October 26, 1998
DUVALL--Newly appointed Fire District 45 Chief Bud Backer may be spending more of his time behind a desk these days, but that doesn't mean he will retire his firefighting gear.
"I consider myself a working chief," he said last week. "In smaller districts the chief needs to be able to respond to calls besides doing the administrative work. I'm maintaining my EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) status so I can still get in there and do the medical coordination, plus the command and control."
Backer was appointed to the position on Oct. 5. He has been Acting Chief since January 1 of this year, when former Chief Mercer Tyndall retired.
He said the selection process included a two-day battery of tests which occurred in September. Four others had also applied for the job.
Backer is a 10-year veteran of Duvall-King County Fire District 45 who came up through the ranks.
After graduating from Eastern Washington University in Cheney in 1984 with a bachelor of science degree in industrial technology, Backer went to work as a field engineer and senior designer for fire systems at Hanford.
And, from 1985-1988, he was a volunteer for the Benton County Fire Department in West Richland.
He was hired by Duvall-King County Fire District 45 in 1988 as a firefighter inspector.
"At that time, Duvall had no fire inspection program," Backer said. "So I set up the program here from scratch."
In 1990, Backer was promoted to Captain and in November of 1991 became Battalion Chief. In 1994 he was named as Deputy Chief.
Married with two children, he has been a Duvall resident since joining the department.
"The community and city have always given me plenty of support as Acting Chief," he said.
Although the district is still considered small, one of the greatest challenges the department is facing is the rapid growth in the community, he said.
In the next four to six years the population of Duvall is expected to double, adding another 4,000 or so citizens.
Backer said emergency response call volume is increasing at an average of 6.25 percent per year and estimates that in 2000 the department will answer 1,000 calls for assistance.
"Although the first part of the year was fairly quiet, over the last few months we have been pushing the envelope," he said. "We have really noticed the increase in growth."
The department has also been experiencing a shortage of volunteers over the last few years, due to the time commitment and training required.
"We are still shorthanded," he said. "The department is expecting to do another recruiting drive after Christmas."
Duvall-King County Fire District 45 Chief Bud Backer.