LP Fire Department is committed to service and sacrifice
Putting others’ needs ahead of their own is something the Lester Prairie firefighters do on a regular basis.
In 2015, the department responded to 164 calls for service, including 96 medical/rescue calls.
Of the 12 fire calls, six were structure fires, three were grass/brush fires, two were off-road heavy equipment fires, and one was a cooking fire, according to Fire Chief Jim Hoof.
Other requests included service calls (18), false alarms (16), good intent calls (14), hazardous conditions (five), severe weather (two), and special incident (one).
Current firefighters in Lester Prairie include:
(*Indicates new probationary members)
The department also has auxiliary members, who need to be employed in the city of Lester Prairie and be active members of another qualified fire department.
Lester Prairie’s fire department is always accepting applications for new membership. People age 18 and older who are in good physical condition are eligible to apply. There is no maximum age limit, but firefighters have to pass a physician’s exam to ensure they are in good health. For more information or to request an application, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any fire department member.
“We are glad to report that none of the fire calls resulted in injury or death,” Hoof noted.
Education and demonstrations
Fire prevention education is an ongoing task for the Lester Prairie Fire Department.
The fire prevention program at Lester Prairie Schools emphasizes fire prevention and includes a poster contest for grades k-5. Children are taught the “stop, drop, and roll” technique, how to find fire exits, how to use a fire alarm, and how to call 911.
The department also hosts open houses and, at times, makes use of a smoke trailer to demonstrate smoky conditions in a house fire.
Current members of the Lester Prairie Fire Department include Don Artmann, Josh Artmann, Chris Bahr, Dan Barrett, Keith Christen, Paul Christensen, Scott Christenson, Shadd Dial, Steve Dietel, Dave Dressler, Chris Ehalt, Jeff Forcier, Nick Fosdick, Josh Foust, Derek Frost, Neil Hecksel, Andy Heimerl, Jim Hoof, Aaron Hoover, Dave Horsman, Luke Meyer, Chris Mike, Fred Pawelk, Mike Schauer, Wade Schultz, Justin Thompson, Matt Tonn, and Maurice Tonn.
In 2011, the department also added two auxiliary members, Dan Kroells of the Green Isle Fire Department and Dan Ruschmeier of the New Germany Fire Department.
Auxiliary members need to be employed in the city of Lester Prairie and be active members of another qualified fire department.
“These two firefighters are a great asset to us during the day when we typically have limited response personnel,” Jim Hoof noted.
Becoming a firefighter
Lester Prairie Fire Department has maintained its commitment to protecting the community since 1892.
Jim Hoof, who has been on the fire department for 35 years, said being a firefighter has been a rewarding experience.
“It’s a special way to give back to the community,” he said.
There is room for a total of 30 members, and the department typically trains in a few people at a time.
People age 18 and older who are in good physical condition are eligible to apply. There is no maximum age limit, but firefighters have to pass a physician’s exam to ensure they are in good health.
Potential members must pass a background check conducted by a local law enforcement agency, as well as an interview process with a fire selection committee.
Upon acceptance into the department, a new member must successfully complete an NFPA 1001 Firefighter course supplied by the fire department.
“That’s 132 hours, alone,” Hoof said.
First responder training is an additional 40 hours of instruction, but that isn’t required in order to become a firefighter.
“Just about everyone wants to become a first responder, though,” Hoof said.
Even after a person is fully trained as a firefighter, there are always additional training requirements.
The department has a business meeting the first Monday of each month, and training meetings the third Monday of each month.
The department is always accepting applications for new membership.
For more information or to request an application, write to PO Box 911, Lester Prairie, MN 55354; e-mail email@example.com; or contact any fire department member.