GREENVILLE — When it comes to firefighter training, Michigan residents want the best.
So it came as no surprise when one of Greenville’s own was appointed to oversee state firefighter training guidelines.
Recently, Greenville Department of Public Safety Sgt. Brian Blomstrom was reappointed to the Michigan Fire Fighters Training Council (MFFTC). As part of the seven-member council, he will help to shape training and certification programs for the 30,600 firefighters and officers serving in the 1,075 fire departments across Michigan. This is Blomstrom’s second stint on the council.
“I am honored and humbled to return to the MFFTC for a second term,” he said. “Talking with others in the field, obtaining feedback of decisions made in the past, taking input on where the fire service of Michigan needs to be and knowing I get to be a part of the process of change is a very exciting feeling.”
The MFFTC establishes advisory standards for training protocols for state fire departments. Among its duties, the council decides “physical, educational and moral fitness” for the “recruitment, selection and appointment of firefighters.” It also sets the standards for qualification of instructors, courses of study, evaluations and the establishment of regional training centers.
“It is our role to establish the curriculum and testing procedures for the Firefighter I and II exam, as well as review and support new curriculums for specific fire educational courses,” Blomstrom said. “We also establish rules for instructor certifications and play a role in assisting with the dispersement of training dollars to each county in Michigan.”
On July 19, Blomstrom will mark his 20th year as a firefighter. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and public safety from Lake Superior State University as well as a master’s in public administration from Grand Valley State University. Not only is he a sergeant with Geenville, but also an adjunct professor at Montcalm Community College and is a CPR and web-based emergency operations center (WebEOC) instructor for Montcalm County Emergency Services. He plans on utilizing his education and experience to serve the MFFTC during his second term.
“I never dreamed that within my first 20 years in the service that I would have the opportunity to serve twice on the board that works so hard to ensure the safety, instruction and educational opportunities of firefighters in this state,” he said.
Blomstrom said he enjoys being part of the council to help train and prepare state firefighters to go into harms way. In his role, he finds himself speaking with many firefighters across the state which also helps in his own professional development.
“I enjoy being a part of striving to make the firefighter occupation safer through research and adoption of the newest learning materials available, as well as making suggestions and motions to ensure the instructor staff in the field is of the best quality,” Blomstrom said. “Additionally, being able to meet and communicate with so many training officers, instructors and command staff members through meetings and traveling is so rewarding.”
Appointees serve four-year terms on the MFFTC. During his next four years, Blomstrom is hoping to help the council make a difference in many areas. Among many goals, one thing he is striving for is “revamping and updating” core course for specialty areas such as fire investigation, tactics and building construction. He also hopes to help develop an advisory standard for the Fire Officer IV program. However, he knows he cannot do these things alone and is looking forward to working with his fellow council members on not only his own goals but theirs as well.
“While I may find these to be important, I also know other members will have important priorities to bring forward too,” he said. “So having collaboration and cooperation, all the while getting things done, is a huge priority.”
In the end, the council serves to set standards for state firefighters but they are still subject to “advice and consent” from the Michigan Senate. However, Gov. Rick Snyder has every confidence in the fire professionals he personally appointed to the board.
“Not only do these men and women serve their communities through their individual professions, they are volunteering additional time to offer valuable input that helps to improve public safety standards statewide,” Snyder said.