Holly 2

Holly vanSchaick

Holly vanSchaick has spent most of her life on one island or another.  After growing up on Oahu, Holly and her family relocated to Bainbridge Island in 2006. Holly started her career in Fire/EMS as a volunteer in 2007, and went on to become the first female career firefighter paramedic at Sunnyside Fire Department in Yakima County in 2010.

She comes to OIFR after spending the last 9 years of her career in Skagit County.

Holly has a passion for bringing all responders together as one team, keeping the driving focus on unified public service.

“A thriving combination fire department means nurturing an environment that is healthy for all department members, and encourages members with opportunities to grow and evolve as life and needs change.  The public receives the best possible end product in service delivery when such an inclusive environment respects and welcomes the talents and strengths offered by a diverse community of individuals.”

Holly was appointed as the Chief by the Board of Fire Commissioners, starting on August 21st, 2023, after the retirement of Scott Williams.

Assistant Chief


Don Swain

Don joined OIFR in 2021 as a Lieutenant Fire/Paramedic after 25 years in the fire service. Before his promotion to Assistant Chief, he took on many operations positions, helped train volunteers, and was a member of our Safety Committee and the Labor Management and Negotiations Committee for the Local 3911 Labor Union. As Assistant Chief, Don will be in a more administrative role, taking on critical positions, including training coordinator, but will continue his paramedic license to be on call when we need a second paramedic.

In preparation for this advance in his career, Don has held many roles in the fire service over the last 25 years. Don began his venture in 1998 by enrolling in an EMT Basic class in Utah. Over the next five years, he worked two seasons as a Wildland Firefighter, where he was chosen to work on an Urban Interface Engine and was trained to be a Squad Boss. He started as a Firefighter/EMT and then volunteered for three years as an EMT for a municipal fire department providing 911 response, where he was promoted to Captain. He then went to Utah Valley University’s Paramedic Program, where he completed an associate degree in Fire Science with a Paramedic emphasis. All of this prepared him for his full-time career in the Fire Service, which began in the fall of 2003.

In late 2003, he completed the Salt Lake County Fire Department “Boot Camp,” which was a highly sought-after position with over 1500 applicants. In the end, Don was one of 6 who made it through probation. He rapidly gained a reputation as an aggressive firefighter. He then joined a six-person Truck Company where team dynamics and functional operations became a way of life. While working for Salt Lake County Fire Department, Don was promoted to Senior Paramedic. At that time, he completed a bachelor’s in health Promotion and Education from the University of Utah.

In January 2011, Don Swain moved his family to Washington State and began working for the City of Anacortes Fire Department. He is the proud father of three boys. For 11 years, he built a Vehicle Extrication and helped build the High-angle Rope Rescue Program. At the end of his time with the City of Anacortes, he was in the process of being promoted to Lieutenant.  He then accepted a position here at OIFR as a Lieutenant Firefighter/Paramedic, and 14 months later, he was at the top of the testing list and promoted to the position of Fire Training Captain.

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