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Fire captains’ training aids possible Alpena Fire Department succession plan

Courtesy Photo Alpena Fire Captain Brett Miller, left, Fire Chief Bill Forbush, center, and Captain Andy Marceau pose for a picture while at Eastern Michigan University. Miller and Marceau completed the university’s School of Fire Staff and Command Education and Training program. Only four others have completed the course and it helps the city lay out a possible succession plan for when Forbush retires.

ALPENA — The Alpena Fire Department continues to lay the groundwork for a succession plan once Fire Chief Bill Forbush retires in about a year or so.

Forbush has worked hard to make sure those under him have the necessary training, skills, and equipment to properly serve residents for many years.

On Tuesday, it was announced that fire captains Andy Marceau and Brett Miller earned their diplomas from Eastern Michigan University’s School of Fire Staff and Command Education and Training program.

In the 150-year history of the Alpena Fire Department, only six officers have completed the program. The new graduates join Forbush, retired Fire Chief Ken Hubbard, Deputy Chief Rob Edmonds, and retired Captain Mike Manchester in completing the advanced education training program.

Forbush said the program is designed to prepare professional fire officers to effectively manage fire agencies and targets fire officers destined for senior leadership within their departments.

“With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, senior fire officers must be prepared with the knowledge, skills, and abilities afforded private industry, which are often not adequately addressed in public service,” Forbush said.

Having three current employees on staff who have completed the schooling — which consists of 350 hours of competency-based education spread over 10 months — helps the city and the department establish a succession plan before Forbush retires.

Marceau and Miller received their diplomas from EMU Program Director JillAnne Bauer and Michigan Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer at a formal ceremony in Ypsilanti.

Forbush said he has worked with his senior employees to put them in a position to succeed after he retires. He said the residents of Alpena, and the entire region, should rest easy knowing capable and dedicated hands will be there to service them for years to come.

“The number one responsibility of a leader is to develop those behind them and I’m proud to say we have some excellent senior command staff in Alpena,” Forbush said. “They will be ready to take over when I retire and really sets us up well for the future.”

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