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Meet Our Chiefs

Chief David LaFave

Chief Dave LaFave began his fire service career with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue as a volunteer in March 1983. He was hired full time as a firefighter in March 1986 and served in Operations for most of his career. In 1993, Dave was promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations and continued in that position until November 2000 when he was promoted to his current position as Fire Chief. His educational background includes an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Fire Protection from Portland Community College, a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and Completion of the NIMS Performance Based Training System up to and including S-520, Advanced Incident Management for qualifications as a National Type 1 Incident Commander. He has been involved in the management of various types of emergencies including floods, landslides, major haz-mat events, natural gas pipeline explosions, hurricanes and wildfires with assignments in many states.
Chief LaFave is involved with many boards and committees including the Board for the Washington Fire Chiefs Association, PNWCG Steering Committee, Cowlitz County Guidance Association Board of Directors and Washington State Fire Defense Committee. Additionally, Chief LaFave is certified as a Washington State Fire Service Instructor and is a qualified lead instructor for many ICS elements related to the USFA All Hazard Incident Management Program. He also provides presentations related to leadership and developing High Reliability Organizations (among other topics throughout the United States). Chief LaFave is involved in local civic organizations including Kelso Rotary and the Eagles. Chief LaFave is married to Amy and has three children, Lacey, Jake and Ryan. He enjoys riding his motorcycle, hunting, military history and working with heavy equipment.

Deputy Chief Becky Ribelin

Deputy Chief Ribelin graduated from LCC Nursing School in 1978 and worked for thirty years as an RN at the local hospital. Twenty-three of those thirty years were spent in the Emergency Department. This is where she established her niche in emergency medicine and also met many of the people that she would later work with at Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue. Chief Ribelin earned her Bachelor of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Linfield College in1998. It was at this point that she decided to expand her career and apply for employment outside the hospital. She was hired by C2FR in 1999 as the EMS Administrator and was promoted to the Deputy Chief position in 2013. She oversees the ALS ambulance transport program which includes 2500 patient transports per year. Chief Ribelin is an AHA BLS and an AHA ACLS instructor since 2001. She also is a Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) Instructor as well as a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) through the ENA. She serves on the Cowlitz County EMS & Trauma Care Council.

She lives in the local area with her husband Gary. They raised 3 sons who also live in the local area with their families. Favorite pastimes include coffee, rowing and grandchildren.