ROSEVILLE — Mike Holland has one goal in mind as fire chief, and that’s to continue making sure Roseville’s residents are safe.
He believes that education, prevention and vigilant focus on safety needs in the community are keys to the department’s success.
“What we’re trying to continue is providing the highest level of care and service for the citizens of Roseville,” Holland said. “That is something we start every day with.”
Holland officially was sworn in to his new leadership role in the Fire Department during a July 23 council meeting, but he’s been doing the duties of that role for some time.
After the retirement of Chief Gil Tijerina, Holland started as interim chief in January.
“I know you’re going to be the best fire chief we’ve ever had,” Mayor John Chirkun said during the meeting. “You went through an extensive process. I know you’re going to do the department proud. Like I say all the time, our police and fire are the best in Macomb County, if not in the state of Michigan.”
Others on the council congratulated him, as well.
“The council here felt that Mike did the job that this city needs, so Mike, congratulations on being our new chief,” Mayor Pro Tem Robert Taylor said. “I’m sure you’ll do everything you can to continue to make Roseville a safe community.”
Holland started his career with Roseville in 1994, but he’s worked in the fire service since 1983.
He’s taking on a busy department with two stations that provide fire and advanced emergency medical service in the city.
They fielded 6,276 calls for service last year, with more than 5,000 of those being for emergency medical service.
“We’re very proud with the level of service we provide,” Holland said. “We get advanced cardiac life support on the scene between three and four minutes. That is very quick.”
Not only that, but the response to serious medical emergencies includes four to five paramedics from the department available at the scene on any given day.
“We’re able to transport them (patients) in a far safer environment,” he said.
While the department currently has two ambulances in service, one at each station, they are looking at putting their third, backup ambulance out on the road, too, on days that they have the manpower. They also have mutual aid agreements with several nearby communities.
Holland wears many hats these days in the department, but he said that the entire team is doing more and helping each other.
“In these difficult economic times, everyone has to do as much as they possibly can,” Holland said.
“Everybody had to take on more and more duties,” he said.
He reviewed the schedule of things that firefighters have to do each day they’re on duty, from regular maintenance to daily training, physical fitness, community outreach, inspections and more.
“It makes for a very, very busy day for our firefighters,” he said.
Holland currently performs the duties that, formerly, a chief of training performed — a vacancy that they are not filling — as well as serving as the emergency manager for the city.
Holland wasn’t the only one moving up the ranks in the Fire Department. Fire Inspector Andres Maldonado recently was promoted to fire marshal.
The department will not be filling the vacancy of fire inspector because they’re going to be doing some things differently. Also, Maldonado has extensive training and experience with inspections, so he’ll continue doing inspecting duties.
But instead of Maldonado doing the more routine inspections, he will continue doing the more complicated inspection duties, and the firefighters will be out in the community doing routine scheduled inspections under Maldonado’s leadership.
“We’re excited about it,” Holland said. “We get an opportunity for our firefighters to go out in the community and interact in a non-emergency situation.
“It’s exciting for all of us to be able to do that,” he said.
Holland said it’s important to go out and talk to businesses to show them what they can change or where they need to improve for safety.
He credited the business owners in Roseville for wanting to work alongside the Fire Department to make it happen. He said the businesses want to take steps to improve safety, as well.
“Our businesses are nothing but fantastic,” Holland said.
It’s also important to talk to the community and go into the schools, according to Holland.
“We serve the community,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about, is community service.”
That education piece is so important because it prevents tragedy.
“The best fire that ever happened was the fire that never happened,” Holland said.
They do safety inspections, as well, like regular car-seat inspections.
“We make sure the infant is not hurt in the first place,” he said. “That is success.”
He said being proactive is key.
“It’s not just preventing fires,” Holland said. “It’s preventing injury.”
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