Tell us about yourself and why you decided to join the fire service.
My name is Brandon Mellick and I’m currently a Sergeant on 1st platoon with Buechel Fire-Ems, as well as the Training Officer. I grew up in Mt. Washington, Kentucky which is located 13 miles south of Louisville. I spent most of my child hood busy between baseball, basketball, and other extracurricular activities. Before I graduated High School, I was determined to join the Air Force and fly planes, that was until I was introduced into the fire service. It was then that I had found my calling and passion for what I wanted in my life and as a career. I joined the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department as a volunteer which lead me to obtaining an Associate’s Degree in Fire/Rescue Technology which then would lead to accepting a part-time position with the Shelbyville Fire Department, and a full-time position with Louisville Metro Emergency Medical Services as an EMT. Eventually these careers lead to a full-time position with the Buechel Fire Protection District located in the suburbs of Louisville. After a few years I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and was given an opportunity to take over as the training officer which has led to opportunities that I would have never imagined. On my off time I spend time currently finishing up my Bachelors in Fire Administration with a focus of Arson Investigation, boating, and hanging out with friends and family.
Who or what has inspired you as a fire instructor?
There have been numerous people that have inspired me to not only be a better firefighter but also be a good fire service instructor. First off, my family and friends, my current Fire Chief Adam Jones, my first Captain Cody Burd, and my current crew Captain Bryan Buckley, and Firefighter Chase Galvin have all pushed me and motivated me to be the best I can be not only as a firefighter but has a Fire Instructor. However, one name particular is Walt Elder. Walt took me under his wing from the start of my career and did everything he could to pass knowledge on to me. He inspired me to be better and to give an all-out effort. Not only the way he passed knowledge on to me was inspirational, but the ways he passed knowledge and treated other individuals of the fire service was inspirational.
Tell us about a project or training accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Recently our Fire Department took on the challenge to start up and operate an ambulance service. Within in the past year it has been a group effort to get the ambulance on track and up and running. As of August 28th, we were able to see that mile stone get reached and 3787 made its first medical call just 24 minutes after going in service. Along with working on all the training that needed to take place prior to the ambulance going on track, the on-going training that has to take place with EMT’s and Paramedics is just as important.
Given an opportunity as the Training Officer to build training programs was something that I was nervous and anxious at the same time. But the chance I was given was a once in a life time and being able to build these training programs and watch them come together was an awesome feeling. Watching the Ambulance pull out on its first run was a great accomplishment knowing all the training put together, long nights of paper work, blood sweat and tears put into the project, was finally taking off, it had been done. That would be one my biggest accomplishments of my career. What people can take away from this is don’t reinvent the wheel, use outside sources, use agencies that have gone through the same thing, ask for advice from them, take what they have done and modify it for your department (if it will work). Don’t be scared to jump into stuff if you never done it, it’s a learning experience and its one you’ll regret if you don’t take it. There is a light at the end of tunnel for all projects and always remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
What do you hope to accomplish as a fire service instructor?
What I hope to accomplish as a Fire Instructor is to simply be able to pass on knowledge and inspire other firefighters to have the passion to learn and do the best they can be. I want individuals to see passion, energy, excitement, willingness, and desire in everything that I do and want them to be able to have the same feeling. When I’m gone I want people to remember me as someone who never gave up, was passionate, excited, eager to learn and willing to take on any new challenge. Someone they could trust, talk to, laugh with, but also someone that helped them along with not only their careers but; their individual journeys.
What advice do you have to give another instructor or to somebody who is just starting out as an instructor?
Advice that I would give to other fire instructors is never stop learning, never let the flame burn out that got you into this profession. Always strive to do the best you can do and always give an all-out effort. Always be prepared for classes and have passion when you teach. Don’t leave your personality at the door, don’t worry about what people are thinking while you’re teaching, get involved with the individuals, get excited, show them how great this profession is. If you’re not good with classrooms, then go out in the bay and teach, go to a training ground, go to a local building. Pass on your knowledge and your passion.