Mid-State to offer new firefighter program to help address department shortages

The goal of the program is to help local fire departments meet the increased demand for new firefighters
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 9:57 PM CDT
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PLOVER, Wis. (WSAW) - Mid-state Technical College is now offering a new 15-credit Fire Service Certification Program this fall with the goal of helping local fire departments meet the increased demand for new firefighters.

The difference between this program and the previous one is the number of credits required for certification.

“Part of our response to that was really to try to make a program that would get people in here, get them trained, get them out the door sooner in order to increase that pool of candidates that departments can choose from,” said Rick Anderson, associate dean at Mid-State Technical College.

The Plover Fire Department is just one of the many departments facing a firefighter shortage.

“Getting to those younger grades I think is definitely going to help us in the emergency services,” said Plover Fire Department Fire Chief Mark Deaver.

He said last year the department responded to almost 350 fire calls and 1,300 EMS calls.

“It does hurt us when we don’t have enough firefighters responding being a combination department,” added Chief Deaver. Right now, they have 34 fire fighters on staff, well short of their goal of 50.

With the program starting this fall, The Plover Fire Department will help foot the bill for those interested to join the team.

Chief Deaver said there would be no cost to students. If someone wants to become a firefighter, the department would sponsor them through the class with Mid-State which will help them and help the student begin their career.

“Were down 16 positions. It doesn’t mean we need to hire 16 in one year, it would definitely help us if we would be getting some more people though,” said Chief Deaver.