Wash. fire district appoints first female asst. fire chief

The 16-year veteran Kristan Mauer has served as an engine captain and temporary battalion chief


By Andy Matarrese
The Columbian

CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — After more than 16 years with Clark County Fire District 6, Kristan Maurer has become the first woman to serve as one of the agency's assistant chiefs.

She was still wrapping her mind around the promotion Wednesday afternoon, a couple of hours after signing the papers.

"I feel pretty dang excited," she said. "It's been fun."

Previously, she was an engine captain at the district's station in Salmon Creek, and she was given a temporary promotion to battalion chief to help plan replacing the station.

"The position got big enough to where they thought they needed an administration position to help with it," she said.

In addition to planning for a new station, the new assistant chief position also handles district planning and logistics, meaning Maurer will be responsible for other capital projects, equipment upkeep and managing District 6's vehicle fleet.

Maurer joined the district in June 1999, starting as a firefighter and paramedic.

She has an associate degree in fire science from Portland Community College and bachelor's degree in paramedicine from Central Washington University. She's working on a master's degree in public administration.

She also completed the executive fire officer program at the National Fire Academy. The program is aimed at firefighters looking to move up to administration-level jobs. The four-year course accepts a small group of people per cycle, she said. Her group had two women and 26 men enrolled, she said, which is typical.

There's a good number of women working as firefighters and paramedics in Clark County, she said. Still, there are few who have been in the command ranks, she said, so the promotion felt pretty special.

As does working her way up to an assistant chief position with the district that offered her, at 24 years old, her first firefighting job, she said.

District 6 voters approved in November an increase in their property tax levy -- money that, in part, will go to new facilities.

Knowing she's planning a new station is a bit nerve-wracking, she said, but it's also a chance for her work to have a much wider impact on the district.

"You can really shape the future of our fire department, and that's really exciting for anybody when you have the opportunity to do that," she said.

Maurer lives in Portland with her husband, who's a firefighter at Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, and their two children.

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(c)2016 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.)

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