FD like family business

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

FIREFIGHTING RUNS IN THE FAMILY —The newly named fire chief for Casco Fire and Rescue Department, Jason Moen (center) stands with his sons, (right) Ben Moen, age 14, and Cody Moen, 16. (De Busk Photo)

NAPLES — For Jason Moen, the opportunity to step into the position of Casco’s fire chief is similar to taking over the family business.

After all, he spent 26 years serving as a firefighter for departments in Naples, where he grew up, and in Casco since 1995. His son is a junior firefighter in Casco, following in father’s footsteps of public safety service.

When Moen decided he would run for the position of fire chief, he and his wife “talked about the commitment level. She thought it was a great idea.”

“My wife is 110 percent supportive of me,” he said.

Moen takes his family on a two-week camping trip every July, during time set aside as vacation from his full-time position as Deputy Chief of Police in Auburn.

When time permits, like most Mainers, Moen enjoys camping, boating, water skiing, winter skiing, fishing and hunting.

Moen will have a little less spare time, because in mid-May he took over the job when former Fire Chief John Small retired.

In mid-May, the Casco Fire and Rescue Department conducted their formal meeting, and fellow workers chose Moen for the position.

“It was more of a vote of confidence. They voted me into that position, and their expectations are high when it comes to administrative skills,” he said. “It’s going to be up to management to take it to that next level.”

Not only does Moen have administrative goals in mind, but those goals are on paper and ready to be enacted.

“We are in the process of establishing a management team for the fire department, re-doing the positions, and doing interviews,” Moen said.

He said the department will have a management team in place by Monday. Those on the team include an assistant fire chief, two deputy fire chiefs and two captains.

“We are rewriting job descriptions,” he said.

The restructuring of department responsibilities is the next logical step in formalizing the policies and procedures the fire department has adopted. Moen refers to it as “public safety management.”

“Part of my goal is coming up with a management plan that addresses personnel, performance, projects, and problems. Those will be the areas we will focus on,” he said. “You look at a problem: one of the things we are facing is lack of daytime coverage. It’s because a lot of our folks are working out of town. That’s a problem with volunteer organizations. Fire departments around the country are struggling with that problem.”

On the other hand, one of the objectives under the category of personnel: providing proper training for new volunteers.

“We’ve been blessed with a lot of members this last year. And, we need to get those people trained,” he said. “More members—that is encouraging for us.”

He is focused on the administrative transformation, and any other goals that are on the distant horizon.

“For now, getting that management plan into place is most important. Once, we get those established we can look to the future of the fire department. Once we get that good and solid, we can see what else we might want to accomplish,” he said.

And, Moen isn’t daunted by the task at hand.

“It’s also fun for me. You might say it’s more like a family business,” he said. “The fire department is a great group of people.”

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