City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507
info@oakharbor.org

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Fire Chief

 

2017 Photo of Ray Merrill, OHFD Fire Chief

Oak Harbor City Council confirmed Ray Merrill as Fire Chief on March 20, 2012.

Chief Merrill's message from the 2017 Annual Report (full report is posted here):

I, as the Fire Chief, truly believe we are blessed to have the caliber and dedication of individuals employed with our fire department. It matters not if a person is career or a paid-on-call, they are all dedicated to protecting the citizens of Oak Harbor and the visitors that come to Oak Harbor.
 
During May 1929 this department was created as a fully volunteer fire service organization. Over the ensuing 89 years many job functions have been added, while the basic function is one to save lives and property. We are now involved with emergency medical incidents, rope and confined space rescue, hazardous materials, annual fire and life safety inspections, fire investigation, public education and training to name but few of our missions.
 
The Department currently employs 11 Career Firefighters, one Administrative Assistance and 30 Paid on Call Firefighters. Our career staff consists of 3 Shift Captains, one Shift Lieutenant and 4 Career Firefighters. The remaining positions are Training Captain, Deputy Chief and Fire Chief. Their areas of expertise range from basic firemanship to numerous technical aspects of the fire service, including fire investigation, confined space rescue, hazardous materials, auto extrication and the list goes on. All maintain, as minimum, Washington State Emergency Medical Technician certifications. They are all highly energetic, motivated, skilled, and dedicated.
 
I would be remis in not recognizing the Department’s Paid on Call firefighters. These dedicate men and women are an integral part of the department. In days gone by these would have been the volunteer’s. As time moved forward the volunteers began receiving pay for their hours worked, thus becoming Paid on Call. Some of these members work shift work alongside of the career firefighters or work the night shift as the duty crew. They are a valuable asset both to the department and the citizens of Oak Harbor.
 
This department is fortunate to maintain a successful career / paid on call working environment. Each group provides needed talents and skills and complements each other very well. I am extremely proud of each and every member of this fire department. I can think of no better group of people to call Firefighters for the City of Oak Harbor.
 
Sadly during 2017 the Department responded on a double fatality fire. The first double fatality fire in over 30 years. 
 
As you read through our annual report you will see the dedication and determination of our personnel. Please take time to review our responses, the hours of training, community involvement, and how we maintain our budget.
 
Please feel free to call me or stop by the fire station should you have any questions, or comments about your fire department.
 
Ray Merrill
Fire Chief  

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