History of the Jackson Fire Department
The Jackson Fire Department was founded in 1892 with 48 charter members. The initial funding for the department was provided by the members themselves, who paid $1.00 to join the department and $0.25 per meeting. The first equipment purchased was a hand-drawn/hand-operated pump and a fire bell that summoned members to a fire call. This bell is still on display today in front of the department.
The department upgraded its equipment to a horse-drawn fire engine.
The fire department built its first station next to the current Village Hall location.
The first motorized piece of equipment was purchased and was built on a Model-T frame.
A siren was purchased as the newest way to signal the firemen. The siren was the first of its kind in the area.
The fire department met with the Town of Jackson and the Town of Polk about possible fire protection contracts. A new Village Hall was also constructed that year, and the fire department gave the village $500 to build an additional ten feet onto Village Hall to house the fire trucks.
Two (2) air masks were purchased for the members.
The department installed a 1,000-gallon tank on a Ford chassis it had purchased for $513. The first Jackson tanker was born!
During the "Action in Jackson" celebration, a fire caused an estimated $300,000 loss, which devastated the Jackson Canning Company.
"Fire phones" were installed in homes and businesses of key fire department personnel. All of the phones would ring in a special sequence and any of those phones could answer.
Two-way radios were installed in the trucks and a tower was built on the Village Hall. The department was authorized to have it's own radio base station.
A spectacular fire at the fertilizer plant on South Center Street occurred and could be seen for miles.
High-band pagers were being used to alert firemen. This system was connected to an upgraded telephone system that could be used to activate the pagers.
The department moved to it's location on Jackson Drive and was expanded a number of times to accommodate new equipment.
The JFD rescue squad made it's first run on January 4th. Later that year, a new Pierce pumper was purchased for $50,000, making it the most expensive truck purchased to date.
New pagers were purchased, and the Washington County Sheriff's Department began handling dispatching.
A popular roller-skating rink was destroyed in a large fire on January 1st.
A new, fully-enclosed crew cab pumper was purchased for $170,000 to keep the operator and personnel out of the weather. A Jaws of Life tool was purchased and placed on the new pumper.
The EMTs were certified to use a defibrillator to restart cardiac patients' hearts.
A used ladder truck was purchased from Hartford Fire Department.
The department's first full-time employee was hired to cover daytime duties and calls.
The call volume for the year was 245 EMS calls and 80 fire related calls.
Major events during the year included a natural gas rupture on Hwy 60, two (2) major barn fires within ten days of one another, and a compost fire that took 600,000 galls of water to extinguish.
A new Smeal 75' ladder was purchased at a cost of $350,000.
A thermal imaging camera was donated to the fire department by the department support group.
The department's response area had grown to approximately 11,000 people in a 48-square mile area. The call volume rose to 285 EMS calls and 110 fire related calls.
The Director of Public Safety retired and the Village appointed a new, full-time, Fire Chief. The Fire Marshall was also hired and became the second full-time member of the department.
The department took delivery of a new 1280 Command vehicle in May of that year and ran a total of 316 EMS calls and 143 fire related calls.
The department added a third full-time member to the department to handle the increased workload.
The department took delivery of the Chief's car and a replacement ambulance.
The Washington County Dive team was formed and four (4) members of the Jackson Fire Department joined the team. The department received a grant from FEMA to replace all of the self contained breathing apparatus and increased firefighter safety.
The EMS crews increased their level of care to IV Technician and could now administer additional drugs and IV fluids en route. The grass rig was replaced after 20 years of faithful service, and 16 members of the department joined the Washington County Hazardous Materials team.
The department took delivery of 1261, the new state-of-the-art Pierce lance fire engine. The engine had seating for eight (8), an onboard foam system, telescoping light mast, hydraulic generator, and could carry 1,000 gallons of water.
The department replaced their 1996 rescue engine with a new Pierce engine, with improved safety and operational characteristics, onboard hydraulic generator and pump for Jaws of Life, light mast, and room for a crew of six (6).
1285 was replaced with a new and improved 4x4 equipment/air truck. The improved capabilities of the truck allowed it to get into areas that were formerly unreachable with a total crew compliment of five (5).