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CHIEFS CORNER

Biography


Chief Baker's approach to the professional challenges set before him begins with a vision and ends with a successfully completed project.

 

This management style first showed itself at the age of 16 when he joined the Rogue River Fire Department as an on-site student cadet and continued as he qualified as an EMT-1 and firefighter before his 18th birthday.  His early career as a firefighter and EMT helped him to command field situations as well as identify the ingredients of a well-run emergency services agency.

 

From 1979 thru 1982, at just 20 years old,  he and another firefighter started Valley Fire Services, a private for-profit fire service in Josephine County, Oregon.  This involved a feasibility study of the tax base and population statistics, recruiting two seasoned business men to add their expertise to the start-up team, incorporation, and  obtaining three sources of funding; taxes, civilian fire protection contracts, and shareholders.

 

Once the corporation was organized, Don was instrumental in procuring fire apparatus, directed the building of a station, managed the paid and volunteer personnel, served as vice president of the first board of directors, and supervised the budget and operations of that station.

 

Chief Baker moved to Midland, Texas in 1983.  The City of Midland Fire Department provides fire protection and ALS ambulance service for all of Midland County.  While in Midland, Chief Baker acquired his paramedic credentials and advanced to the rank of Captain.  For three years, he served in the departments training division responsible for the ongoing training of 145 paid fire suppression personnel.  The last five years with Midland, he served as a Paramedic Captain, supervising the operations of one of the Department's nine stations.

 

He accepted the job as Fire Chief of Taft/Nelscott/Delake Fire (TND) in 1994 and the merger between TND and Devil's Lake District began in 1996.  Chief Baker worked with both boards to facilitate the combining of the districts' resources into one organization that was both financially and operationally efficient.  He supervised each budget, as well as serving as Fire Chief of both districts operations until the formal merger in 1997 when he became the Fire Chief of the newly formed North Lincoln Fire and Rescue District #1.

 

He led the successful bond measure, acted as project manager for the construction of the new two million-dollar Taft Fire Station.  Under his leadership, the project came in one half a million dollars under budget, which provided additional funds for the replacement of many of the District's aging fire apparatus.

 

A high evaluation by the Insurance Service Office (ISO) of the district's emergency response time, rigorous training and qualified personnel, facilities, apparatus, and communications resulted in the lowering of the district's insurance class rating.  This evaluation meant lower insurance rates for the property owners as well.

 

Chief Baker's field and administrative record of training and leadership through these past 25 years prove him a responsible and effective leader.  He offers a unique blend of a tested operational officer with his background in successful private for-profit corporations.

 

He belongs to the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, Western Fire Chiefs Association, and National Fire Protection Association.  His credentials include four courses at the National Fire Academy in Maryland and AS Degree in Fire Science Technology,  and numerous courses and conferences on-going throughout his career on Management, Leadership, and Emergency Services Programs.