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Friday, April 12, 2024
NewsJason Schoonover settling into his role as new Milpitas Fire Chief

Jason Schoonover settling into his role as new Milpitas Fire Chief

Jason Schoonover officially became Milpitas’ new Fire Chief on March 27 of this year. 

Although Chief Schoonover stepped into this role just a few months ago, he’s long been a familiar face at the Milpitas Fire Department (MFD)…

He’s been working at MFD for the past decade. He served as a Battalion Chief in 2013, and was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2022. Before coming to Milpitas, he was in Washington State, working for a fire district just outside of Seattle for 14 years. 

“That was where I got started in my career. I got hooked and never looked back,” said Chief Schoonover in an interview with The Beat. 

Schoonover feels fortunate to have joined a department that he feels offers a positive culture, an opportunity for growth, and great support from the community and City. 

“One of the things that makes Milpitas unique from other communities from a fire perspective, is that the community has a unique risk profile,” said Schoonover. “Just about any type of emergency response challenge you can conceive of is represented right here in Milpitas.” 

Chief Schoonover said that the Milpitas Fire Department responds to about 6,000 calls per year. He spoke about some of the target hazards that the Milpitas Fire Department responds to, which include accidents on the 880 and 680 freeways, as well as incidents at the BART station, multiple hazardous materials facilities, mid-rise and high-rise buildings, and the Great Mall. He also mentioned the significant wildland areas in the hills. 

“A Milpitas firefighter can find themselves extricating a patient from interstate 880 one moment and extinguishing a wildland fire or vegetation fire up on the hillside near Monument Peak the next,” Chief Schoonover explained. 

Chief Schoonover noted that the firefighting profession has changed tremendously in the last 20 years…

“The firefighters you see on the streets are trained to respond to much more than putting out fires. They’re also medical first responders in the community,” mentioned Schoonover. “Over 70 percent of our annual call volume is related to Emergency Medical Services (EMS).”

One of Chief Schoonover’s goals as Fire Chief is to continue investing in and enhancing the EMS division. He feels that this is an area where the fire department has a truly remarkable ability to make a difference in the community every single day. 

He also feels that it’s important to find additional ways to invest in the long-term physical and mental health of our firefighters. Although there are numerous positive aspects to the profession, Schoonover acknowledges that being in this line of work can take a heavy toll – and he wants all firefighters to be able to go home in positive mental and physical condition every day.  

“I view my role as a new fire chief to continue to support all the great work our members are doing daily. We’ve assembled an incredible team of men and women who are motivated to embrace new concepts and ideas that provide a high level of service to our community,” Schoonover shared.  

Last Fall, after two years of construction and modernization work, Fire Station 2, located at 1126 Yosemite Drive, officially opened its doors. 

“The planning and the development of the new Fire Station 2 was many years in the making,” said Chief Schoonover. “And it’s truly a testament to the extraordinary support of our City staff, our council, and most importantly, the community.”  

He then added: 

“Our firefighters love to show off [the new station], so if there’s anybody who hasn’t seen it yet, they’re welcome to stop by and take a look.”


Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.


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