The Marshfield Fire Department has hired its first full-time staff member as part of its new, on-going expansion effort. The full-time firefighter had his first day at the station on Monday, July 12.
“We were able to pass a levy back in April that will allow for us to start hiring full-time firefighters for the district,” said Fire Chief Michael Taylor. “We’ll receive these funds after the first of the year but we wanted to go ahead and get things going as quickly as we could to help with response times and staffing… so we decided to hire our first of the firefighters that will be coming on – Tony Saitz.”
“It’s kind of a transition for me because I was a volunteer since 2013 and moving to a paid position is kind of bittersweet,” Saitz said. “I’m excited about being full-time and leading by example moving forward.”
Saitz has lived in Marshfield since 2012 and immediately got involved as a volunteer, though he’s originally from St. Louis and spent most of his life in Dallas, Texas. Once landing in Marshfield, he actively sought out training after training course.
According to Saitz, anyone working in fire safety has to the the job seriously considering what it is they do. While he has done a lot of training courses in Marshfield, Battlefield and other places in southwest Missouri, he has also traveled to other departments for training and attends fire school in Columbia twice a year.
“When you get on the scene it doesn’t matter if it’s a 6-hour structure fire or a 5-minute EMS call – you have to know what you’re doing and be 10 steps ahead of the ball” he explained. “Continuous training to be able to do all of these things safely and effectively is something you have to take seriously.”
Prior to Saitz hire, the department only had two paid full-time employees – Chief Michael Taylor and Maintenance Person/Firefighter Steven Hamm. Though, the station should see additional paid personnel after the first of the year. According to Taylor, the Marshfield Fire Department has a number of volunteers who do an outstanding job of keeping calls covered outside of regular business hours.
“The station isn’t set up for 24-hour living so we’ll be working expanding the station after the first of the year as well to accommodate living quarters and bay space,” Taylor added. “Once we get that done we’ll look toward hiring the remaining firefighters.”
“The transitions and expansions with our department is especially exciting for our community,” Saitz added. “These improvements only mean better and faster response when an emergency does happen. We’ll be staffed and equipped to get there quickly.”
“We’re headed towards 24-hour firefighters in the firehouse ready to roll out the door at a minutes notice,” Taylor said. “We’ll see improved response times and more manpower behind the scenes… it’ll be a huge improvement for everyone.”