Located in Mound, Minnesota, approximately 30 minutes west of Minneapolis, the Mound Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1923 to serve the growing community and surrounding area. As of 2002, the number of people MFD serves and protects has grown to approximately 17,500. MFD has a proud tradition of excellence in service and activity among the communities in its fire service area.
Currently there are 42 active firefighters on the department, as well as a full time chief, with several applicants for many positions that might open or be added. Among the firefighters currently in force, there is a combined 386 years of service and experience to the Mound Fire Service Area.
The people dedicated to giving their time as firefighters invest a large portion of their lives to the responsibility of protecting their community. All members of the MFD have primary occupations outside the fire department, yet they spend an average of 70 hours each month in fire service, drills and training, and maintenance of the apparatus and station.
MFD provides not only firefighting, but also medical rescue response, auto extrication, water and ice rescue, hazardous materials response, and fire prevention service. Included in the occupations of our volunteer personnel are one paramedic, one emergency room physician, and two registered nurses. All the while, MFD is also keeping pace with the mandated requirements for training and physical fitness.
Insurance Services Organization, a leading source of information about property/casualty insurance risk, rates fire departments based on their training, apparatus, water supply, and market value of the fire service area. The Insurance Services Organization (ISO) has given MFD a rating of 4. ISO rates departments from 1 to 10; the lower the rating, the more capable the fire department. This ISO rating affects fire insurance premiums paid by homeowners and businesses.
For over 80 years, Mound Fire Department has provided exceptional service to the communities it assists. Finding and keeping quality firefighters on a volunteer basis has proved to be difficult, at best, for most departments; however, MFD continues to stay in stride with the growth and development of its Fire Service area due to the high level of dedication among its members.
The Mound Volunteer Fire Department was officially established in 1923; although, the department historical records indicate that the Charter Members began to organize in 1922. Prior to the official establishment on December 26, 1923, the greater Mound area was protected by brigades serving the surrounding communities of St. Bonifacius, Excelsior, and Wayzata. The closest "emergency responder" was 6 miles away and responded to calls by jumping behind the wheel of a vehicle, if not behind the wheel of a quarter horse, with no hemi engine, no flashing lights, and an engine that topped-out around 50 MPH.
Mound, it seemed, needed a Fire Department. Fire Chief George Kickhafer was a Charter Member of the department and the very first Mound Fire Chief. His resources consisted of only a vacant stall at the school house garage, 20 men, and any floor space that was left uncovered by equipment and operations. The proud group of men ran their company out of the school garage until 1939.
At an unknown date, a supporting department known as the Island Park Fire Department, was assembled independently on the opposite side of town. In 1963, the two independent fire departments - Mound Volunteer Fire Department and the colloquially-known "Island Park Firemen's Association" - formed a merger under the name of The Mound Volunteer Fire Department. The joint company was made up of 38 firefighters, 20 from the Mound station and 18 firefighters from the Island Park Association.
Since the merger, the department has grown and evolved into a professional organization offering a vast arrangement of high-level services. Historically, and since its inception, the fire department staff has been known as a dedicated, active, and a hardworking crew. The emergency callout volume and activity for the department has continued to grow in support of the expanding community. In 1939 the Mound Fire Department staff responded to 31 emergency calls; in 2010, the department and staff responded to 577 emergency calls.
As the callout volume has grown, so too has the department apparatus fleet. Shortly out of the school house garage, the department bought its first, and only, fire apparatus: a 1930 Diamond T Pumper Truck. Today, the fleet consists of 16 specialized emergency response vehicles. This includes 4 Engines, 2 Tanker Pumpers, 1 Platform Aerial Ladder, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 EMS Rescue, 1 Grass Truck Mini-Pumper, 2 Fire Rescue Boats, 1 HazMat Rehab Trailer, 1 Command Trailer, and 2 Support Utility vehicles. The apparatus owned today are essential, well maintained, and ready to protect and serve five different communities.
The apparatus fleet is currently garaged in the Mound Public Safety Building, which was constructed in 2004. This state of the art facility is 3 stories and 33,000 square feet, housing both the Mound Police Department and Mound Fire Department. The Mound Public Safety Building features all the amenities necessary for essential day-to-day operations, including administrative office space for the police and fire departments, vehicle and apparatus bays, modern information technology capabilities, training rooms, a commercial kitchen, and a backup emergency generator power supply. We have come a long way from the small school house garage in the business side of town.
In 1923 firefighter gear was inexpensive, unsafe and consisted of a simple rain coat, hat, and boots. Today each firefighter has his/her own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), called "Turn-out-Gear," which is properly fitted to each individual firefighter. Turn-out-Gear is made of high-quality materials designed for personal protection and safety. The modern-day firefighter ensemble for interior firefighting is National Fire Protections Association (NFPA) approved PPE: helmet with neck protection; fire-rated coat, pants, and suspenders; gloves; steel toe boots; and a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), i.e. scuba tank. The price-tag to fully dress and outfit the average firefighter is $6,050. The estimated price-tag for the rain-gear suit used in 1923: $3.95.
Today's Mound firefighters work 12,000+ hours per year providing a wide variety of emergency response services. Over the years, the department mission has evolved to meet the growing public safety needs such as continuation of staff level training, public safety and training programs, fire inspection, and fire code enforcement services. These additional activities amount to 6,500+ firefighter hours per year. The Mound firefighter staff is proud to contribute 18,500+ hours per year to the communities served.
The department currently lead by full-time Fire Chief Gregory Pederson, and it is staffed with 40 well-trained, professional firefighters and 1 part-time administrative assistant.
In 2011, the Mound Fire Department served and protected 16,050 residents in 5 communities including Mound, Spring Park, Minnetonka Beach, Minnetrista, and Shorewood.
The Mound Fire Department staff stands ready to respond to the challenges of the next century.
Thank you for your continued support! Our firefighters are well prepared and eager to serve our local communities and residents!
Gregory S. Pederson
Mound Fire Chief