Fort Dodge Fire Department
Building, vehicle upgrades planned
The year 2023 promises to be one of new advances for the Fort Dodge Fire Department.
The department is beginning the year with new Assistant Fire Chief Matt Price in office.
A building addition that is finally underway is now expected to be completed in May.
And a new engine is expected to arrive at the firehouse soon.
While buildings and trucks are eye-catching, a much less visible change for the department will impact the way future firefighters are recruited and hired.
“We’re removing any barriers to hiring people,” Fire Chief Steve Hergrenreter said. “We’re trying to make it easier for people to get in and take our test.”
To do that, the department has joined a group of Des Moines metro area departments that conduct one computer-based civil service exam for entry level firefighters.
New Assistant Chief
Price came to Fort Dodge from the Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department near Des Moines, where he was a captain and emergency medical service coordinator. His first day on the job here was Oct. 31.
As assistant fire chief, Price will be in charge of day-to-day operations, including standard operating procedures, training, recruitment and retention.
“I’m coming here for the long term,” he said. “My intent is to serve the community. I want to provide them with the best fire and EMS we can manage.”
The addition on the north side of the firehouse at 1515 Central Ave. will provide space for offices and a conference room. It will also become the new main entry to the building. Additionally, the overhead doors on the 15th Street side of the building will be replaced as part of the project.
Kolacia Construction, of Fort Dodge, has a $1,374,000 contract for the project.
Hergenreter said the addition is expected to be done in early May.
The new truck will be a pumper. It will be able to pump 1,750 gallons of water per minute. It will carry 500 gallons of water to put out small fires and to start the initial attack on larger fires. It will also carry 25 gallons of foam.
It will replace a 2011 pumper with a long history of mechanical problems.
Accomplishments of 2022
A committee of six firefighters wrote 250 pages of specifications for a truck called a tower ladder that will eventually replace the department’s 16-year-old ladder truck.
The purchase of the new rig, costing about $1.6 million, was approved by the City Council, but it will take a couple years to build it.
During the past year, the department received a new breathing air compressor used to refill the self-contained breathing apparatus worn by firefighters.