Monroe County high school, college students participate in mock disaster training

Bedford Township Fire Department hosts training

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Monroe County college and high school students learned firsthand what it takes to be a police officer, firefighter, and EMT during a mock disaster training on Saturday.

Bedford Township Fire Department hosts the training at Monroe County Fairgrounds with other agencies across southeast Michigan.

The fairgrounds are set up as a mock city with nonstop calls. The calls and simulations vary from serious car accidents to trespassing and domestic violence.

Participants are as young as 14 and are already in fire or police cadet programs.

Bedford Township Fire Chief Bob Vanklingeren said it’s an annual event the department has been part of for the last 30 years.

“A lot of it is just seeing the work that you do throughout the year and seeing the kids put it to use,” Vanklingeren said.

It’s a lot of problem-solving, but an opportunity young people like Daniel Gutierrez don’t take for granted.

“Just going out there and then practicing and really testing your knowledge, because we never really know everything,” Gutierrez said. “We get into a scenario, we think we know what we’re doing, but we always find out something new to do or what to learn, what to improve on.”

Gutierrez is a Downriver native who just finished his first year at Schoolcraft College. He attended this same mock disaster training last year and his goal is to become a Michigan State Trooper.

Vanklingeren said that’s what it’s all about -- sparking passion in the next generation.

“The big thing is trying to get people interested in the public safety field,” Vanklingeren said. “Fire service and police service has seen a decrease in the amount of candidates that we’re getting so we’re trying to get, one, get school-aged kids interested in doing this and then try to increase recruitment for everyone.”

Past participants have gone on to work for fire and law enforcement agencies and return to mentor current participants.

Monroe Township Fire, Michigan State Police, Northville Fire Department and Saline Police were also part of the training.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.