Anchorage Fire Department firefighter/paramedic Christopher “Doug” Widener was off duty and driving down the Old Seward Highway this past January when his daughter pointed out smoke coming from a local business.
Widener didn’t hesitate. He pulled into the parking lot and went to work, using his training to evacuate and account for everyone in the building, including a woman he found confused and disoriented in a second-floor room filling with smoke.
For his actions, Widener was named Firefighter of the Year at the Alaska Fire Service Awards banquet held late last month at the Alaska Fire Conference in Ketchikan. And he wasn’t alone.
• Department of Public Safety Rural Fire Training Coordinator Lisa Shield was recognized as Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year for her extraordinary commitment to the development and implementation of fire prevention and safety programs for Alaska’s rural communities.
• The Ken Akerley Fire Service Leadership Award went to Anchorage Fire Department Deputy Chief Brian Keene for his work to restructure the Operations Division from a primarily fire response staffing model to a broader focus on the delivery of EMS which represents the majority of AFD responses.
The Annual Fire Service Awards recipients are nominated by their peers for exceptional service to their communities during the preceding year. The selection committee is made up by the award recipients from the prior year.