2016 Public Educator of the Year (Career)

Shane Westphal, Stevens Point Fire Department

Since joining the Stevens Point Fire Department five years ago, “Shane Westphal has worked to revolutionize the mandatory fire safety education taught in our schools to all ages,” said Fire Chief Robert J. Finn.

Shane embarked on a mission to digitize Stevens Point’s entire fire safety curriculum with apps that students use to learn and play along with the fire department instructor, teacher or parents at home. According to Finn, the apps provide fire safety education through videos, interactive literature and even games that all ages can enjoy at home or in a classroom.

A stickler for detail, Shane confirmed the apps would be compatible with projectors, TVs, computers and hand-held devices, Finn said.

Shane also has worked to research and prepare purchase proposals for equipment that resulted in the acquisition of a top-of-the-line tablets that Stevens Point F.D. will use to host fire safety education for thousands of students for years to come.

Knowing the importance that the community has a good pool of applicants for firefighter/medics in the years to come, Shane helped launch the fire department’s Explorer Post program.

Over the past year, the popular program has grown to a roster of 18 Explorers, ranging in age from 15-20. Shane also planned a budget request for the organization that included funds for uniforms and turnout gear.