Fire District 3's Debbie Dobson named state's Volunteer Fire Officer of the Year


Spokane County Fire District 3

Spokane County Fire District 3 battalion chief Debbie Dobson was presented with the Washington State Fire Fighters’ Association’s Volunteer Fire Officer of the Year award by association president T.J. Nedrow at the association’s 90th annual conference.

Like many volunteers, Debbie Dobson chose to become a firefighter with Spokane County Fire District 3 through a desire to serve and give back to the community. Eventually she got hooked, and earlier this month her desire and enthusiasm were rewarded in an unexpected way.

Dobson was named the Volunteer Fire Officer of the Year by the Washington State Fire Fighters’ Association, receiving the award at the association’s 90th annual conference June 6-8 in Wenatchee.

“It came totally out of the blue,” Dobson said, adding she first learned she was the award recipient about two weeks before the conference. “I felt very honored. Fire District 3 has provided a lot of opportunities for me.”

“I was thrilled,” SCFD 3 Fire Chief Bruce Holloway said. “She’s well deserving, always doing more than she needs to. If you’re going to pick one, it’d be her, but I think all our people are exceptional.”

It’s a sentiment Dobson shares as well. A volunteer since 1994, Dobson operates as a firefighter out of station No. 32 just outside Medical Lake. As a battalion chief, however, she covers the entire district, handling issues throughout the force that provides fire suppression and other services over 565 square miles when other full-time chiefs are off duty.

“My role is to be in charge of anything that goes on in the district at that time,” she said.

Dobson said she has a lot of respective for Holloway, District 3 commissioners and the rest of the personnel, adding their approach to firefighting is very “progressive.” Besides being a firefighter, Dobson also serves as a scuba diving instructor and is the assistant manager at Riverfront Park, a position she has held for 14 years.

The Washington State Fire Fighters’ Association is the state’s oldest fire service organization, founded in 1923. Membership includes more than 400 fire departments and districts representing approximately 16,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders.

John McCallum can be reached at


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