TThe University of Missouri’s Fire & Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI) presented the Fire Service Instructor of the Year award for 2013-2014 at the annual Instructor’s Conference on October 25, 2014. The conference and awards ceremony were held at the Country Club Hotel and Spa in Lake of the Ozarks, MO.
This year’s recipient of the MU FRTI Instructor of the Year award is Michael Arnhart, Fire Chief with the High Ridge Fire Protection District in High Ridge, MO. MU FRTI Director David Hedrick said, “Instructor Arnhart exemplifies the very best in fire service instruction and we are proud of his dedicated service with the Institute.” Arnhart has been an adjunct instructor with the MU FRTI program since 1991. He has been the previous recipient of the Institute’s Fire Instructor of the Year award three times before in 1998, 2000, and 2008. Chief Arnhart was unable to attend the ceremony during the conference; he will be presented his award at a special ceremony.
Arnhart started his career in the fire service as a junior firefighter in 1972 and progressed to volunteer status in 1976. In 1977 he was hired as a paid firefighter for the High Ridge Fire Protection District. He received his Associates of Science degree in Fire Science Technology in 1983 from Jefferson College in Hillsboro, MO, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University in 1994. Arnhart served on the Fire Science Advisory Committee for Jefferson College, as well as serving as the Fire Science Coordinator for East Central College. He has taught at local, state, and national fire service conferences including the United States National Fire Academy. In his career he has moved up through the ranks, and since 2005 he has served as the Fire Chief of the High Ridge Fire Protection District.
In addition to the award given to Chief Arnhart, MU FRTI recognized the first and second runners-up for the Instructor of the Year. Randall Ragan, Assistant Chief and Training Officer with Lincoln County Fire Protection District # 1 in Troy, MO, was First Runner-Up. Greg Flick, Firefighter with North Central Carroll County Fire Protection District in Tina, MO, and Robert Little, Fire Apparatus Operator/Medic with Central Jackson County Fire Protection District in Blue Springs, MO both tied for Second Runner-Up.
Director Hedrick acknowledged the important job that all fire service instructors perform by saying, “Fire Instructors have the responsibility of preparing the firefighter to competently perform skills and techniques necessary in saving lives and property of the citizens they serve. The potential impact that each instructor can make through each class they deliver is incalculable. Through the classes they teach, MU FRTI Instructors enable Missouri firefighters do their work better and more safely by providing the best and most relevant training and education.”
MU FRTI is charged with the responsibility of providing comprehensive continuing professional education training to Missouri’s fire service and emergency response personnel. Last year over 13,900 fire and emergency service first responders received training from the Institute. The Institute has a cadre of over 150 adjunct instructors.