Irvington volunteer department dedicates second fire station
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - After nearly 70 years as a volunteer department, Irvington Fire, just outside Omaha, officially opened and dedicated its second station.
“In 2008, we had a vision that the county keeps moving this direction, so we thought we would build a satellite fire station so we can help serve the people on this end of our district,” says Rescue Captain Tom Townsend on Sunday morning to a crowd of several dozen.
“For me, it’s continuing on what our charter members did in 1952, there were 24 members that started the volunteer fired department, and basically built what it is up to this point,” says Chief Nolan Paulsen. “We’re just trying to continue on what they did for their community, that they saw the needs that were needed for fire and EMS.”
But, this is just phase one for the station.
“Phase two is we incorporate more classrooms, more training areas, more office space, and day room space,” he says. “Phase three is actually adding three more bays to the south for more equipment.”
Phase two and three are for the possibility that the department may have more staff at the newer station as they continue to grow.
But in recent years, recruitment has proven difficult for many volunteer departments around the state and country. Chief Paulsen says their station is no different, but they’re still lucky.
“It all speaks back to our community, we’ve got great community support, great support from our rural fire district we belong to, and us being so close to a larger metropolitan, that does help. There are times our department does struggle, along with some of the others, but we know what they’re going through as well.”
Right now, to be a member of the department, you must live within about five minutes of the station to be able to quickly respond to emergency calls. But Paulsen says they’re working to expand the restriction to allow for more members.
“Either it be by EMS only, or doing shifts, so those are hopefully coming down the road to hopefully put more members at the station here along with more members down at the main station, too.”
More staff, more equipment, and more resources are all necessary for helping the department respond to the growing number of calls they get. This year, Paulsen says they’re on track to respond to nearly 1,000 calls, between two and three per day.
“For being an all-volunteer department, it takes a lot.”
But Paulsen also says the growth and success of the department wouldn’t be possible without their growing community.
“Thank you to our district for always supporting us, helping us have all the best equipment, and best training we can have.”
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