Janesville72.2°

New Edgerton fire chief will focus on health

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Stacy Vogel
January 17, 2008
— Health and safety will be the priorities for the Edgerton Fire Protection District’s new chief.

Brian Demrow, who was elected chief by the district’s volunteers Sunday, said the department has ordered physicals for all the volunteers for the first time and is in the middle of collecting the data.


The department started emphasizing fitness last year through a challenge at Sara’s Health & Fitness in Edgerton. Several firefighters participated in the challenge and lost weight by regularly going to the gym, the department said.


“Being that heart attacks are the No. 1 reason for firefighter deaths, maybe that’s something we can prevent,” Demrow said.


Demrow enters the chief position with 12 years of experience with the department. Most recently, he served in the No. 2 spot of deputy chief.


Demrow and the assistant chief, Ryan Beckwith, have led the department since former Chief John Gietzel announced his retirement in early December.


Beckwith was elected deputy chief in Sunday’s vote. Both Demrow and Beckwith ran unopposed.


The chief is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the department, either directly or by delegating, said Adam Walton, public information officer. Along with the deputy and assistant chiefs, the chief puts together a recommended budget for the fire district commission each fall.


“All three of the chiefs gather input—what would you guys like to see down here, what do you guys need—and then the three of them sit down and brainstorm,” Walton said.


The deputy chief is in charge of fire inspections, while the assistant chief handles training with the training officer.


Randall Lochner, a former captain with 19 years of service with the department, was elected assistant chief Sunday.


Demrow said the chiefs will make sure the volunteers work smoothly with the district’s two full-time employees. The employees were reinstated in December after a five-year court battle over their firings.


“We’re working with them, and everybody’s doing a good job with that,” Demrow said.


Other officers elected Sunday include:


-- Training officer: Ken Kirby, 7 years of service, former captain


-- Captains: Carl Marino, 7 years of service, former lieutenant; Adam Walton, 5 years of service, former lieutenant; Justin Bowen, 9 years of service; former lieutenant


-- Lieutenants: Brandon Whitmore, 3 years of service; Craig Fryda, 10 years of service, former training officer; Mike Collins, 18 years of service


-- Safety officer: Chris Lund, 15 years of service, former captain



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