The Mifflin Township Division of Fire is 80 members strong, following the recent addition of five firefighters.

After completing the township's training program, the new firefighters include Tyler Burleson and Caleb Dick, both of Orient; Ryan Judy of Gahanna; Tyler Piper of New Albany; and David Rella of Columbus.

A formal graduation and swearing-in ceremony for the firefighter class was held May 31 at La Navona in Gahanna.

"This is the beginning of a great and rewarding career for these five firefighters," said Kevin Cavener, Mifflin Township trustee. "It's an honor to be called a firefighter, and Mifflin Township is one of the very best communities to serve. We are very proud to be bringing such high-caliber firefighters into our division."

Mifflin Township fire Chief Fred Kauser said firefighting is still one of the toughest jobs in America.

"Firefighters help people at some of their most vulnerable moments, but it is certainly one of the most gratifying professions," he said. "We are very proud of this new class and are confident that they will continue to uphold the superior standards set forth by Mifflin Township."

The township's training program included more than 10 weeks of hands-on skills practice.

Drills covered emergency scenarios such as fire attack; search and rescue; hose evolutions; rapid-intervention teams; and emergency paramedical procedures.

The five firefighters began riding with seasoned-professional staffers and serving on shifts in April.

Prior to even applying for the positions, the candidates were required to possess a state of Ohio Firefighter II and a state of Ohio EMT-Paramedic certification.

The selection process included a series of physical and mental evaluations designed to determine the fitness and ability to perform under pressure.

Kauser said today's firefighters do far more than fight structural fires. They are the first to be called for a wide range of medical emergencies.

"We encourage our high school recent graduates to consider the fire services," Kauser said. "If you are physically active, like to work with your hands, and enjoy taking care of and serving others, the fire service may be a good fit for you. Stop at any of our fire stations to get more information."

Melissa Rapp, the township's public-information officer, said the township currently has 80 full-time firefighters, including fire administration, fire prevention, dispatchers and firefighters.

She said training is held on an as-needed basis, approximately every year, but it depends on retirements, staffing considerations and population growth.

The fire division serves approximately 36,800 residents in the city of Gahanna and 4,000 residents within the unincorporated township.

The division operates from four strategically located fire stations.

Mifflin Township firefighters responded to more than 12,400 calls for emergency medical services and structure fires in 2017, according to township statistics.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla