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Firefighter is DCFD's Employee of the Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 15, 2003
Media Contact:  
Don Ciucci, Training Chief (650) 991-8139
Cole Stratton, Assistant Training Officer
(650) 746-8318

VETERAN FIREFIGHTER COLE STRATTON
IS DCFD’S ‘EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR’


Daly City - Cole Stratton, a Daly City Firefighter for nearly 20 years whose main duty is supervising Daly City’s Medical Emergency Advanced Life Support Program, is the fire department’s “Employee of the Year 2002”, announced Fire Chief Ron Myers.

One of four finalists, Stratton was unanimously chosen by the Selection Committee for his efforts “to improve patient care and survivability of persons involved in life-threatening medical emergencies in Northern San Mateo County.” As the department’s Assistant Training Officer, a position created in 2001 to address the increasingly challenging Emergency Medical Services program, Stratton is credited with helping define the parameters of the position and the program.

“Cole is an outstanding example of a professional firefighter committed to excellence in the field of training. As a certified instructor and trainer, he is an invaluable member of our team, and an unsung hero to many residents whose lives have been saved due to the quality of our emergency response program,” said Training Chief Don Ciucci.

Stratton joined DCFD in 1983, a feat the veteran firefighter chose as one of his defining moments. “I remember the grueling interview process, which involved several tests requiring us to prove ourselves over and over again. It was hard work, physically and mentally, but getting the phone call from Daly City, and hearing that I’ve been hired as a professional city firefighter made it all worth it,” recalled Stratton.

In January 2001, he was promoted to the Assistant Training Officer position. He is instructor-certified in Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Education, CPR / First Aid, Rapid Rescue Techniques and Electronic Defibrillation.

“There is a great deal of ongoing training required for our medical personnel. Cole has become a certified instructor in almost every current subject area, both medical and fire suppression related. He trains Daly City firefighters as well as other fire personnel in the county’s northern zone,” explained Chief Ciucci.

“Cole has elevated the standards for the emergency medical service delivery program in Daly City to new heights. He fulfills his regular duties, in addition to completing several tasks typically assigned to the Assistant Fire Chief, a position that has remained unfilled. This award recognizes Cole’s professional abilities to perform above and beyond the norm, without complaints, and always as a problem solver,” Chief Ciucci elaborated.

Daly City’s program is part of San Mateo County’s nationally recognized Advanced Life Support and EMS program. This award-winning collaboration partners local fire agencies with American Medical Response (AMR), a private ambulance provider. It requires a continuous level of medical skills training for the fire personnel, an area which ATO Stratton supervises.

“Cole personifies the quality of work and commitment that should be status quo in Daly City’s rank-and-file,” noted Mayor Adrienne Tissier. “This award recognizes his personal achievements as well as his unique contribution to an excellent team of public safety professionals.”

As a veteran firefighter, Stratton has witnessed tragedies, but he has also seen the many positive results that training and experience have made in difficult situations. “When you can mini-mize the grief someone is feeling during an emergency, you have made a difference,” he said.

The 45-year-old Stratton also cited the lifetime friendships he has made, even while training the crews on the drill ground and the camaraderie this activity promotes, as “most gratifying”. Completing paramedic school at age 41 was “a challenge but very rewarding,” he added.

Prior to joining DCFD, Stratton, at age 18, joined the United States Air Force, where he was a firefighter from 1975 to 1979. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management, and an Associate degree in Fire Science.

Cole has three daughters: Heather, 23, Lindsey, 20, and Paige, 16, and a year-old grandson. His fiancée, Anna Cirimele, is a lifelong resident of San Mateo County.

The Selection Committee is comprised of the previous award recipients since 1998. The six-member DCFD panel included John Ballesteros, Ronnie Goo, Linda Kleinheinz, Tony Maffei, Sue McGuirk and Frank Panacci. The other finalists this year were Capt. Chris Petersen, Capt. Gary Souza and Inspector Bob Marshall.