Four New Rocklin Firefighters Pinned at Graduation Ceremony

Article By Alyssa Mielke, City of Rocklin

Erik Garside, dressed in 45 pounds of full firefighter gear, dashed from the fire engine, pulled the supply hose and tools out of the back, and lugged the nearly 80-pounds of equipment to the nearest hydrant.

Garside then unscrewed the hydrant and flushed it, checked that the water was clear, had good pressure, and that the hydrant was ready to be connected to the fire truck. He then screwed the hose tightly onto the hydrant and loosed the bolt to release the water into the hose.

“Water!” He yelled, as he raised both arms over his head. This signaled the end of his drill, completed in only 57 seconds.

Garside is one of four new firefighter paramedics that were recently hired by the City of Rocklin and received their badge at a special pinning ceremony signifying their completion of the Rocklin Fire Academy. The new firefighter paramedics also include Kevin Stenson, Chris Marson, and Jordan Poe.

The firefighters already have a combined 43 years of experience working in fire prevention, but the 350-hour training with the Rocklin Fire Department (RFD) ensures that the team accomplishes each task the Rocklin way. The six weeks of vigorous training and final timed test assures that the team is working together seamlessly when it matters most to keep residents safe.

“It’s been exciting to watch this team grow in preparation to serve the City of Rocklin,” said Captain Heath Taylor of the RFD, the coordinator for this year’s academy. “They have proved that they are able, willing to sacrifice, and committed to this community. I am impressed with their skills and know they will stick to the academy motto they created: stay humble, stay driven.”

The Rocklin training consists of both mentally and physically demanding days, including an 8-hour day fighting a controlled fire in a burn building, allowing recruits to practice what they have been taught in high-stress situations.

“It’s putting in long hours with like-minded individuals that makes me confident in our abilities to protect the public,” said new Rocklin Firefighter Paramedic Marson, who comes from the Yocha Dehe Fire Department with 18 years of experience. “We have had really good training.”

The new hires’ work continues this week as they finish up a specialized two-week tiller truck training. The tiller truck requires two people to steer, and it can get into tight spaces where regular fire trucks cannot, better able to serve apartment complexes and other close communities.

The four new hires will help fill vacancies in the RFD and bring the department back up to nearly full staffing levels.

Firefighter Paramedic Garside, who apprenticed with the RFD in 2005 and 2006 said, “My first day on the job was on my 21st birthday, and I’ve been a firefighter ever since. It’s been a fairly easy transition to Rocklin, and I’m looking forward to being back on shift work.”

The badge pinning ceremony also saw the Rocklin Fire Department recognize a number of firefighters for promotions, including: Deputy Chief Shawn Watkins, Battalion Chief Chris Hertel, Captain Ryan Brayton, Captain Heath Taylor, Engineer Edward Jimison, and Engineer Daniel Justus.

Kevin Stenson

Kevin Stenson stands with his family as a new Rocklin firefighter.

Age: 37
Hometown: I am originally from Portola, CA.
Past experience: I have previously worked for the US Forest Service in the Plumas and El Dorado National Forests, CALFIRE in Butte County, Wheatland Fire Authority, and most recently worked for the Truckee Fire Protection District
Educational background: BA in Geography from UC Santa Barbara, an AA in Fire Technology from American River College and completed my Firefighter academy from Sierra College
Hobbies/interests: I enjoy golfing, skiing, and riding motorcycles
What made you want to work with the Rocklin Fire Department specifically?:  I liked how involved the department was within the community and the opportunities for growth within the Rocklin Fire Department

Chris Marson

Rocklin firefighter Chris Marson stands with his wife and daughter.

Age: 40
Hometown: Currently reside in Meadow Vista, but grew up in the Auburn/Colfax area
Past experience with firefighting and paramedics: 17 years in the fire service & a paramedic for 12 years
Educational: Colfax H.S. graduate 1998. Attended Sierra College and obtained an AS in Fire Technology and an AA in Liberal Arts
Hobbies: All sports, camping/backpacking, hunting, and spending time with my family
What made you want to work for the Rocklin Fire Department specifically?: The City and the Fire Department both have good reputations.

Erik Garside

New Rocklin firefighter Erik Garside stands with his wife.

Age: 38
Hometown: Auburn, CA
Past experience with firefighting and paramedics: 2 years with Rocklin as apprentice firefighter and 10 years with South Placer as a firefighter paramedic and engineer paramedic
Hobbies and interests: Playing baseball and football for Sac area Fire, camping, riding dirt bikes, and working on my property
What made you want to work with the Rocklin Fire Department specifically?: I spent 2 years here in 2005-2006 and enjoyed the atmosphere and the area. All the guys I worked with always said I’d come back, and I did.

Jordan Poe

New Rocklin firefighter Jordan Poe smiles with his wife at the hiring ceremony.

Age: 33
Hometown: Yuba City, California 
Past experience with firefighting/paramedics: 4 years at Yuba City Fire Dept, and 5 years as a Paramedic for Bi-County Ambulance
Educational background: EMT course and anatomy and physiology at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, MO; Paramedic course at NCTI in Roseville, CA; and various general education courses at Yuba College in Marysville, CA
Hobbies/interests: Photography, Brazilian jiu jitsu, running, and spending time with my kids
What made you want to work with the Rocklin Fire Department specifically?: Rocklin FD offers many avenues to serve others and grow my skills and advance my career