Tadd Wegener has been promoted to the rank of Captain with the Merrill Fire Department.
Tadd Wegener has been promoted to the rank of Captain with the Merrill Fire Department.
On Monday, Aug. 11, the Merrill Fire Department will proudly welcome a new member to the department. Along with this new member, the promotion of one firefighter to the rank of Captain will take place during a badge pinning ceremony being held at 6 p.m. in the department training room of the fire station, 110 Pier St., Merrill. The public is invited.
Firefighting has a rich history which is reflected in the firefighter badge. Badge pinning is a proud tradition within fire departments, signifying the introduction of department members to their new duties and welcoming to their new department. This will also be an opportunity to introduce the new members to the city officials, community and the other fire department members.
New Firefighter-Paramedic Paul Peterson, 25, of Merrill, comes to the Merrill Fire Department with 2 years of experience with the Blooming Grove Volunteer Fire Department. Paul also worked as a Paramedic at Ryan Brother's Ambulance. Paul is a certified Paramedic, Firefighter I & II, Driver/Operator and has an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection.
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 Captain or Shift Commander of a fire company. 
FF/EMT Tadd Wagener, 50, Tomahawk, will be promoted to the rank of Captain/EMT. He has been a member of the Merrill Fire Department for 23 years. Prior to serving with Merrill, Tadd was in the Air Force as a Fire Protection Specialist, served in many different Air Force Bases. After leaving the Air Force, Captain Wegener was employed as a civilian firefighter at Mitchell Airport. Tadd attended Fox Valley Technical College and in his spare time works as an Adjunct Instructor for both North Central  and Nicolet Technical Colleges.
The Merrill Fire Department has 23 staff members, serving on three 48-hour shifts. Each shift has a captain 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.