The Plain Township Fire Department has hired an intern for the summer.
"The summer internship for fire department is a paid position," township Administrator Ben Collins said. "The intern is going to work daytime hours, 40 hours a week, during the summer."
Plain Township trustees on May 7 authorized hiring Justin Mooney, a student at Hocking Technical College, to work May 19 through mid-August.
Fire Chief John Hoovler said Mooney has his firefighter certification and has completed his emergency-medical technician certification, so he can work alongside the Plain Township firefighters in a similar capacity to a part-time firefighter.
Hoovler said Mooney plans to return to Hocking Technical College in the fall to begin training to become a paramedic.
Mooney will be paid $12.40 an hour, similar to the part-time firefighter rate, Collins said.
Collins said the township piloted the program last year with a college intern who did not have firefighting or EMT certification, which "provided limitations," he said.
This year, because Mooney is certified in two areas already, township officials hope to provide the intern with more experience and take him on runs.
"Once we get him oriented, he should be able to ride the fire trucks and on the medic unit, and once he has chance to get oriented and know what's going on and where supplies are, he should be able to provide some patient care," Hoovler said. "We're hoping he can gain some experience this summer which will be beneficial to his career."
Collins said the township might formalize the internship process this year and consider working with other schools, such as Columbus State Community College, where several Plain Township firefighters teach.
"The student gets exposed to the practice, earns hours in the field and they typically get course credit for time in their internship," Collins said.
"The (fire) department gets the opportunity to have additional (personnel) hours in the daytime, identify talent and possibly use this as a recruiting opportunity."
Hoovler said if the department aligns itself with a technical school, the school could choose an intern, thus keeping the fire department from being inundated with applications.