Last updated: June 30. 2014 4:28PM - 1466 Views
By - mechelberry@civitasmedia.com

Laura Ulmer started working at the Galion Fire Dept. last month.
Laura Ulmer started working at the Galion Fire Dept. last month.
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Last month the Galion Fire Department hired the first female firefighter in its history. Laura Ulmer started on June 16 and said she loves being here so far.

Ulmer is from Crestline and previously worked at the Crestline Fire Department for almost four years. On why she wanted to make the move, she explained Galion’s department is busier overall, and the city offers better job benefits.

Last October a civil service test was administered and Ulmer received the highest score. She replaces an employee who left the department, bringing it back to a full staff of 17.

Fire Chief Phil Jackson commented that he was not trying to make history with this decision. “I need good employees and, in this case, I selected from the top and the employee happened to be female,” he said. He also noted that while Ulmer is the first female hired at the department, she is not the first female to pass the agility test.

Ulmer will serve on the Black Crew under the command of Lt. Todd Eagle. She will be on one year of probation and must complete skills tests and field training. However, she already has all the required firefighter training, which will save the city money.

Jackson further explained that he talked to other fire departments that have females on staff, to ensure best practices are being used. He implemented some minor rule changes, but for the most part the department was already gender neutral.

“Laura has been a great addition,” Jackson concluded. “All of the staff is happy and she’s a good fit for Galion.”

In other news, roof repairs have been made to the Fire Station’s roof. There had been leakage in the living quarters and city council appropriated funds in May for repairs.

Over the last several years, the fire department has also been aggressive in applying for grants in order to save taxpayer dollars Jackson said they will be receiving an Ohio Division of EMS grant of $5,750 for some equipment purchases, but it will not be spent until next year.

Also, he recently applied for a FEMA grant that would pay for an upgrade to monitors used in the ambulances, if awarded. He has not heard back yet. Soon he will apply for a bariatric grant, in order for the department to better serve obese patients.

The Mission of the Galion Fire Department is to protect lives and property from the adverse effects of fires, sudden medical emergencies and exposure to hazardous conditions. We will achieve this by developing, promoting and maintaining effective fire suppression and emergency medical care. We will continue to provide these quality services through education and training, to all who live, work, visit or invest here.

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