lemon and top with powdered sugar. MMMgood!
MAKING MY WAY TO BECOME A FIREFIGHTER
I was taught how to work at the end of a shovel. Dad said “never let me see you leaning on that shovel or I’ll find another one for your other hand.” I worked as a skating rink manager and in the vending and video game business. While studying fire science at PCC, I served as a student firefighter for 75 cents an hour prior to my first paid position as a firefighter in the Willamette Valley.
I believe a successful firefighter must have compassion for others, possess common sense, an excellent work ethic, integrity, and a desire to continue learning your job. Firefighters must have a “can do” attitude.
My family loves the outdoors. We enjoy spending time with friends on group campouts, boating, and bicycling. In the winter we enjoy downhill skiing and anything snow related.
ARRIVING ON AN EMERGENCY SCENE
My first thought on an emergency scene is to evaluate the actions being taken by firefighters to mitigate the emergency. This is a true emergency for the individual calling 9-1-1 and it’s our job as firefighters to make it better and prevent further injury and stop property loss. Personnel accountability of all firefighters is paramount.
ADVICE TO LIVE BY
Never say “I wish…” Have a reason for making the decision you did and when you make a mistake own it and don’t make the same mistake twice.