Schae Richards, community editor
To Brian Holbrook of Hyrum being a firefighter and paramedic is worth every risk to help the people in his community.
Brian’s interest in fire and his profession sparked when he was in England serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I walked past a building fire there,” he said. “I was intrigued, and knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Following his mission, Brian attended the fire academy and completed the paramedicine program at Utah Valley University in Orem. Brian has lived in Cache Valley for more than 12 years, and has worked for the Logan City Fire Department since then.
Brian, like the other firemen, work 48-hour shifts. They come on duty at 8 a.m. Their mornings typically consist of discussing procedures and protocol, doing vehicle inspections, going shopping and exercising. From there, they participate in some sort of fire or medical training and are able to catch up on personal things during the evening. On top of it all, they respond to calls in between each and every task. “We work a third of our life here, so the men here are like family,” Brian said. “There’s a great brotherhood here.”
Many of the firefighters also have medical training, so they spend most of their time using that training in real life situations. Fire-related calls (i.e. fire alarms, structural fires) make up about 10 percent of the calls at the fire department. Medical calls (i.e. breathing problems, chest pains) make up the other 90 percent.
When that alarm sounds, Brian, like the other crew members, are excited to get going and do their job. “There’s calls of excitement and anticipation,” he said. “Everyone still has that sense of excitement. They are happy to do their job, especially where we can really help someone out.”
Brian shared an experience when he was a new hire at the Hillcrest station, and got called on his first fire in the North Logan area. “My Captain Bob Vanslyke and I went into the front door of a large house that had a heavy fire in the basement, “he shared. “We took our tools, a radio and hose line. I recall feelings of excitement and wanting to move fast to find the fire; however, my captain was observant as he progressed to the stairs. He paid attention to the situation while I pulled the hose and charged to our destination.”
“When we got to the stairs we had fairly good visibility in the house; however, there was a thick black plume coming right up the stairs we were about to go down. It made me feel uncertain.” Brian continued. “Before we went down, my Captain was sure of the plan and we progressed down to a much warmer environment where we had to rely on touch to make our way around. We found the rooms that were raging, and I put water on the fire until my heart was content. That day I knew I was in the right job and haven’t really looked back since.”
Although the outcome of these situations doesn’t always end how he hopes, Brian said he loves his job and enjoys making a difference in the community. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
When he’s not at the fire department, you can find him spending time with his wife and four daughters, and mountain biking in the Wasatch Range. He also works part time with the University of Utah’s AirMed Program as a flight medic.