Scott Courser

Placeholder Man

“Helping people. Seeing that we’re making a difference. We’re there to help them, and I want to enjoy that, and enjoy the excitement when we get in the action. What I appreciate with the current shift I’m on is how we work so well together as a team.”

Scott Courser

Scott Courser


Station 6: Moose/Wilson Road


Where are you from? I am from Lansing Michigan.

When did you move to Jackson? 1993. Why? To work for the Forest Service as a river ranger. So I did that, did wildland firefighting, did some timber work, and eventually got my EMT and then I transferred over to this organization.

What do you do in your free time? That’s more difficult now than it was a couple years ago: biking, skiing, hiking, climbing…anything outdoors. Hunting, fishing…now it’s more family-related things. Getting the family out, doing things with the family, carting the kid around from adventure to adventure or activity to activity.

How long have you been a part of JH Fire/EMS? 1997.

What made you want to join JH Fire/EMS initially? Through working on the river and as a wildland firefighter, there were two or three occasions where someone got injured and I could have helped but I didn’t have the skills to help. So, at that point, I decided it would be a good idea, given the job I was doing, to get some medical training. When I did it, I did my EMT through what was then Teton County EMS. They asked if I wanted to join, so I did, and I was a volunteer for a couple years and then got hired as a paid staff member.

What is your role in the department? I am the engineer for Station 6 C shift. I do like the engineer position. I think it fits my skill set well. I enjoy the paramedic part of it, and I love helping people. I wanted to find a career that made a difference that I was proud of. I have always wanted to help with natural resources or the environment and then I slowly got involved in EMS and then eventually in Fire as well. What got me hooked was helping out the community and making a difference there. Anything where I’m helping people or the community makes my job worth it.

What are your current certifications? Paramedic, engineer, ropes rescue, I did have swiftwater rescue, but that’s not current anymore, hazmat awareness and operations, and engine boss.

What are your future goals in the department? Well it was the engineer position, but now that I’ve got that…I don’t know; I haven’t thought about that in a while. 

What about for the department? When you’re younger, you naturally have a lot of goals, but as you get older you don’t have as many. I guess what I would say is this: I want to ensure that I’m able to provide the level of service we need for this community, that I am fit, educated and trained so I can be the best that I can be.

What is your favorite part of the job? Helping people. Seeing that we’re making a difference. We’re there to help them, and I want to enjoy that, and enjoy the excitement when we get in the action. What I appreciate with the current shift I’m on is how we work so well together as a team.

What about the most challenging? The most challenging part of this job has always been the politics and the personalities and how to deal with those. Everyone has a different idea of how to do the right thing.

What advice would you give new recruits? Expect to put in a lot of time the first year or two, and make sure you have room in your schedule because your first couple years will definitely take a lot of time and a lot of education and upkeep. Come with an attitude to work with a lot of people and that you’re here to always help people out.

What is the most valuable skill or trait for someone to have in this line of work? A good personality. It’s important to be able to have patience with your team members but also the people you’re dealing with, and don’t make quick judgements. You just have to do it with a smile on your face…cleaning up poop, piss, blood, vomit… and expect to do that with a smile. If you don’t like doing it, then don’t do it. Digging through ashes and smoke and nasty crap like that…it’s what we’re here for.

What do you think you bring to the department? Hopefully years of experience and a calm and laid back personality. 

Who is your mentor or who is your moral compass? I know you’ve gotten this answer before, but since I’ve worked with him longer than anyone else, Chief Moyer is someone I have used as an incredible moral compass over the years. I have worked alongside him for 25 years now and if I have a question about morals or responsibility, he’s usually the one I talk to. “Be more Mike Like.”

How do you manage this job with your family? Shift work can be tough on a family: being gone 48 hours, being gone weekends, holidays, evenings, other family engagements…it can be tough because it’s not a typical work schedule. Some adapt really well, and others don’t. It is definitely something you need to be careful of. Something I would advise to new folks: this schedule can be detrimental to your family life. You can be in the middle of a family outing and have to leave and it can be really frustrating at times. I do appreciate when the department recognizes the family members because that’s a huge part of the equation. For this to work, the whole family has to be on board.