Inspector of the Year (career department): Mike Laska
The 2015 WSFIA Inspector of the Year (career) goes to Mike Laska of the Eau Claire Fire and Rescue Department, where has been a member for 20 years.
In nominating Laska for the honor, Eau Claire Fire Chief Lyle Koerner Jr. cited several of Laska’s accomplishments working in the inspections/investigations division. Among those were working on safety initiatives at UW- Eau Claire, including “Greek housing” (fraternities and sororities) compliance and sprinkler systems at the university.
Laska applied for and received an NFSA grant that covered the purchase of a fire sprinkler prop for community education. He also revitalized the department’s juvenile fire setter program and oversees the department’s school fire safety education program. He also actively participates with safety education during the city’s special events and community health fairs.
Other accomplishments that Koerner noted about Laska were incorporating computerized tablets for use in the field during inspections, overseeing the department’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and overseeing the department’s fire safety education trailer and its use with neighboring departments.
“Mike has been vigilant in ensuring fire codes are enforced and that the fire prevention message occurs year round,” Koerner wrote, noting the city’s low number of fires and loss of property and life. “His strong safety stance is evident not only in Eau Claire but also in the surrounding region; his enthusiasm is contagious.”
“I appreciate it immensely. What an honor!” Laska said in accepting his honor on Oct. 29 at the 2015 WSFIA Annual Fire Prevention Professionals Conference in the Dells.
“My goal has always been to do the best for the community. Prevention is where it’s at and I’m going to continue being the best inspector I can be for my community and throughout the state,” Laska said.