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Firefighters wanted
April 10, 2017

Gabe Licht

DELANO, MN – When emergencies happen in the Delano area, Delano firefighters respond.

That happened 528 times in 2016.

Now, the Delano Fire Department is looking to add firefighters to its ranks, currently a roster of 20.

“If you are at all thinking or questioning being on the fire department, please make it a point to reach out and ask (Chief) Bob Van Lith or anyone on the fire department,” Captain 4 Mike Jensen said.

One way to do that is at an open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Delano Fire Station at 245 Second St.

“We’ll do a small presentation about what we expect, what we give back to community, and what we give back to ourselves and our families,” Jensen said. “It’s an abbreviated training, if you will. We would like to see anybody who has any interest apply.”

The job of a paid-on-call firefighter comes with a number of benefits.

“Few part-time jobs afford the chance to help others, serve the community, and qualify for a pension, all while providing an essential public service,” Captain 2 Matt Van Lith said. “ . . . Firefighting is very interesting and rewarding. There is a lot of satisfaction with being on an elite team and having thousands of people expect you to do a job well done.”

With those benefits come a number of requirements and expectations.

Currently, new Delano firefighters have 18 months to complete about 140 hours of training for the Firefighter 1 course, 30 to 36 hours for the Firefighter 2 course, and 40 hours of medical training. They are also required to pass all related exams to become state certified.

All firefighters must respond to a minimum of 30 percent of all calls throughout the year, and each firefighter is required to be a part of a smaller team and respond to all nighttime medical emergencies on a monthly rotation averaging four months a year.

The department is looking to add firefighters with varying times of availability.

“People who work in town and can respond between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. are very key to the department,” Jensen said. “Non-daytime responders are just as important as people who can respond during the day because of the duties of cleaning the trucks, cleaning the station, there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes. Running 528 calls is a lot of work in itself, then it’s making sure all the gear and trucks are ready all the time and getting the schools organized to make sure they have fire education and doing it efficiently is a job. It’s more than just fighting fires and responding to medical calls.”

In addition to fires and medical calls, the department also responds to vehicle crashes, severe weather observation, and water-related emergencies. The department’s territory covers about 70 square miles in Delano, Independence, Franklin Township, and Rockford Township, while also responding to mutual-aid calls in neighboring communities.

For more information, contact Bob Van Lith at bvanlith@delano.mn.us or (763) 972-0581.

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