Jefferson Volunteer Firefighters Association
History and Organization
This is the official page of the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department. The department was organized in June, 1896 and consists of approximately 50 firefighters. Today it consists of 28 firefighters. Of those 28 members, the department is constructed as follows: A chief, assistant chief, captain, lieutenant (safety officer), second lieutenant (Haz-Mat officer), sergeant (training officer), secretary/treasurer, and assistant secretary/treasurer. All members are members of the Greene County Fire Association and The Iowa’s Firemen’s Association.
The department is located at the intersection of Chestnut and Washington Streets. We have a satellite station located in the northern part of town. The department has a total of eight (8) vehicles that are used for fire fighting, diving (underwater recovery), rescue, and property protection. The department serves the community as other departments do through public safety efforts. Besides extinguishing fires, we have a diving team which is certified through PADI; rescue tools through Lukas HURST (Jaws of Life) for extracting of accident victims of auto and other mechanical equipment; certified haz-mat operational level technicians for handling hazardous material spills through out the county. The department has several members that are qualified for rescues from confined spaces, as in underground tunnels (sewers, etc.) and several personnel that are certified emergency medical technicians (EMT’s).
Jack Williams, Chief
Shawn T. Olson
In the event of a fire, twenty-eight (28) Jefferson citizens are ready to put out the flames. But, putting out fires is not the only responsibility of the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Association.
They not only fight fires both in town and outside of town, but also respond to all accidents outside of the city limits and any accidents in town at the request of the Emergency Medical Service. On top of their emergency responsibilities, they educate the town about fire prevention and safety. The Jefferson Volunteer Fire Association gives presentations to grade school children, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as to children in daycares. They also provide programs for local large businesses, service groups and industries.
The Jefferson Volunteer Fire Association is a volunteer service and responds to nearly one hundred fires each year. Sometimes there are multiple fires in the same day.
As part of a small-town Iowan community, take pride in knowing there are so many people in your town willing to risk their lives to help the community remain safe.
The City of Jefferson takes several precautions to ensure the safety of the volunteer firefighters by purchasing gear for the firefighters at a cost of nearly $1,000 each.
Most citizens are probably familiar with the fire-retardant coats, pants and boots the firemen wear, but may not know that they have been redesigned in recent years to offer protection not only from fire, but from blood-born pathogens as well. A liner, impervious to blood, has been sewn into the lining of the fire jackets to protect the firemen while responding to vehicle accidents or other instances when they can come into contact with another person's blood.
Also, each fireman wears a mask that now features a microphone to allow easy communication. Prior to this, hearing a person with a mask on speak, was nearly impossible.
One of the most important safety features employed by the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Association is a monitor worn by each fireman. The monitor will do nothing if the fireman is moving, but if the fireman becomes still, if perhaps he falls, the monitor will emit a beep so other firefighters can find and rescue him.
When entering a burning building, the firemen all wear oxygen tanks and travel in pairs. The rule of thumb in a fire is not to split up, but always enter and exit with your partner.
The efforts, combined with rigorous training contribute to the well-being of the entire community as well as the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Association.
The department has several kinds of equipment they need to use, depending on the circumstances of the emergency. The following vehicles are garaged at the main station:
1984 Chevrolet pumper– 750 gallon per minute with a front mounted Hale pump and 750 gallon water supply tank.
1986 Chevrolet pumper - with a 750 gallon per minute front mounted Hale pump and 1000 gallon water supply tank with rear quick dump.
1994 Chevrolet Kodiak pumper – 750 gallon per minute front mounted Hale pump and 1000 gallon water supply tank with rear quick dump.
2003 Chevrolet 1 ton 4x4 pickup – used for fast attack unit with a 400 gallon water supply tank.
2003 International Tanker – with an 1800 gallon water supply tank.
2005 International pumper – with a 2000 gallon water supply tank.
The following units are located at the satellite station in the City Street Department Shop Building located in the northern part of town:
1978 International cab-over pumper – 750 gallons per minute pump and 750 gallon water supply tank.
16’ flat bottom boat with trailer.
1923 Studebaker pumper – mainly used in parades and other functions.
We cover approximately twelve (12) miles wide and fifteen (15) miles long or 180 sq. miles. We have mutual aid agreements with all county wide cities and with several other outlying counties.
We average twelve (12) members of the department respond to the call on the first page. We average five to seven (5-7) minutes from the call to the first unit arrival to the scene.
The Jefferson Volunteer Firefighters Association meets every Wednesday night. We train on the first, third, and fourth Wednesday nights. We have a meeting on the second Wednesday of each month. Our regional and state trainings include:
Firefighter 1 &2
Fire Prevention Week – second week of October
Smoke Detector Program – free
Classes for all age/grades of children
Demolition Derby at the County Fair
Wash commercial parking lots and bleachers at Greene County Fair grounds
Memorial Day flag raising
All parades and pep rallies
Bell Tower Pancake Breakfast
Qualifications of a Firefighter and Other Interesting Facts
A. Qualifications to be a firefighter
1. Must be at least 21 years of age
2. Must live within city limits
3. Would like to be a long-term resident
B. Each new firefighter is placed on a 6- month probation.
C. It costs almost $1,000 to purchase the gear for one firefighter.
D. Extensive training includes
1. First aid
4. How to use equipment
E. In a fire situation:
1. The first responder vehicle is the first to leave for the scene and it carries a jaws of life and 400 gallons of water.
2. The equipment van carries equipment such as air packs, saws and absorbents to the scene.
3. Tanker transports 2,000 gallons of water and has a portable tank so that it can fill that at scene and leave to get more water.
4. Two pumper trucks are used by the fire department too.
F. The Jefferson Volunteer Fire Association fights 90-100 fires per year.
G. There are 28 firefighters.
H. Normally, they will only send half the firefighters out to battle a fire in the county.
I. If the firemen have to go into a fire, they must wear an air pack, a facemask, and a monitor that will beep if the fireman stops moving. The monitor helps the other men find a fireman if he falls. They always go in as a two man team and when one comes out, the other comes out, and that’s the rule!
J. Their face masks have microphones so they can talk.
K. Their coats turn red if they get to too high of a temperature and once this happens, the retardation is bad and the coat must be replaced.
L. They wear steel toed, steel shank boots to protect themselves.
M. Their coats now have an inner lining that is impervious to blood, so they are protected when responding to accidents.
N. At every fire, a person must be in charge, this is usually Chief.
O. The fire department responds to all car wrecks outside of town, but none in town unless the EMT calls them.
P. They have an underwater rescue boat and gear.
Q. The firefighters teach fire safety at the schools, give tours to boy/girl scouts and babysitting outfits and to factories/industries.