(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has added another full-time position. Steve Schwarz has been hired to be the Battalion Chief.
Schwarz is an 18-year veteran as a Le Mars firefighter, and recently was serving the rank of Lieutenant. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says as the city continues to grow, so does the need to expand the staff.
Schipper says it is an OSHA requirement for industries that make a confined space entry to have a plan in place if a rescue is needed.
The Le Mars Fire Chief offers examples of what is defined as a “closed confined space.”
Schwarz says he will work with area industries informing them of the OSHA rules, and telling industry officials about the capabilities of the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department.
Schipper says the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was on stand-by a total of 88 times during 2018 for closed confined spaces entries.
Schipper says the new Battalion Chief position, held by Schwarz, will be third in command at the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department. He says it will be the designated “rescue specialist.”
Schwarz says he will be asked to take additional training as part of his new duties with the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department.
Schwarz says he will relate his training to his fellow Le Mars firefighters during their weekly training sessions, held nearly every Wednesday evening.
Schwarz began his duties as the new Le Mars Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief on Monday. He will take the oath of office and have a badge pinning ceremony scheduled for next Tuesday, January 15th prior to the start of the Le Mars city council meeting.