Tim Harland

Tim Harland

“Being able to not only get the job done, but also to have the ability to perform under dynamic and destructive conditions is crucial.”

Tim Harland

Tim Harland

Volunteer FFII

Station 2: Wilson

Where are you from? What’s your story? I was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. I studied Industrial Engineering at Oregon State University while playing football and lacrosse. I worked as a litigation consultant in San Francisco and Los Angeles and I moved to Jackson in 1993 to open Snake River Brewing Company and I worked there for 20 years. I launched Wyoming Whiskey in 2012 and expanded Grand Teton Distillery starting in 2015. I obtained my real estate license in 2015 and founded Harland Brothers Real Estate in 2020. I became an owner of BHHS Jackson Hole in 2022. JH Chamber of Commerce past Board member and Chairman of the Board. Married with 2 native Jackson sons…and 1 big dog.

What is your role in the department? Volunteer out of Station 2.

How long have you been a part of JH Fire/EMS? 20 year volunteer firefighter, starting in 2001.

What made you want to join JH Fire/EMS? A number of reasons: one was that I was very fortunate to be drawn for the attainable housing out there in Wilson Meadows. So, not making much money in the initial onset of living here, it was really the only option for me to be able to be here with any longevity. I was fortunate to be drawn for one of the Wilson meadow lots and we built our house out there and really felt like I was fortunate to be in that region and in that part of town, and I felt like there was definitely a need to give back. That was the main thing. Plus a buddy of mine was living out there, John White, and he highly encouraged me to come onto the Fire Department. And you know, when you’ve got brawn and no brains, it’s what you do. Back then it was hilarious, it was kind of the Wilson boys club, basically you go to three meetings and if the guys are like ‘yeah you’re alright, jump in with us’, then you’re hired. It wasn’t nearly as regimented or structured then.

So did you start out with an emergency services, fire, or medical background? No, not at all. I mean I had basically boy scouts and I got my lifesaving merit badge back in the day. But that was really it. I’m trying to think if I did any CPR before that…no, that was it. I was basically wanting to be connected to and committed to the community. And my wife’s dad was a New York Firefighter: he fought in Brooklyn. We’re high school sweethearts, and he died when we were in high school because back then they didn’t have SCBA or any of this protective stuff and they would go into buildings and do rehab just breathing in and consuming all this methyl-ethyl-bad-shit, so he died of lung complications when we were initially dating and we named our son after him. So, that was a bit of an influence too, having Leo as a New York firefighter, like that’s a good extension of his history. Mainly though, it was connection to my community, the family firefighter on my wife’s side, and being able to extend that and pay that forward a little bit. 

What are your current certs? So I went through fire academy 1 and fire 2, and back in the day it was BEC (basic emergency care), so I was one of the first BEC’s out on the West Bank, responding before ALS could arrive. We would get called out a lot to certain incidents and our job was to just maintain and sustain the patient until ALS got there. I took one of the ADO’s too but I can’t really remember which one; I’ve gone through pretty much everything with extrication and low and high angle rescue too.

What are your future goals in the department? I’m 20 years in right? My initial thoughts were if I could make it to 20 years, that would be awesome and here I am.

What do you do in your free time? I spend it with my family. I love the power of place that is Jackson Hole and we like to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. I am definitely community-committed. I have been on the Fire Department, chairman of the board of JH COC, old west days, any way I can connect to the community. 

What is your favorite part of volunteering? Obviously the close relationships that I’ve created with my fellow firefighters. Being a part of something greater than yourself. The responsibility.

What about the most challenging? Keeping your regs up and being able to be effective in your role as a first responder. We get exceptional training through JH Fire/EMS, but unlike the paid staff, we’re not there every day. Having a life and balancing that with continual training and being available at any moment’s notice is probably the toughest.

What advice would you give new recruits? If you’re gonna do it, go all in. The more you put in, the more you get out. Take every training seriously, because that’s what you fall back on when the shit hits the fan.  

What do you wish you had known when starting? Don’t take anything for granted. We go on these calls, we go to other people’s problems, and it might be that person’s worst day of their whole life. A car wreck, a house fire, it is potentially someone’s nightmare. Don’t lose sight of the human aspect of an event; there’s collateral damage all around us. Almost as important to care for the individuals that are affected by it. Maintain and be cognizant of the human perspective. 

What is the most valuable skill or trait for someone to have in this line of work? Being committed to the community and being ready and willing and able to serve at a moment’s notice. You have to compartmentalize a lot of things. Being able to not only get the job done, but also to have the ability to perform under dynamic and destructive conditions is crucial. 

What do you think you bring to the department? Obviously the skill set, but also the sense of family and the ability to add humor to situations when need be. I enjoy being able to add a sense of family to the people within our station or within the organization as a whole. 

Who is your mentor? My mentor was John White: he’s the guy that encouraged me to join the department and taught me a lot about fire but also he was a library for Wilson history. Not only did I learn about firefighting and the SOP’s and what we do as firefighters, but he also gave me a great sense of history within our community which made me even more passionate about serving. 

How do you and your family deal with the unpredictable volunteering schedule? After 20 years, my family has become very accustomed to calls in the middle of the night. They’ve really never experienced anything but that. They grew up knowing the pager tones and they understood that if the tones go off, it might be 5 minutes and it might be 5 hours. My wife is very supportive of this endeavor and obviously she knows the importance of community safety.