MOORE HAVEN — Glades County Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician Michael Torres is a youthful recent addition to the Public Safety Department and plans soon to be a full-fledged paramedic.
Originally from Miami, Torres is a Class of 2012 graduate of Miami Sunset High School who played on their vaunted football team for all four years of his schooling there.
He moved to Fort Lauderdale after getting hired as an emergency medical technician in 2015. Torres attended the Broward Fire Academy for both EMT and Fire I & II, became a firefighter in July 2017 and was then hired with Southwest Ranches Fire Rescue and working with Davie Fire Rescue.
At 26, he is already certified as an EMT-B (for basic) and said, “I’m currently at Health Career Institute in Fort Lauderdale for my paramedics class.” He’ll be finishing that instruction by summer’s end.
Long drive to hospitals here
He couldn’t put a finger on what exactly motivated him or inspired him originally toward this career but said, “Being a firefighter is something I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was able to walk and talk.”
Coming from the closely populated southeast coast, to him the biggest difference now, in serving a rural Florida county, is not just his own 90-mile commute but the wide open spaces.
“The biggest difference that I’ve seen really is just the transport times. I’m used to having transport options where I’ll have three or four hospitals within 1- to 15-minute transports depending on the type of call and what hospital they require (cardiac, stroke, burn, pediatric, trauma, etc.),” Torres said.
He said he really enjoys an annual event for firefighters in various parts of the United States, the 9/11 Tunnels to Towers 5K run that leads to climbing stairs. “There was one firefighter who had to run 3.5 miles, then ran up one of the towers, so they hold the 5K run” in remembrance, he said.
Torres said he has a girlfriend and two kids, a 10-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, and when he’s not busy, “My hobbies are working out, doing fundraiser runs like Tunnels to Towers and other 5K events, fishing/boating, anything outdoors, really.”
His advice to youths who may be thinking about public safety careers:
“I’d tell them the same thing I tell anyone who asks — it’s not the easiest profession; sometimes it’s the most difficult.”
But an attitude of enthusiasm helps. “You have some good days and some bad ones but there’s nothing like it. It’s definitely the most rewarding job there is,” Torres said. “I’ve been in the field since 2012 and still come in every day as if it’s my first day working.”