Tahoe NF Wildland Firefighters Dispatched to Oakland COVID Mass Vaccination Site
When not working incidents to protect the critical resources of our National Forest lands and adjacent communities from the risk of wildfire, our wildland firefighter EMTs will frequently respond to medical incidents.
As far as medical incidents go, this one sure is different! While not located within National Forest System land, the Oakland Coliseum is functioning as a Mass COVID Vaccination Site…and the Tahoe National Forest has deployed some of our talented wildland firefighter EMTs to help. This operation is similar in many ways to a large-scale multi-jurisdiction fire incident, with many different agencies coordinating across at various levels to achieve the same goal.
Proudly dispatched to this unique medical incident are Greg Lowdermilk from Engine 371, Jake Ward from Engine 373, Adam Smith from Engine 62, Toby Greenberg from the Tahoe Hotshots, and Shawn Burt, Battalion Chief 61.
Burt’s responsibilities, in particular, have been to provide oversight and coordination between the various agencies operating the Mass Vaccination Site.
Lowdermilk, Ward, Smith and Greenberg are all functioning as vaccine administers , performing dozens of patient vaccines per day. They are also serving in leadership positions -squad leaders- of the vaccinators within their group. This includes providing supervision and direction to their team members and other personnel, as well as assisting with logistical efforts throughout the day.
As of March 5, federal & state personnel, including 50+ Forest Service employees from the 18 national forests in California, hit the 100,000 milestone for COVID vaccines administered at the Coliseum site.
Our Tahoe National Forest firefighters assigned to this incident have described the assignment as ‘powerful’ and something they are grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in. We at the Tahoe National Forest are proud of the great work they’ve completed so far and the continuum of ‘Caring for the Land and Serving the People,’ wherever that may be.