Ben Gulson promoted to captain at Sonoma Valley FD
Kenwood native son Ben Gulson has firefighting in his genes — he was raised by his dad, Kenwood volunteer dispatcher Richard Gulson, and has served as a Kenwood volunteer firefighter since 1988. As of this month, he is a full-fledged captain for the Sonoma Valley Fire District, working out of Center Street Station in El Verano (Station No. 2).
“Being a captain means I’m in charge of an engine and its company, which is three or four people every day,” Gulson said from his Kenwood home. “I make decisions at the scene.”
Gulson is 51 and married, with daughters in seventh and eighth grade. He remains a Kenwood volunteer, though that job is much easier than it used to be.
“Now that Kenwood has 24-hour staffing, I don’t have to worry as much,” he said. “Seven years ago, with no staffing at night, there was more stuff to worry about.”
Though he is trained as a paramedic, Kenwood FD is not yet certified for paramedic services or permitted to carry the equipment necessary to provide emergency services at that level.
“I went to school to become a paramedic in 2001,” Gulson said, “but obviously at Sonoma Valley Fire we do a lot of different things, and are well versed in things beyond firefighting.” He served as an engineer (driver) for 15 years.
Currently, training has returned to disaster preparedness, after a COVID-enforced training abatement for the last year. “We used to concentrate on earthquakes, but are doing classes that are more focused on fires since 2017.”
For now, there are still no travel plans or major excursions planned. “Just getting the girls through school” is the first order of family business.