Thursday, September 24, 2020

Retired Kusz enters next chapter

Jim Kusz retires from NLFR, has plans

Latest articles

Amy Ryan Courser blasts do-nothing politicians for wildfire negligence

Heads should roll on Nov. 3 for slipshod forest policies that changed Oregon into a tinderbox waiting for a spark, declared a contender for Congress who is turning the U.S. 5th District into a hot seat. 

Lincoln County/A Galaxy of Stars

Behold the sinister orange glow that highlights the struggling red sun's attempt to melt the dense smoke.

Depoe Bay resident boosts Portland Police morale with gift bags

A Depoe Bay woman recently organized delivery of gift bags to an embattled Portland Police Bureau, who have been the target of attacks by rioters in the City of Roses.

Multi-agency Resource Center opening at Lincoln City Outlets

Lincoln County community services and FEMA are hosting a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that will be available for those whose homes and businesses were affected by the Echo Mountain Complex Fire and accompanying wind event.

Lincoln City man shoots self in groin at checkout

Lincoln City Police responded to McKay's Market Sunday for a reported gunshot wound, discovering a man had accidentally shot himself in the groin.

Echo Mountain Complex: 293 homes destroyed, Zero fatalities

Officials with the Echo Mountain Complex have completed preliminary structural damage assessments in the fire area and 293 residential structures have been determined to be a total loss.

Echo Mountain Complex Fire 40 percent contained

A lack of expected rain hasn’t stopped firefighters from getting more control over the Echo Mountain Wildfire as 40 percent of the fire is contained and mopping up efforts are underway. 

New ‘dignified’ donation distribution center at Lincoln City Outlets

Lincoln County Public Health officials and members of the Lincoln City church community will be opening a centralized donation distribution center in Lincoln City, 2 p.m. Tuesday to get needed supplies in the hands of people affected by the wildfires.

Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire 33 percent contained

A milestone was reached for firefighters on the Echo Mountain Complex yesterday as 100 percent of the control line has been completed on both fires.

Garbage fire at North Lincoln Sanitary Service

North Lincoln Fire and Rescue responded to a fire inside a garbage truck behind the main office of North Lincoln Sanitary Service Monday evening.

Most popular

Evacuations in effect for Lincoln City

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for all of Lincoln City from 40th street north. Level 3 means go now.

Fire strikes historic Otis Cafe on Independence Day

North Lincoln Fire Rescue units swarmed the Otis Cafe shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday to combat a fully involved fire at the iconic restaurant.

Highway 101 hole prompts ODOT to call in geologists

Oregon Department of Transportation officials have called in geologists Thursday to take core samples of a hole on southbound Highway 101 in Otis.

Lincoln City wildfires update

Lincoln City government issued an update Thursday on wildfires north of the city, saying all evacuation orders are still in effect and residents are not allowed in the area.

An evacuated Lincoln City sits dark and intact

Lincoln City Police were active Wednesday night and were patrolling with spotlights in a town evacuated and once again without power.

Local men face drug, weapons charges following ATF search and arrest raid

Two Lincoln City men and a Cloverdale resident were charged Wednesday after Special Agents from the ATF Seattle Field Division executed multiple federal search and arrest warrants in Lincoln City.

Longtime North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District Captain, safety expert and video producer Jim Kusz retired from fire service Friday, and took the time to give an exclusive interview about tsunamis, the Covid-19 coronavirus, his four-decade-spanning safety career and working with Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka.

His future plans include travelling with his wife of 20+ years, Diane, and going back to his roots producing commercials and other media while still finding time to keep citizens prepared for disaster.

Jim and Diane Kusz
Jim and Diane Kusz

Kusz, pronounced koosh, is the 71,886th most common surname in the world. “It’s Polish,” says Kusz. “People have been pronouncing it “Coos” forever — so we kinda go by that.” People from the West Coast all the way to Chicago know the name and know it to stand for “someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about.”

Kusz is an authority on safety preparedness, having pioneered many safety training videos and programs over his 40-year career.

The 26-year Lincoln City resident teaches an award-winning class at Oregon Coast Community College that deals with preparing for natural disasters, such as zombie outbreaks, asteroid impacts and tsunamis. It’s the most attended class at Oregon Coast Community College. Kusz said he will continue teaching the class and plans to offer more of them with an expanded curriculum.

Kusz is well respected throughout fire service and disaster preparedness circles and his work has permeated into other non-emergency professions such as the Department of Human Services. Those this reporter spoke with said Kusz is a “straight-shooter” and “really knows his stuff.”

A brief history of Jim Kusz

After receiving a degree in communications from Northeastern Illinois University in 1980, Kusz went to work at WTTW-TV where he worked on Soundstage and Sneak Previews with Siskel and Ebert.

In the mid-80s he moved to Costa Mesa, Calif., and worked for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) where he wrote safety curriculum and produced videos for the MSF, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America and the ATV Safety Institute.

Kusz headed back to Chicago a short time later to work with the Hayes Group, LTD., producing award-winning training films and motivational series including the highly-successful Coach Talk and Ditka on Motivation.

jim kusz coach talk

Kusz moved to Oregon in 1989 and went on a producing rampage, pumping out dozens of safety training videos while working for Safety Training Systems in Portland. He won three Telly Awards for his work.

In 1993, Kusz started his own production company producing for Landmark Ford and Oregon Coast Bank. That same year, he became a volunteer firefighter for West Linn after seeing a poster that piqued his curiosity. Kusz went on to make an 18-episode travel program named Explore Northwest and later named Oregon Coast Explorer.

After the 9/11 attacks Kusz went to New York with a group of Lincoln County residents. He stayed at sister fire station FDNY Engine Co. 55 where he recorded and sent video updates of the group’s outreach from Rockefeller Center to NBC affiliate KGW-TV in Portland. Upon returning to Oregon, Kusz made the documentary 9/11-A Coast to Coast Story.

Kusz began working for North Lincoln Fire & Rescue (NLFR) in 2003 and produced the first Severe Event Training workbook and programs in cooperation with the American Red Cross, TVF&R and NLFR. Kusz is also responsible for the J.A.W.S. (Just Add Water Safety) brochure that can be found all over Lincoln City.

Jim’s production company, Rescue 8 Productions, produces and shoots documentaries, training DVDs and commercials. In 2009, Rescue 8 Productions, Oregon State Parks, and KATU-TV produced Washed Away, a film about beach and water safety that aired on the Portland ABC affiliate and later was made available on DVD and used for free in classrooms throughout Lincoln County with a grant from State Farm Insurance.

Kusz was selected as Tsunami Outreach Organizer in 2010 and worked with Seal Rock, Yachats and Waldport communities, creating programs and establishing a culture of awareness for earthquake and tsunami risks with funding from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

In 2015, Kusz was awarded the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s “Golden Sparky” award for his efforts in fire prevention and life safety.

He received the 2018 Oregon Association of Community and Continuing Education Community Educator of the Year award for his course, “Disaster Preparedness in the Pacific Northwest.”

- Advertisement -
Justin Werner
Justin Wernerhttps://wernerhost.com/
Justin Werner is founder and publisher of Lincoln City Homepage and a journalist reporting news for the fine citizens of Lincoln City, Oregon and beyond. He's on a mission to seek out truth and isn't afraid to be the tip of the spear for freedom of the press. When he's not wearing his reporter hat, you can find him enjoying the Oregon Coast with his wife and three children.

RELATED ARTICLES

Garbage fire at North Lincoln Sanitary Service

North Lincoln Fire and Rescue responded to a fire inside a garbage truck behind the main office of North Lincoln Sanitary Service Monday evening.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisements -

Trending

Depoe Bay resident boosts Portland Police morale with gift bags

A Depoe Bay woman recently organized delivery of gift bags to an embattled Portland Police Bureau, who have been the target of attacks by rioters in the City of Roses.

Amy Ryan Courser blasts do-nothing politicians for wildfire negligence

Heads should roll on Nov. 3 for slipshod forest policies that changed Oregon into a tinderbox waiting for a spark, declared a contender for Congress who is turning the U.S. 5th District into a hot seat. 

Lincoln City man shoots self in groin at checkout

Lincoln City Police responded to McKay's Market Sunday for a reported gunshot wound, discovering a man had accidentally shot himself in the groin.

Echo Mountain Complex: 293 homes destroyed, Zero fatalities

Officials with the Echo Mountain Complex have completed preliminary structural damage assessments in the fire area and 293 residential structures have been determined to be a total loss.

Multi-agency Resource Center opening at Lincoln City Outlets

Lincoln County community services and FEMA are hosting a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that will be available for those whose homes and businesses were affected by the Echo Mountain Complex Fire and accompanying wind event.

Lincoln County/A Galaxy of Stars

Behold the sinister orange glow that highlights the struggling red sun's attempt to melt the dense smoke.

Lincoln City wildfires update

Lincoln City government issued an update Thursday on wildfires north of the city, saying all evacuation orders are still in effect and residents are not allowed in the area.

Evacuations in effect for Lincoln City

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for all of Lincoln City from 40th street north. Level 3 means go now.

An evacuated Lincoln City sits dark and intact

Lincoln City Police were active Wednesday night and were patrolling with spotlights in a town evacuated and once again without power.