The City of Utica swore in six new firefighters during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The new firefighters placed their hands on the Holy Bible and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and Michigan and Utica's laws.
The firefighters sworn in were:
- Joseph Goeddeke, 26, of Sterling Heights
- Brian Rowley, 24, of New Baltimore
- Jeff Schemansky, 27, of Utica
- Paul Nowacki, 40, of Utica
- Andrew McClure, 26, of Warren
- Joseph Azar, 22, of Shelby Township
Four of the six firefighters are certified paramedics and two more are currently in school to be trained as medics.
The department will now have 15 medics on staff. More than 80 percent of the fire department's calls are ambulance runs.
"We actively have applications coming in but we really look for medics because we do run an advance Life Support Service unit. We’re one of the few departments to run an ALS with no full-time firefighters," said Utica Fire Chief Kevin Wilseck.
There are now 34 on-call members of the Utica Fire Department. The only full-time position is Cheif Wilseck.
The firefighters are required to move within a 2.5-mile radius of Utica in order to respond to calls. All firefighters are required to make at least three runs a month.
"Being a paid-on-call department, it’s a challenge for us to get full-time positions because they all hold down other jobs," said Wilseck.
All of the new hires, with the exception of McClure, who previously worked at the department, will go through orientation and fire training. Most are graduates of the Macomb County Fire Department, through Macomb Community College.
"The guys are all here to serve the people, and the addition of these medics is a great boost for us," said Wilseck.