Saturday, November 28, 2015 • 05:08

Carlsbad fire captain makes the move to VC Station 73

Captain Vance is settling in at Station 73. Photo by Michael Crane
October 27, 2013
Although Captain Richard Vance was only appointed fire captain at Valley Center Station 73 at the beginning of September, he already had some experience fighting fires in the area.

"In 2003 I was working on the wildland fires here in Valley Center," said Vance. "I was a firefighter on a strike team that responded up here." He has been on several strike teams fighting wildfires throughout the state over the years.

Vance comes to us from the City of Carlsbad Fire Department, where he was stationed for 24 years. He has an extensive background as an EMS coordinator, firefighter, and ambulance and helicopter paramedic, as well as serving as a captain since 2005. When he saw the opening for captains in Valley Center, he realized it was an exciting opportunity.

"I liked the idea of the transition, that it was going to require some more problem solving and extra effort," said Vance. "I like being able to apply my cumulative knowledge from other organizations and at the same time learning something from the new organization."

There have certainly been some challenges shifting from the more urban Carlsbad environment to Valley Center, but Vance says it's been "a good challenge." Although he may not have as many resources to rely on or multiple stations backing him up, Vance has come to appreciate the reliability of his new fire crew.

"I really enjoy working with the Valley Center firefighters," he said. "They're very enthusiastic and very willing to train and learn, and there's a lot of dedication to the community. There's so many of them that are from the community itself and they really care about how service is delivered here."

Vance has no plans to make any dramatic changes, other than to "maintain and improve the good reputation of this department." One of his goals as fire captain is to maintain a strong working relationship with the sheriff's department. While stationed in Carlsbad, Vance also worked as a paramedic for the San Diego County Sheriff's SWAT Team and came to appreciate the importance of interagency cooperation.

Born and raised in San Diego, Vance went to UCLA for college and then worked for the Los Angeles Fire Department before moving back to San Diego County. He now lives in Carlsbad with Jennie, his wife of 19 years who teaches 6th grade English. They have two children, Theo and Lilia, both of whom are in high school.

Vance recently completed his master's degree in public administration from San Diego State University, which has certainly helped with his captain duties. In his free time, Vance enjoys playing volleyball on the beach with his wife and taking trips down to Cancun.

"I like hanging out with my family," said Vance. "Sometimes we'll dabble in family history and genealogy."

Vance is excited to be in Valley Center right now, partly because he sees it as a town where many infrastructure changes will be taking place in the next few years.

"It's a beautiful area," said Vance on his new post. "I really enjoy working up here, especially the view out the back of the station. It's gorgeous."

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