UTICA — Mayor Jacqueline Noonan proudly swore in four new members to join the ranks of the Utica Fire Department at the City Council meeting Dec. 10.
Medics Michael Ryan and Justin Hill, Jason Seitz, who is in school to be a medic, and Michael Littlefield, an EMT who intends to become a medic, placed their hands on a Bible and swore to serve the city of Utica.
“We are happy to welcome them to the finest small fire department in the world,” Noonan said. “Our Fire Department is the only part-time fire department in the state of Michigan with an ISO rating of 4. That’s unheard of, and we are very, very proud of that.”
ISO is an organization that collects information about insurance risk. The rating is on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the best rating and 10 failing to meet minimum standards.
Fire Chief Kevin Wilseck said that the four new hires are a really good group of guys who are motivated, conscientious and have the personality and ability to make people feel comfortable.
With three resignations in the last four months, Wilseck said the department was down to 29 members. The new hires will bring the numbers up to 33, although Wilseck said the department might be losing another to Roseville.
“Everybody is starting to hire again, so we’ll be losing more, probably,” Wilseck said, adding that, of the three lost, two went to full-time departments and one transferred out of state.
The Utica Fire Department is unique because it has two of its own ambulances and does not use a private ambulance company to transport people to the hospital, he said.
Wilseck added that many firefighters come to the department to get ambulance experience and then wait for the phone call for a full-time job.
He said the department is accepting applications from individuals who are firefighter I and II certified, so they just have to go through a year-long probationary period and the department does not have to spend money training them. He would like to hire two more members to keep the numbers around 34.
“We welcome you aboard for lots of excitement,” Noonan said to the new hires. “We hope none of it endangers your lives or ours or the public’s. But thank you and congratulations.”