New times, new patches for MFD
Merrill Fire Chief
Since 1970, the Merrill Fire Department has had the same uniform patch. That was also the year that the Merrill Fire Department took over ambulance service in the county. The patch was a unique, omega style shape with a blue background, highlighted with the Lincoln County Courthouse through some pine trees. The patch read “Merrill, Wisconsin City of Parks.” At the bottom of the patch, was FIRE in red letters. This same patch was used by the Merrill Police Department with the exception of “POLICE” on the bottom, until they changed their patch in 2012.
Earlier this year, members of the Fire Department were presented with options for possible changes to the fire department’s uniform patch. They could continue to use the existing one, they could go with a patch similar to the police department, or they could create a completely separate one. The majority decided to go with the police department patch, but with “FIRE & EMS” on it. Members felt it was important to reference both of the department’s primary functions which are fire and ambulance. All 23 full-time members of the Merrill Fire Department are cross-trained as firefighters and paramedics with 90% of the department’s calls for service coming in the form of ambulance calls. The new patch will also work with a “Retired” rocker patch that can be added when a member finishes their emergency services career. The rocker patch will go above the new MFD patch.
In addition to the new MFD Fire & EMS patch, the fire department also approved a Velcro patch that includes the department’s recently approved core values. The core value patch is circular in shape and has Excellence, Professionalism, Integrity, and Compassion on the outside ring surrounding a traditional fire service logo. That patch is used on a recently approved Merrill Fire Department duty jacket. The patch is also intended to be used for identification on their ballistic vests which are worn during possible active threat situations.
The recent Merrill Labor Day Parade was the first time the new fire department patch was on display. Some members of the department wore their Class A dress uniform and walked with family or rode on the apparatus. Included on the right sleeve of the Class A dress uniforms are small maltase crosses. Each cross represents 5 years of protective emergency service. Officers on the department are identified by the gold bands on their sleeves. Each band represents a bugle for rank. Battalion Chiefs have two gold bands and the fire chief has five gold bands which is the highest level possible. The Merrill Fire Department is proud of the new patches and plans to wear them for as long as possible.