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Categorized | Featured, News

In the Spotlight: The Cedar Springs Fire Department

The Cedar Springs Fire Department fights a fire in Northland Estates in 2013.

By Carolee Cole

The Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue Department is a lean, clean, helping machine, full of spunk, kindness and compassion. These men and women volunteer to do many different things in our community and while all volunteers are important and keep the community moving forward with their efforts, I think I can safely say that no other volunteer group has as much responsibility or is required to be as available, without forewarning, as our amazing Fire and Rescue Department. 

Fire Chief Marty Fraser

There are 13 active firefighters and five first responders currently serving the department. Marty Fraser is our Fire Chief and the only salaried employee of the department. He is a most unassuming, humble man focused, number one, on keeping us and our possessions safe, and number two, on leading his department well. He’s been involved with the fire department for nearly 40 years having joined in April of 1977. I’m just going to say, this good-looking, kind-hearted man must have still been a teenager when he joined! 

A few members of the team have been serving the department for over 25 years and several joined in 1998, so there is a lot of cumulative experience represented in your local fire department. You can count on them to be there when you need them and to know what to do! To become a firefighter, you attend school one night per week and one Saturday per month for 6 months. Medical First Responders (MFR’s) typically attend training to become a firefighter and then attend MFR school for an additional 12-14 weeks. After initial training is complete, each member of the department is required to continue training once per month for a total of 60-80 hours per year to keep their training and certification up-to-date. School and training is paid for by the department.

In addition to keeping us safe and keeping their training relevant, firefighters participate in a lot of community events like parades, car shows, going to the elementary schools or career day at the high school as well as Girl and Boy Scouts’ events and other clubs in the area. Fire Chief Fraser noted that the firefighters are quick to volunteer for these events and donate countless hours to keep our children and us clear on safety things like, “Stop, Drop and Roll” and scream and holler if you’re ever trapped in a burning house, as well as child car seat checks and much more. This team has a real sense of Cedar Springs pride and community contribution.

I bet you are wondering what your firefighters get paid to keep you safe, attend the training, and show up with the fire trucks at school, girl scouts and parades. Let’s break it down. They get paid $0 for showing up at parades, school activities, girl scouts and other such scheduled events. They get $120 per year for attending all trainings and meetings. And, they get paid $11 for each emergency response. That’s it, unless the run goes over three hours, then they get an additional $11 for the second three hours! I’m actually doubting that these payments cover their gas money! But, That. Is. It! And they have to be ready at a moment’s notice since heart attacks and car accidents as well as fires are not scheduled into our days. 

While we were talking to Chief Fraser, a call came in. Stacy Velting, a medical first responder (MFR) for the department, responded to a medical situation at a local business. Stacey got there before the ambulance, assessed the situation, and developed a rapport with the person collecting their health history, name and contact information. The person was transported to the hospital and Stacy returned to the station where she repacked the “First In” bag and made sure it was ready for the next call.

We are so lucky to be the beneficiaries of the commitment the Cedar Springs Fire Department brings to the job of keeping us safe. In the next few weeks we’ll do a follow-up article to get you even more impressive information about how effective they are. Between now and then, drive by the department when the team is out washing the trucks, training or preparing the equipment for another call and yell out a thanks to them. 

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