The Urbana Fire Division has two new firefighters to fill vacancies: Douglas Sprankle and Michael Wagner. Earlier in the year, a general aptitude written test was given to challenge candidates’ knowledge on a variety of subject matters. Fifty-two people took the test and those who passed received credit for EMS and fire certifications. Veterans also received credit.
Those who passed the written test were given a physical agility test for technical competency. Each candidate went through eight tasks to evaluate physical strength, stamina and cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, some tasks were designed to see if the candidates had challenges with confined spaces and/or heights. During the physical agility testing, each candidate was required to complete tasks within an allotted time period without coaching. Each candidate was required to pass each task to pass the overall agility test. The physical agility tasks included equipment carry/stair climb, ventilation simulation, rescue dummy drag, ceiling breach and pull, search and rescue, ladder raise and extension, hose drag and aerial ladder climb.
After the written and physical testing, the Urbana Civil Service Commission certified personnel. The division then completed an extensive background check that included credit and criminal history, work and reference history, certification review and a home interview with a fire officer. A summary of the background was compiled, then candidates had a formal interview.
Fire Chief Dean Ortlieb stated extensive background checks are done because division personnel make life and death decisions and because the city makes a multi-million-dollar investment over a firefighter’s professional lifetime.
After the formal interview, Ortlieb submitted recommendations to city administrator Kerry Brugger, who appointed Sprankle and Wagner, pending physical and BCI/FBI background checks. Both firefighters passed their conditional requirements and on Nov. 12 started their two-week orientation, which includes shadowing the police division, Mercy Hospital emergency room and county dispatch. Orientation included live fire training, EMS and fire technical competencies, and exposure to fire division equipment.
The two firefighters were scheduled to start year-long probationary shift training on Nov. 25. Shift Capt. Jason Croker will supervise.
Sprankle is a firefighter/paramedic and has experience with Union Township Fire in Chillicothe and the city of London Division of Fire.
Wagner is also a firefighter/paramedic with work experience with North Lewisburg and Mechanicsburg Fire and EMS.
Visit the Urbana Fire Division’s Facebook page to see pictures of some of their training.
Submitted by the Urbana Fire Division.