Oskaloosa Fire Department celebrates 150 years of service – Oskaloosa News


People of all ages participated in the many 150th anniversary activities of the Oskaloosa Fire Department.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Many children grow up imagining they are in a big red truck, rushing through town to fight a fire or save a life.

On Saturday, the Oskaloosa Fire Department opened for children and their families to see those big red trucks, talk with the firefighters and learn more about what these men and women are doing.

Adam Haroldson was one of the firefighters who helped plan the day of activities which included an immersion tank, Sno-Biz, a bounce house and an opportunity to practice extinguishing a fire with a real fire hose. ‘fire.

Saturday was also an opportunity for Oskaloosa Fire to celebrate 150 years of service to the community.

The responsibilities of firefighters have changed over the years, from steam pumps to today’s large ladder trucks.

The equipment that accompanies firefighters also changed during this period. With these changes came the need for more space for the larger equipment that is used today.

But the department hasn’t forgotten its roots and still uses its original station as part of the recent addition, making Oskaloosa the second oldest operating fire station west of the Mississippi River. Only one other fire station in California has served longer.

These traditions run deep in firefighters, and Haroldson said, “We are proud of our traditions and our history. “

Tim Nance is a former Oskaloosa Fire Department captain, and he shared his memories with Oskaloosa News in an interview earlier this year.

Nance said when a call came in during the night they had to jump and get dressed, slide down the pole and hastily put on their gear which usually sat next to the truck.

Nance remembers rolling over the tailgate of fire trucks as they ran through town.

“If you were to be one of the guys in the tailgate, you’d put on your bunker pants, your suspenders, your coat. By this time the guy driving the truck was already in the truck and ready to go. Then you would jump on it.

The firefighters then wrapped their arms around the bars on the back of the truck.

The intersection of Avenue A and the Market is still known today as a mad dash for those in the tailgate of trucks, with runners rising several inches from the tailgate of the truck as they passed through the intersection. “We had to hang on,” Nance said.

Nance, who has been retired from the fire department for six years, says fighting fires is about the same, but the equipment is different. “A lot of equipment has become more secure.”

Today’s firefighters love to listen and learn from retired firefighters when they come to visit them. Haroldson says firefighters today are listening to these people, “they can teach us so much.”

“It’s just crazy to think of how they fought fire and how much fire they fought before than we do now,” says Haroldson, indicating the fire prevention measures now in place.

Firefighters are also there for other rescues, such as grain elevators or hazardous material situations today. They also arrive to rescue people in motor vehicle accidents.

Tools and techniques have also changed dramatically for these types of rescue over the years.

When hydraulic rescue tools such as the “jaws of life” were first introduced to the public in the 1960s, they found their way into the fire service.

These early units were large and bulky and operated on hydraulics. Today’s tools are much lighter and more powerful, allowing rescuers to access injured people faster.

Thinking back to his career in the fire service, Haroldson began to realize that he could become one of those “old folks” and that he can now help these new firefighters with his experience.

In the end, the day was a “great team building exercise for our department,” added Haroldson. “We haven’t historically done a lot of events like this in the past, but with this success we can hopefully do it a lot more often in the future.”


Posted by Ken Allsup on Oct 9, 2021. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Comments and pings are currently closed.


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