New Fire Chief Meets with TGB to Discuss EMS and Fire Prevention Certifications
By Joe Morey
New interim LCO Fire Department Chief Marvin Mullet came before the Tribal Governing Board (TGB) on Monday, Nov. 7, at their weekly meeting to discuss his first couple weeks on the job. He said he held a meeting with previous fire department personnel and several from Bass Lake to go over a few of their concerns.
One of the issues the TGB has had is that the fire department personnel weren’t state certified, and Mullet was chosen for the position because of his certifications, which includes emergency medical responder, with credentials for water and ice rescues.
Mullet has 20 years of experience and has been with Bass Lake since 2005 serving as their chief for the past several years.
LCO Chairman Louis Taylor raised the question of the LCO Fire Department being unable to respond to calls due to lack of certification, but Mullet said he is unaware of anything that prevents LCO from responding.
Taylor said LCO received a letter from DHS stating our department wasn’t certified. Mullet said that was on the emergency medical responder side, not fighting fires. He said within the department, currently Ray Young Jr is the only one who is certified on that level.
Mullet said he is going to find the records of the LCO personnel who started entry-level certification at Northwood Technical College.
George Morrow, of the LCO Public Safety Commission, which oversees fire operations, said there was a file at the department that was once maintained which holds the records of who is and isn’t certified, but the file is not there anymore.
James Schlender, Jr, LCO Attorney General, said the DHS letter basically states LCO Fire Department can go in and save a house from a fire, but not the people in the house.
“Wed don’t have the EMS who are certified and can’t save a life,” Schlender stated. “The TGB’s intention is to have that with our fire department so they can serve as EMS.”
Schlender told Mullet whoever he is hiring to the department has to take the proper steps to be EMS certified.
Morrow told the TGB that when Eric Crowe was fire chief, he recalls there was a file on hand that had every firefighter and every class they took.
Gary “Little Guy” Clause, TGB member, told Mullet the TGB wants to help him get everything he needs to get the fire department where it needs to be.
After his hiring, Mullet assured the TGB he would recruit and train tribal members to fully staff the department. He said he will continue to implement this plan and make sure all personnel are certified in fire prevention and emergency medical assistance.
Mullet wants the community to call him if you have any unsafe conditions in your home and I’ll come take a look. His number is 715-699-0702.
Mullet said he wants to work on some fire education for the community as well and he’ll go on WOJB to share some. For example, Mullet explains, if you have an alarm go off, don’t ventilate with open windows, just get out of the residence, because if windows are opened, then they can’t find where the leak is.
On Nov. 25, Mullet said they are having a Thanksgiving Feast for the community. He said they have eight turkeys to smoke and wants the community to come see their fire hall.
In a statement issued after hiring Mullet, the TGB said, “The LCO FD has a storied history of protecting our reservation, with the modern efforts dating back to the 1970s when Monte Diamond and Mahlon Nickence led efforts to establish our very own LCO-led fire department. Over the subsequent decades, LCO has been at the forefront of developing fire prevention, providing search and rescue, while also working to protect our sacred sites and respecting our communities. The TGB is committed to meeting the needs of the Tribe and ensuring that the LCO FD is staffed with qualified and properly trained professionals who support and respect the integrity of our people and our communities.”