Since the beginning of the organized fire service, fire departments by tradition have had someone in the role of chaplain. In many departments, a local clergy person has been appointed chaplain to handle emergency situations within the department as well as fulfilling a traditional ceremonial role at fire department functions and conducting weddings and memorials for fire department family members.
The purpose of a Fire Chaplain is to be a ministry of presence to fire department personnel, their families and on the scene of an incident. A chaplain is trained to bring comfort and consolation to persons involved in critical incidents, natural catastrophes and/or incidents dealing with death.
A chaplain works with people facing a family crisis, on the job crisis, or during any critical incident. The chaplain does not replace a person’s pastor or spiritual leader. If the person has a spiritual leader or is in need of a professional counselor then a referral will be made.
Chaplain William Terhune
As a firefighter/EMT, I enjoy spending time with fellow members while participating in training and shift activities. This helps me understand, better assist and to be available when they have a need to talk. My goal is to allow them to be emotionally and spiritually secure even in the midst of a chaotic event.
I have been involved in the church as a minister in some capacity for over 25 years. As a member if the Federation of Fire Chaplains (FFC), I must have the current endorsement of a local church and be held accountable to their standards, be appointed to the position of Chaplain by the department’s Chief and completed the specific training required by the FFC.
Community Service Activities
In addition to being an active volunteer Fire fighter and EMT at the South Bay Fire Department; I am also involved in the following:
- Member of Federation of Fire Chaplains
- Chair of FIRST (Faith Communities Response Support Teams) for Thurston County
- Member of the DAC (Disaster Assistance Council) for Thurston County
- Inter-Faith Works member
If someone asks me what I believe, I will share with them as much as they want to know about my faith. I believe that God has the answer to mankind’s problems of pain and suffering. I am ready to discuss these issues with anyone and show them the power and love of God offered through Jesus Christ. Email Chaplain Terhune at email@example.com.
Chaplain Jonathan Clemens
Jonathan Clemens also serves as a fire chaplain with South Bay Volunteer Fire Department. Jonathan has ministered in various Churches of Christ since 1991. He holds a Master of Divinity from Pepperdine University. He is a 1995 graduate of the Northwest Church Ministry Internship in Shoreline, Washington and a 2007 graduate of the Police and Fire Chaplains Training Academy offered in cooperation with the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission. He is a member of the Federation of Fire Chaplains. In his other roles, Jonathan works as a physician assistant at Group Health Cooperative, teaches Emergency Medical Technician courses with Thurston County Medic One, and serves as a company officer at South Bay Volunteer Fire Department. Email Chaplain Clemens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chaplains have taken a pledge:
“I must be open to people of all faiths and help them use their faith resources in their time of crisis. I recognize that a personal crisis is often a turning point in someone’s life. It can become a time of faith renewal and recommitment. I want to be there to help them when this time comes.”
A chaplain must be available to help victims of tragedy as an initial response and in a limited follow-up capacity. Chaplains are on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for members, their families and victims.