Information and Education Committee
From Jack Smith, Chief NSB Fire Dept.
It is with great sorrow the Fire Department reports the passing of Emergency Medical Technician III Terri Ekalook. Terri served as a Lieutenant with the Barrow Volunteer Fire Department managing one of the four remaining ambulance crews. For those that did not get a chance to know her, let me share a few tidbits.
Terri began her service approximately 20 years ago. During her career she served as an EMS Instructor, flew medevac missions, fought fires, and responded to medical emergencies. Terri was one of the advocates that brought SAFE Kids funding to the North Slope Borough resulting in helping support bicycle rodeos, Kid’s Don’t Float campaigns, and other injury prevention activities. Terri had maintained her EMT certification since 1993.
A short relocation to Fairbanks could not quell the passion, as Terri’s husband Harry soon found her volunteering with a fire department there. Upon returning to Barrow, Terri was once again a regular on the ambulance crew and all were glad to see her smiling face and determination. Crew members cited her willingness to share knowledge and experience, and when needed provide the prompting to encourage others to perform to the level she knew they possessed.
Terri was active in helping support volunteer fundraising efforts to recognize those providing this essential service. This included taking on leadership roles in the Christmas potluck and if need be strong-arming donations. Few were able to resist the compassion and drive once Terri took on a cause.
As the North Slope Borough Risk Manager, Terri once again had a cause to save lives and protect property. She took this challenge to heart and was responsible for many accomplishments that make our work safer. During the past few years she helped with the replacement of multi-gas detectors across the slope, replacement of personal protective clothing, purchase of ice cleats and other safety items, as well as supporting the purchase of carbon monoxide detectors the Fire Department could install in the homes of seniors and low income residents. If you could sell her on an idea to reduce injury, death, or property loss, others had best join the cause or get out of the way.
Terri did not separate her fire service family from the one at home. She encouraged her daughter to join the organization and often dragged Harry, the kids, and grandkids along to events. On the way back to the station following a call, Terri frequently updated members on the family, often with the latest goofy story of her and the grandkids. She shared her loves and passions with all. She touched many either directly with the care she provided or indirectly by efforts to reduce risk.
A memorial service for Terri will be held at the Assembly of God Church in Barrow, followed by burial in Fairbanks. The Fire Department is working with the family on acceptance donations. Please join us by keeping the family in your prayers.
Nome Volunteer Ambulance Department