FAQ

Can we light fireworks off in the City of Spencer?  If not, where.

The only fireworks that you can light are the same ones that were legal in the city of Spencer before the state passed the sale of all fireworks.  In Spencer the following firework are legal, Sparklers, Snakes, and, Caps.

How many career/paid on call are there?

There is currently five career firefighters and are about 35 Paid on call for a total of 40 combination firefighters.

How many sleep at the station.

Only one firefighter sleeps at the station.

When is the chief at the station?

The Fire Chief is at the station from 8:00AM to 5:30PM, but he also puts in a lot of extra hours so sometimes he gets in earlier, and stays longer.  However, the Fire Chief is always on call 24/7

Who was the last Volunteer Fire Chief?

George Harleman

Who was the first full time Fire Chief?

Stewart Mackie

What does it take to become a career/paid on call firefighter?

To become career, you have to have firefighting experience, and complete a civil service test.  Paid on call firefighters, need have no experience, but must be able to train, and pass FF1.  Applications can be obtained at the fire station.

Do you go outside the city limits?

We mutual aid with surrounding departments on all structure fires and motor vehicle collisions with personal injury.  We also have contracts that home owners and business can obtain at city hall, for out of the city limits owners.

How do you get your funding?

Once a year we send out donation letters to the residents of Spencer.  Donations help us get specific tools that are needed for specific tasks.  Without donations, we would not be so fortunate to have items such as Jaws of Life, PPV Fans, Ventilation saws, etc.  We also receive a budget from the City of Spencer, along with Federal and state grants.

Have you ever rescued a cat from a tree? 

We have rescued a cat from a tree once.  The cat was stuck up in a tree because he was caught in a trap and ran up the tree, causing his foot to get wedged on a limb.  Once down from the tree, Spencer police officers took the cat to a local veterinarian where it was treated for minor injuries.

Do you ever burn down houses?

The last house that we burned was in the 1990’s.  Do to current regulations and liability, we do not offer that anymore.  But, we still have trainings, such as search and rescue, ventilation and nozzle control in old abandoned buildings with the owners consent.

Do you allow tours at the station?

Call the fire station at (712)580-7240 to schedule your tour.  We would be honored.

Can you do inspections?

We partner with the State Fire Marshal’s office on new building inspections.  We also do annual inspections for existing business.  But, if you would like us to come and look at your house and give pointers on how to make it more fire “safe” we will definitely do that.

Do you do extinguisher training for businesses?

Yes we do, please call the Fire Station to schedule at (712)580-7240

Do you participate in Fire Prevention Week?

Yes we do.  We visit all grade schools, Pre K through 6th Grade.  They all receive handouts as well as a classroom discussion.  We also have students come and visit the station.  We also go to daycare centers along with some in house daycare providers.

Do you have a Junior Firefighter Program?

Yes we do.  You must have a valid driver’s license and be between the age of 17-18 yrs. old.  Please visit the Fire station to pick your application and the more specifics.

What else do you do besides fight fires and medical calls?

Having a fire station requires a lot of day to day maintenance on the trucks, building, and equipment.  We also give a lot of talks to area businesses and large gatherings to discuss fire safety.  We also volunteer to help at the Clay County Fair, Clay County Speedway, Upper Des Moines Adopt a Family, Spencer School System

How often do you train?

Our normal trainings happen on Thursday nights.  This does not include specialty trainings that some of the firefighters attend.  Some of the Specialty trainings may require travel.

Do I have to pay for my training?

No, Spencer Fire Department pays for all trainings with the approval from the Fire Chief.

What medical level do I have to be if I want to join and do medical calls.

You can be at any level EMT or above.  Currently though, we are a EMT B level service

Do you train with other fire departments?

We like to train with all departments in Clay County.  It is important to train with other departments that you could be fighting fire with, or at a Motor Vehicle Collision scene.  We also occasionally train with other counties in Iowa, to bring in new ideas and tactics.

How much does your gear cost?  

A.   Full turn out gear cost approximately $3400, and this does not include Air Packs if needed to go inside a structure.  Those are an additional $6,200.

How much does a firetruck cost?

Our trucks are valued between $450,000 and $850,000.  This does not include the tools needed to put in operation.

Does the firetrucks have a specific duty?

Yes they do.  We have a grass rig that is used specifically for Grass and wildland fires.  We have pumpers that carry tools to fight fires in structure buildings, and we also have a ladder truck that is used   to gain access to upper level structures, like windows or roof access.  This ladder truck also has a stand pipe that goes to the tip, so it can also spray water if needed.

Do you still have the firetruck that fought the famous 1931 fire?

Yes we do.  It is a 1918 LaFrance.  The City sold it to a place in South Dakota, to be used on a irrigation system.  It is back home now where it belongs, across the street of the fire station in the museum.

What years were the old and new fire station built?

The old station that is located on the south side of the new fire station was built in 1941 and the new station was built in 2006.

How much does your gear weigh?

When a firefighter puts on his gear to fight fire, it will add another 30 lbs.  If he has to put on an air pack, that’s an additional 25 lbs.  So that’s 55lbs that he has to wear.  That doesn’t include additional tools that he has to carry.