MOISD Career Center program benefits Reed City Fire Department

REED CITY — Thanks to training provided by the Public Safety program offered by the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District Career Center, students are able to join a variety of departments to lend their services and experience real-life emergency situations.

Glenn Hare, 19, is a Reed City resident and graduated from Crossroads Charter Academy this spring. He transferred into the Public Safety program from the Innovative Engineering program during the last portion of his senior year.

"I transferred because I like helping people and I wanted to get some training and get started," he said. "I wanted to see what happens in the real world of public safety and I was attracted to the field because I can directly help someone."

During the program, he received Fire 1 training, which is basic training required to be a fire department member, according to Career Center Principal Mike Miller.

"The service we're providing is helping the departments out tremendously," Miller said. "It's really reaching out in the various communities where the students live. It's possibly providing the largest impact at a local level."

After students complete the Career Center program, they have the opportunity to take a written and hands-on assessment for certification. An estimated 20 students have received certification.

"It's a great program," Hare said. "I definitely encourage others to go to it if they're interested in public safety."

This summer, Hare joined members of the Reed City Fire Department as one of 19 to help in times of an emergency. The department members, including Hare, are paid for each call.

Although he has Fire 1 training, Hare is unable to perform duties that other, higher trained firefighters must at a fire scene, due to a probation policy. Probation is a two-year maximum limitation of new department members, where they can only help with certain tasks on scene. Probation can be lifted early if specific training is achieved, such as knowing how to operate fire equipment and additional types of department knowledge.

He also needs to earn his Medical First Responder certification in order to attend medical calls. Because Hare transferred into the Public Safety program late in the year, he missed receiving the training needed and must earn it another way.

In addition to his Fire 1 training, a number of qualities Hare possesses is what led Reed City Fire Chief Jim Decker to interview and select the recent graduate.

"He's a very likable person and a professional person," Decker said. "He seems to have his ducks in a row and seems to be all together."

Decker believes Hare will thrive in the department's environment and on scene during emergency situations.

"I'm sure once he gets a taste of it, he'll really enjoy it," he said. "Especially once his probation ends and he gets to perform an interior fire attack, it will give him a rush."

Although probation limits his time and experience on scene, Hare's time with the members of the fire department has been positive.

"It's great," Hare said. "The people in the department are more than glad to help you and teach you. They want you to succeed. I've been anxious because I want to get out there, but I haven't had a chance to yet."

When he is able to attend an emergency situation, such as a fire, Decker said Hare will be out of harms way, yet still playing an important role by helping retrieve equipment for firefighters on scene.

Decker is extremely pleased with the program, how it has the potential to keep people in the area, and what the program provides for the students and the departments that receive the extra assistance.

"The program is great because every department is looking for people," he said. "It's an asset, I hope it keeps going, I hope to see more individuals come through it and we encourage them to fill out an application with us. We want to get some young blood into the department so we can retire and feel good about leaving here. It's a benefit for us."