Craig Ratz says he believes fire safety and fire prevention go hand in hand. The Portage Fire Department’s inspector is responsible for conducting routine checks every six months at 1,040 buildings in Portage and its four surrounding towns. That array of buildings includes major employers such as Portage Plastics, big-box stores like Walmart, popular restaurants including La Tolteca and a host of apartment complexes. “He’s very much an asset to the department in teaching about fire prevention and keeping people safe in the city,” Portage Fire Chief Clayton Simonson said. When Ratz inspects a location, he likes to start at the top floor and work his way down, checking wires, breaker boxes, fire exits and safety gear each time. It’s a rewarding job for him. “It’s what I was made to do. I love it,” said Ratz, who spends about 60 percent of his time at work conducting inspections.