The Janesville Fire Department is looking for reserve support when not enough current members are available, and leaders are eyering retired firefighters as an option.
Janesville Fire Chief Mark Spitzack presented the idea to the Janesville City Council t ohave retired firefighters as a reserve team to help on larger calls. This is something that Elysian and Madison Lake both practice, according to Spitzack, but neither have used the reserves yet.
“The reason we’re doing it is just another backup team,” Spitzack said. “We’re short on numbers — on the weekends and holidays people are out of town.”
At a meeting last month, the officers on the Fire Department discussed the possibility of implementing this reserve of firefighters. As of now, there are about six people interested in being a part of the reserve in Janesville.
Spitzack will be meeting with the Elysian and Madison Lake departments on Tuesday, July 23 to discuss the program they offer.
The City Council will be involved to help set the guidelines and requirements for the reserve firefighters. The Fire Department Board will write these up and then present a final draft to the council to set a policy.
“I think we should go forward with this, but before we officially get this started I want you (Spitzack) to make sure the wording is exactly right and take it to the board of directors,” Mayor Mike Santo said.
If the reserve firefighters proposal is passed at City Council, there will be a meeting for those who join about what is expected of them and what their roles would be with the department.
“These guys are going to have 20 years on them,” Spitzack said. “They would be under our supervision basically. A lot of the interested ones are past (emergency medical technicians).”
“They come out and help us anyway,” Santo said. “I like this idea, and as a member of the Fire Department, I like this.”
One question that Spitzack asked the council is if they would be willing to pay the reserve people at least $10. The council gave a collective head nod to the idea.
Assistant Fire Chief Chad Schroeder mentioned that at this time the fire department is looking for retired Janesville firefighters, but he mentioned that it could change in the future.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Santo said. “We have a wealth of knowledge in our retired guys.”