In the early days of American Fire Departments, orders were given to the firefighters, by officers speaking through a device that resembled a megaphone. These were very ornate brass horns. They were commonly called “Bugles” or “Speaking Trumpets.” The bugle was worn around the officer’s neck so they could direct firefighting operations, therefore officers were easily identified. The Bugle is unique to the fire service; it is a tradition. Officers wear insignias on their uniform to indicate their rank. At the Merrill Fire Department this tradition carries on with the use of bugles to identify rank, twin crossed bugles on a badge signifies the Battalion Chief.
The Merrill Fire Department is proud to announce the promotion of Firefighter-Paramedic Phillip Skoug to the rank of Battalion Chief–Administration. BC Skoug has earned his crossed bugles. The BC-Administration vacancy was created after previous BC-Administration Mike Drury retired in December. A badge pinning ceremony is planned in April to mark this promotion.
The Battalion Chief-Administration is a command officer within the fire department; he is responsible for Training Division, Fire Prevention Bureau, Fire Administration Liaison and Special Projects Program.
FF/PM Phil Skoug, 46, Merrill, will be promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief Administration in March 2018. He has been a member of the Merrill Fire Department for 16 years, Prior to serving with the Merrill Fire Department, Phil served for over 10 years with both the Waterloo and Town of Madison Fire Departments as a Firefighter-EMT. BC Skoug attended Madison Area Technical College and earned his Fire Protection Technician Associate of Science Degree. Phil also has State of Wisconsin certifications as a Fire Officer I, Emergency Services Instructor, Fire Inspector and Paramedic.
“Phil has already had a long and distinguished career with the Merrill Fire Department,” Chief Dave Savone said. “This promotion allows him to tap his talents and experience in ways that will be of even greater benefit to the department, to our firefighters and to the citizens of Merrill.”
The Merrill Fire Department has 23 staff members, serving on three 48-hour shifts. Each shift has a Battalion Chief-Operations and six firefighters. The fire department responds to approximately 2,000 all-hazards, fire & EMS incidents a year. Firefighters also provide fire safety instruction, CPR training, First aid training and station tours to the public and local schools.