Steamboat Fire Rescue names new captain, training lieutenant |

Steamboat Fire Rescue names new captain, training lieutenant

Capt. Joe Oakland and Training Lt. Chris Welch (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue has recently promoted two officers, naming Joe Oakland to captain and Chris Welch to training lieutenant.

“Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue is comprised of a talented and dedicated group of individuals who truly love this community,” Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli said. “Not many departments would be able to pull from within for open positions, especially in the officer level, and (this) shows the depth of the experience and knowledge we have internally.”

As captain, Oakland will be responsible and oversee daily operations for Shift C, an eight-person firefighting/paramedic crew across multiple stations. During an emergency, the fire captain is responsible for initial incident command and may remain in that role until the abatement of the emergency. He joins two other captains in leading fire and EMS response, suppression and education.

Oakland has been with Steamboat Fire Rescue for the last 15 years, first having served as a firefighter and EMT before becoming a firefighter and paramedic. He has worked as the department’s training lieutenant over the past year.

Throughout his tenure, Oakland’s breadth of duties has included implementation of several digital integration projects such as records management systems, combined emergency response team medic, Spillman CAD mobile, wall and computer mapping and ambulance design and ordering.

Being multi-certified, Oakland also has served as an adjunct EMS professor at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs since 2019 and as a ski patroller at Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. for the the past 15 years.

Welch, who was named to training lieutenant, will manage training programs across the department, annual certifications as well as specialized skill development, including chemical and hazardous spills, vehicle extraction and large-scale incident management integration.

Welch will now be responsible for the fire training academy and to provide technical review for department policies and procedures.

Joining the department in 2008 as a firefighter and EMT, Welch ultimately moved on to become an engineer and then obtained his paramedic accreditation. Welch holds numerous certifications from the state and federal level, including for swift-water rescue, hazardous materials, technical rigging rescue, wildland fire and portable pumps and water use.

“Capt. Oakland and Lt. Welch will be valuable assets to the department; and, more importantly, to the entire community. I look forward to their contributions in these new roles and helping lead our team forward,” Cerasoli said.

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