NORTH BEND — The North Bend Fire Department has a new assistant fire chief.
Longtime firefighter and Coos County native Brian Waddington accepted the new leadership position at a North Bend City Council meeting last month where he was sworn in.
“It’s an honor,” said Waddington. “As I said in the meeting when I got pinned, I believe wholeheartedly that our fire department is the best.”
Waddington, who first joined the North Bend Fire Department in 1992 as a resident volunteer, said at an early age that he wanted to become a firefighter.
Following in the steps of his father, Gary, a veteran firefighter with the Coquille Fire Department, Waddington grew up being a part of the industry oftentimes hearing stories from his dad of all the people he helped as a career firefighter.
It wasn’t until his two older brothers, Jeff and Dave, who also became firefighters that sealed Waddington’s fate. In 1990, at the age of 18, Waddington joined his family and became a volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver with the Coquille Fire Department.
“At one point for a few years we all worked together side-by-side at the fire department,” said Waddington. “My dad retired, my brother Dave, who was the fire chief, recently retired and my other brother Jeff is still a captain there.”
With a focus on service and being there for others, Waddington said he learned a lot from his family on what it truly means to help others.
“I think it was just how we were raised, working for what we have and just knowing that we as a community need to help each other,” said Waddington. “You can’t turn your back on anybody no matter who they are and if you see someone struggling you stop and help them.”
With a son and daughter who too are involved in careers focused on serving others, one a police officer the other a teacher, Waddington said he is thrilled to know that his family is giving back and doing their part to make their communities better.”
Since becoming a full-time firefighter with the North Bend Fire Department in 1998, Waddington worked his way up the ranks and became a lieutenant and training officer which he will continue to serve as in addition to assistant fire chief.
“I like helping the students and the firefighters improve on their skills,” he said.
Keeping staff trained and up-to-date on their certifications will continue to be top priority for him, he added. The department participates in a number of training courses and exercises throughout the year and is part of the Bay Area Fire Training Consortium.
Along with continuing to strengthen their training program, Waddington said he is also looking to do some recruitment and get more volunteer firefighters to join the staff. As of now, the department has about 20 volunteer firefighters — a number he said he would like to double.
“It would be nice to get more volunteers because we need them as much as we need our career staff and residents,” said Waddington. “If anyone is interested they can visit the city’s website or come in and talk to me or (Chief) Jim (Brown). Our doors are always open.”
As Waddington settles into his new position, he said he is thankful to the North Bend City Council, the city administrator as well as the North Bend Fire Chief Jim Brown for the opportunity.
"I want the community to know I am here for them and I will do my best to serve the city and people of North Bend."