2016 Fire Inspector of the Year (Volunteer/Paid-On-Call)

Volunteer/ Paid-On-Call/ Combination Department Category

Mike Beere, Waupun Fire Department

By Pete Wicklund

This year’s WSFIA’s recipient of the Inspector of the Year honor for smaller departments is a familiar face in fire prevention circles.

Mike Beere has been the WSFIA’s Area 6 chairman since 2010 and has worked hard to provide training opportunities in the district, which includes Fond du Lac, Dodge, Washington, Ozaukee, Green, Marquette and Sheboygan counties. A recent push has been to garner support from departments in the western portion of Area 6.

While the WSFIA is happy to have Mike’s assistance, first and foremost are his responsibilities in Waupun.

Mike started with the department in August 1996 as a paid-on-call member. Just over a year later, in November 1997, Mike began doing inspections on his days off from his job. Eventually, he worked his way up to become in March of 2008 the department’s full-time inspector.

He completed his Fire Inspector certification in 2002 and over the past 18 months has completed Fire Officer I and Fire Officer II leading to his promotion as captain.

Waupun Fire Chief BJ DeMaa says that Mike, throughout his career, “has worked diligently at establishing a relationship with local businesses, which sets clear expectations for fire code adherence and safety.”

Mike has also worked closely with the administration and teachers within the Waupun Area School District to help drive code adherence and fire safety at all five of the district’s schools. DeMaa said Beere’s work with the schools has included making sure administration staff are present during inspections and meeting directly with teachers to explain codes and expectations as it relates to room and school decorations.

In 2015, Mike worked with the National Fire Sprinkler Association in building a side-by-side burn unit to demonstrate the effectiveness of sprinklers. He also has been very involved with the department’s fire extinguisher training program for schools, businesses and residential settings.

When not in the field, DeMaa says Mike has worked hard to make the department’s inspection program more efficient and effective. Over the past year, Mike has worked to transition department inspection forms from paper to an electronic format. He also helped procure and implement software that allows the inspector to track code compliance and reduce false-alarm activity.

Mike has also been successful in generating grants for the department that has facilitated the purchase of 120 smoke alarms and 200 batteries to be handed out to residents of the department’s service area, which includes 14,000 people living in an area of 110 square miles.

In accepting his award, Beere urged his fellow inspectors to be advocates for fire safety in their communities and to work at building relationships.

“Be active and be out and about. Help teach kids, adults and teachers and even your business leaders − work with them,” Beere said.