–by Mary Helen Darah
PUBLICATION DATE: Dec 04, 2018

Shane Hillard

Shane Hillard, Sylvania Township Fire Department Fire Inspector and Fire Investigator followed in his family’s footsteps. “I grew up with a dad who was a paramedic and lived in an EMS household,” recalled Hillard. “Being a product of that environment, there was no question of what my career choice would be. I joined the Archbold Fire Department as a volunteer. I then went on to paramedic school and was hired by the Sylvania Fire Department in 2000.”

Keeping code
Hillard serves as the department’s full-time fire inspector. “I am responsible for completing commercial building inspections,” he stated. “It is my responsibility to make certain that buildings are up to code.” Hillard’s duties also include investigating fires as a fire investigator. “We have four fire investigators, not including Dept. Chief Mike Froelich,” he explained. “He oversees our team of investigators. Monday through Friday, if we have a structure fire, I am one of the investigators who will search to find the origin and cause of the fire.”

Prevention is key
One element of Hillard’s position that he greatly enjoys is his time spent out in the community to educate others about fire safety and prevention. “I go to our Sylvania Safety City and Safety Town to talk with the kids and give safety talks for the schools in our District,” stated Hillard. “I also assist with going to nursing homes to discuss many aspects of fire safety such as educating staff how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Anything concerning the fire prevention side of things I help out with.”

Change is constant
Hillard feels his job is continually evolving and changing. “My duties and the knowledge I need to perform them are constantly adjusting,” stated Hillard. “I need to keep up to date with the fire codes as well as keep up to date with the laws pertaining to my duties. One thing that will not change is my love of interacting with the public. That, to me, is fun. It’s great to get out and be part of the community.”

Keeping businesses safe
Hillard was quick to answer when asked if there was anything that would make his job easier. He said, “It would be beneficial if business owners realized that I’m not there to cause them grief. I am there to make their businesses safer for employees and customers. I am not the guy that’s out to write them up for everything. I am here to help and to protect our community. As a firefighter and paramedic, I worked on the line for 17 years. In early 2017, I transitioned to community risk reduction and fire prevention and currently am helping make Sylvania businesses safer places to work.”

Getting the word out
Many Sylvania citizens are unaware of the free services the Sylvania Township Fire Department provides. Sylvania Fire-EMS hopes the community will take advantage of its assistance in helping individuals and families with fire prevention. “I have worked with Lowe’s and First Alert,” stated Hillard. “They were gracious and donated smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. We provide them to city of Sylvania and township residents who cannot afford them free of charge. I, or another member of the crew, comes out, and we actually install them. All they have to do is call our office at 419-882-7676 and schedule a time.”
Hillard has been in Sylvania and with the department for 19 years. “My wife, Mariann, and I have four kids,” he said. “I plan on being in administration for the rest of my career. As a department, we are moving to where prevention is coming to the forefront, which I believe will make everyone safer. Technology, laws, and fire codes are always changing but our determination to do our best to keep Sylvania safe remains constant.”