Volunteer Firefighter Thrives On The Mountain
By Ty Walker
Skiing has been a lifelong passion for Nate Seifert. Growing up in Welches in the foothills of Mount Hood, he first strapped on a pair of skis at the age of two.
He’s climbed to the summit of Mount Hood and other Cascade Range mountains, including the tallest, Mt. Rainier, Washington, and skied back down from the top.
Now 34 and still an avid skier, his focus is set on a career as a firefighter. A trained emergency medical services technician since 2008, he joined the Hoodland Fire District as a volunteer in June and works alongside full-time regular staff.
“I love it,” Seifert said. “It’s been an excellent experience and gets me where I need to be. You can volunteer, get all your training, be able to make a little money on the side and help out the community. I really wanted to help out my community. I’ve lived here my entire life and I wanted to contribute, really be part of it.”
Seifert said he averages 60 to 80 hours a month volunteering at the Hoodland Fire District, although sometimes it feels like 100 hours. The great majority of calls are for medical emergencies.
He helped the team that put out a residential fire in Rhododendron before it could cause too much damage. Only a small part of the house was burned. Seifert also gained valuable experience assisting firefighting efforts in the Camp Creek wildland fire this past summer.
“Everyone did a great job up there,” Seifert said. “There were so many resources. They had a great action plan that was well implemented.”
The Hoodland Fire District is always looking for more volunteers like Seifert, both men and women. “We could use some more help,” Seifert said. “We need volunteers. We’re always looking. It’s tough to be a volunteer; it takes time out of everybody’s life. When stuff happens, though, it’s amazing to see everybody pull together.”
Seifert said the best part about volunteering is all the training he’s getting to help progress toward a firefighting career. “That’s my plan,” he said. He has applied for full-time staff positions with other fire districts. Hoodland currently has no staff openings.
Seifert juggles paying jobs along with his volunteer work for the Hoodland Fire District. He is an EMS paramedic and member of the ski patrol at Timberline.
He also manages to find time off-duty for rock climbing, running, hiking, mountaineering and surfing in the cold winter waters off the Oregon Coast.
“I’m an adrenaline junkie,” Seifert said. “I ski, surf, climb and mountaineer. All the fun stuff. I do a lot of mountaineering, so I like the cold. That’s why you climb up the mountain, so you can ski back down.”
Seifert lives in Welches with his partner of 15 years and their 3-year-old daughter.