WINSTED, MN Winsted Fire Chief Brian Langenfeld, in his third year as chief, presented a department report during the city council meeting June 4.
The department currently has 24 members. The maximum roster is 30. “We are always looking for new members,” Langenfeld said.
Qualifications to serve the community as a member of the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department include:
• Must be 18 years of age.
• Must have a valid drivers license.
• Must be able to perform physical tasks in all kinds of weather.
• Tasks may include heavy lifting.
No previous experience is required. All training and equipment is provided. Applications are available online or at Winsted City Hall.
The department responded to 238 calls in 2018. Of these, 184 were medical calls. There were 16 fire calls, and 14 calls for gas/carbon monoxide/smoke alarms. There were 22 canceled calls and two false alarms.
The department logged 1,752 man-hours responding to calls (this does not include hours spent in training).
There have been 106 calls so far in 2019. These include 90 medical calls, one fire, one SKYWARN (storm spotting) call, nine calls for gas/carbon monoxide/smoke alarms, and five cancelled calls.
Langenfeld said the auto aid program that was started last year with the Lester Prairie Fire Department has been going well. Under this program, whenever there is a call for a confirmed fire or an auto crash with injuries, both departments are paged at the same time, which reduces response time.
Previously, each department might have been paged for mutual aid anyway, but under the current agreement, both are paged at the same time for fires or injury crashes in either department’s service area.
This is especially important during the day, when fewer firefighters are available to respond. Langenfeld noted that local businesses who employ firefighters have been good to work with, allowing the firefighters to respond to calls that come in during working hours.
Langenfeld said he has had discussions with the Howard Lake Fire Department to explore the possibility of establishing an auto aid arrangement with that department.
Langenfeld noted that the Winsted and Lester Prairie fire departments have been doing a lot of cross training. One benefit of this is members from each department are familiar with the equipment used by the other department.
Winsted’s fire service area includes the City of Winsted and portions of Hollywood, Victor, Winsted, and Woodland townships.
Each year, the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department hosts a spaghetti dinner the Thursday prior to the Winstock Country Music Festival in June, and an annual Firefighter’s Pancake Breakfast the Sunday morning following the Winsted Summer Festival in August.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard a 2018 audit summary that noted the city is financially healthy, and no areas of concern were identified.
• discussed, during the workshop session, the methodology for fire department charges for service.
• discussed issues with the city hall heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
• discussed a Phase 1 environmental site assessment for the property at 121 Baker Ave. E.
• heard from Police Chief Justin Heldt that an estimated 60 to 70 children participated in the recent bike rodeo to promote bicycle safety.
• heard from Heldt that there is an ongoing problem with people not cleaning up after their dogs. Police officers carry dog bags in their squads to help residents take care of this task.
• heard from City Administrator Adam Birkholz that the city’s local government aid (LGA) from the state is expected to increase about $17,000 in 2020.