Volunteer Fire Department
The Saint Peter Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1869 to extinguish fires in the community. The Fire Department is still an all-volunteer agency but the mission has evolved. Not only does the Department extinguish fires, it is actively engaged in public education, fire prevention, and rescue operations. The Fire Station is located at 227 West Mulberry Street.
Organization & Administration
The Department currently has thirty-two (32) members ranging from thirty-seven (37) years to less than one (1) year of experience. The area of responsibility includes the City of Saint Peter, and portions of Lake Prairie, Oshawa, and Traverse Townships, totaling approximately 90 square miles of ground.
The Department is directed by the Board of Fire Officers, consisting of the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, two (2) Captains, two (2) Lieutenants, and Safety Officer. All of them, except the Assistant Fire Chief, are elected on an annual basis by the membership. The Fire Chief on an annual basis appoints the Assistant Fire Chief. Each of these officers has specific duties and responsibilities both at the emergency scene as well as the day-to-day operations of the agency. In addition, the Department has four administrative officers that perform duties relating to the other day-to-day operations. They are the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
The City Administrator and the City Council of Saint Peter provide funding and direction.
Each member of the Department attends basic fire training courses during their first year of service. This covers ladders, ropes, use of tools, the science of fires, the science of picking an extinguishing agent for a specific type of fire, personal protective equipment, and a myriad of other subjects. When the basic school is over, members continue to train in other areas to develop a team approach such as fire attack tactics, command and control, special extinguishing agents, pump operation, and accident extrication.
Members are assigned to a committee within the Department. The committees are Public Education, Standard Operating Guidelines, Standing, Grievance, Dance, Special Projects, and Rural. In addition, the Chief may appoint a special committee for unusual circumstances. Each of these committees is constantly at work on issues relating to fire service in our community.
- Public Education Committee works with the schools, senior citizens, and other entities to make sure the message of fire safety is kept in the minds of those we serve
- Standard Operating Guidelines Committee works on methods of doing our job in a safe and efficient manner
- Grievance Committee is responsible for maintaining harmony within the Department by responding to concerns of members
- The Dance Committee puts on the annual dances sponsored by the Department and makes recommendations for expenditures of funds
- Standing Committee is responsible for maintaining control of the funds and authorizing expenditures
- Special Projects Committee generally covers the many other issues that the Department encounters
Members are also assigned to 1 of 2 companies within the department. It is anticipated that these assignments will assist the officers of each company, define their fire ground responsibilities and also assist with familiarizing themselves with the equipment when back at the station.
Equipment & Training
The Department currently has three pumpers, a seventy-five (75) foot snorkel, a 3,500 gallon tanker, an equipment truck, a grass fire truck, one extraction equipment pickup, a 1950 Mack pumper and a 1931 Nott classic pumper. One of the in-service pumpers is equipped with rescue extrication equipment designed for removing persons that are trapped in a motor vehicle.
In the past, members were summoned to the fire hall by a large bell that was rung by someone needing the Department. The civil defense sirens, sounding four blasts to summon members, replaced the bell. Each member is equipped with a tone-activated pager that gives him or her the type of emergency, the location and directions, as well as other important information.
Members meet at the Fire Hall on the first Monday of each month to discuss needs, problems, and update members on activities and assignments. Members practice their skills on the second Thursday of each month at a regular fire drill. Every three months, there is an additional drill on the third Wednesday. The Fire Chief calls additional drills when opportunities or special needs arise.
When openings for Firefighter occur, the City advertises in the St. Peter Herald and posts the opening at City Hall and on the City website. Applicants must live within a six (6) minute response time and have been within the six (6) minute response time for twelve (12) months prior to application. Testing is done by the Board of Fire Officers in the form of an oral exam and physical agility test. Successful candidates have a background check performed, along with a complete physical examination and drug testing.