Mansfield Fire Chief Michael Smith has worked in the fire service since 1979, and has spent much of that time leading the department.
With a tight budget and low volunteer numbers, Smith returned to the position as chief when his city needed him most. Since his reinstatement in May of 2019, Smith has worked tirelessly.
When Smith took office, the department had eight volunteer members. Currently, the MVFD is up to 15. The department has openings for 22 members, however, due to lack of gear, no additional firemen can be added. “Twenty two, that’s what it was for years,” shared Smith. “We had people waiting in line to join!”
In addition to the need for new turnout gear, Smith stated he would like to add a new pumper, purchase Armour First Responder vests, a free standing ready rack, helmet flash lights, rechargeable handlights, PPV fan, and a thermal imaging stick.
Smith estimates the cost of equipment at $250,000. “Everything affects the ISO rating, both equipment and training,” added Smith. Improvements to the city’s ISO rating means savings to home owners with insurance rates.
Although the need for equipment to bring the department into compliance is great, he has made great improvements with the existing budget. Under his leadership, the department has added a new brush truck, and a new command unit, a Chevrolet Tahoe.
He has also been working on purchasing Sentry Sirens for the city. The sirens will replace the old and outdated system currently in use. “It will save so much time,” stated Smith. “I won’t have to go to multiple locations to activate the sirens, I can just do it remotely with my phone.” The new system will also provide a greater alert coverage area. The complete cost of the system, $35,000. Smith and the city’s grant writer, Shelby Allen, are awaiting notification on grant applications.
Smith, in the countless hours he’s spent assisting the citizens of this community, vows to continue this labor of love and working to ensure that in a resident’s time of crisis, the department has what it needs.