FIRE CHIEF - Christopher Way
Christopher Way has been an emergency service professional for 28 years. Chief Way transitioned to Kootenai County Fire and Rescue as the Fire Chief in May of 2020 after serving as the Chief Officer for the Kootenai County EMS System for the previous seven years.
Chief Way came to Idaho from Kansas where he served in Fire and EMS roles in urban, sub-urban and rural settings. He was an EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and now has been a licensed paramedic since 1994 as well as a certified Firefighter. Throughout his career he has held different ranks culminating most recently in his promotion to Fire Chief. He also has significant experience in disaster management at the local, state and national level.
In addition to his full-time role as Fire Chief he is involved at the local, regional, state and national level in advocacy and leadership for emergency services. He is a regular speaker at national conferences and in his spare time Chief Way and two partners own an Emergency Medicine education and consulting company.
Passionate about emergency medical care, Governor Brad Little selected Chief Way to be the Chairman of the Idaho Time Sensitive Emergency Council in May of 2019. He has a bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Relations and maintains all of his Fire and EMS licenses/certifications. He regularly donates time to his community, serves local non-profit organizations and is involved in his children’s many activities.
Chris and his wife Jennifer live in Hayden, Idaho with their two daughters and four Labradors.
DEPUTY CHIEF OF SUPPORT SERVICES - Dan Ryan
Chief Dan Ryan started his Fire Service career in 1984 as a volunteer with Post Falls Fire District, promoted through the ranks to Captain and was hired as the Fire Marshal in 1991. He has been in the position of Division Chief of Prevention, Division Chief of Support Services to include the Fire Marshal’s office, Fleet Maintenance and Logistics, Division Chief of Emergency Services (Operations) and was selected as the Deputy Chief in 2017.
Chief Ryan is a member of the County, North Idaho and Idaho Fire Chief Associations. In 2011, he was appointed by the County Commissioners as a Deputy Emergency Operations Center Manager. He was a member of Western Fire Chiefs and participated in the Code Hearings while Western was responsible for the Fire Code. He has been a District Representative and Vice President of the Idaho Chapter of the I.A.A.I. and a District Rep for the Idaho Fire Prevention Officers Group. He also was an Operations Section Chief for the County Type III Incident Management Team and the State’s All Hazard Type III Team. In 2000, he became a National Wildfire Coordinating Group qualified Division Supervisor and was assigned to a Region 1 Type II Team for that fire season.
In March 2017, He retired as a First Sergeant from the Idaho Army National Guard First. He resides in Post Falls with his wife Liz, five adult children and six grandchildren.
DEPUTY CHIEF OF OPERATIONS - Pete Holley
Pete began his Fire Service career as a volunteer in 2009 in Eagle Idaho. In the same year he began the process to become a Paramedic by attending school at the College of Southern Idaho. He earned his associate degree in Paramedicine and became a Paramedic in 2011. Pete came to North Idaho after being offered a Firefighter Paramedic position at Kootenai County Fire and Rescue in August of 2011. He has spent much of his career as a Firefighter Paramedic and has also served as a Captain. Pete has also continued his educational pursuits by obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Paramedicine from Central Washington University. Pete was selected to be the Deputy Chief of Operations in February of 2023.
Pete is married to his wonderful wife of 23 years, and they have 5 boys that keep them very busy. They enjoy camping, outdoor activities and all things sports related
DIVISION CHIEF OF TRAINING - Bryon Johnson
Bryon’s career began in July of 1998 as a volunteer with Kootenai County Fire Protective District #1 as a Firefighter/EMT. In 2002 he was hired as a Driver for Kootenai County Fire & Rescue which was the consolidation of Kootenai County Fire Protective District #1 and Post Falls Fire Department. 2003 brought new opportunities for him with his promotion to Lieutenant, then Captain, where he spent the majority of his career. In 2020, Bryon promoted to a Battalion Chief until his current rank Division Chief of Training and Safety was achieved in 2022.
Kootenai County Fire & Rescue has many disciplines our members and staff are accomplished and proficient in performing to best suit the ever-changing needs of the community when a call for assistance is made no matter the nature. In 1999 Bryon pursued the discipline of Hazardous Materials since Kootenai County Fire Protective District #1 initially hosted the State Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team. This initial training and response to hazardous materials incidents has led to a 24-year commitment Bryon made to the public, the Fire Department and our professional partners, the Regional HazMat Team members, and State IOEM Offices including the Governor to support these affiliations by affording training and responding to incidents when they occur. Bryon is the Team Leader for the Hazardous Materials Team both locally and at the State level and enjoyed watching the growth in this role the past 17 years in this capacity.
Bryon and his incredible wife Wendy live in Liberty Lake, Washington and enjoy watching what course their daughter’s exciting life is affording her as well as the new experiences she shares with us.
DIVISION CHIEF OF LOGISTICS - Mitchell Copstead
Mitchell was born and raised in North Idaho and is a fourth-generation firefighter serving in this area. Mitchell started his fire service career in 2002, as a volunteer with Kootenai County Fire and Rescue. In 2005 he graduated from Spokane Community College with an associate degree in Fire Science. From 2006-2009 Mitchell worked as a firefighter and shift officer at Timberlake Fire Department. Mitchell was hired full-time with Kootenai County Fire & Rescue in 2009 and completed his Paramedic in 2012. Mitchell has been promoted through the ranks from Firefighter to Engineer to Captain and in 2023, was promoted to Division Chief of Logistics.
Mitchell is married to his lovely wife of 16 years, and they have 2 children. They enjoy camping, fishing, and riding motorcycles.
DIVISION CHIEF OF EMS - Kevin Lawler
DIVISION CHIEF OF PREVENTION & FIRE MARSHAL - Jeryl Archer
Jeryl started as a volunteer with Post Falls Fire Protective District #1 in 1994. In 1996 he was employed by Kootenai County Fire Protection District #1. At KCFPD#1 he moved up through the ranks and developed additional skills becoming a member of the Region 1 Hazmat Team, a Fire Boat Captain and an Idaho state instructor in the fields of Extrication and Building Construction. He has been with the district for 26 year was a founding member of the honor guard. After the consolidation he served a term as president of IAFF L2856 and spent over 20 years on the grievance committee.
Jeryl was recently promoted to Division Chief of Prevention. In 2011 he was appointed to the position of Fire Marshal. In this position he has developed strong working relationships with the business community. The multiple governmental agencies he works with as a code enforcer and an entirely different set of agencies as a Fire Investigator. Jeryl has developed an Engine company inspection program that focuses on firefighter safety first and addresses the safety concerns of our community.
Jeryl is married to his amazing wife Sheri and has two adult children.
DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION - Casey Hamilton
Casey brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role as the Director of Administration at Kootenai County Fire & Rescue. Her background in process improvement, data analytics, healthcare finance, and corporate compliance positions her well for success in her role for KCFR. Having served as a Compliance Officer for a local Community Health Center, Casey has a strong foundation in ensuring regulatory adherence and best practices.
With 20 years of experience under her belt, Casey has a deep understanding of the intricacies of healthcare administration. Her commitment to efficiency and process improvement is already evident in the positive changes she is making on the administrative side of the district. Despite being newer to the public safety sector, her enthusiasm and dedication to forward motion bode well for the continued success of Kootenai County Fire & Rescue.
Casey's educational background is notable, having completed her bachelor's degree in healthcare administration in 2010 and more recently obtaining her master's degree in legal studies in 2021. This combination of healthcare administration and legal studies illustrates a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory landscape and a well-rounded skill set.
Outside of her professional achievements, Casey's personal life is marked by a strong family foundation. She resides in Hayden, Idaho, with her wonderful husband of 20 years and their two busy boys.
Overall, Casey is a valuable addition to Kootenai County Fire & Rescue, bringing a unique blend of skills, experience, and enthusiasm to her role as the Director of Administration.