Small-town USA holds many challenges that bigger cities don't face. Montrose, Minnesota is one of those small towns, and 27 volunteer firefighters protect it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Like most departments, they respond to all fire calls and car accidents, but they are also first on scene to medical calls, including farm accidents, as there is no ambulance service in the area.
But that's not all they do. They give to the community in so many ways. Promoting fire safety and community spirit are important to the whole department. Every year they participate in the local health fair, patrol on National Night Out and Halloween and do traffic control for the community parade. Volunteers are the safety coordinators for the fireworks, promote fire safety at the annual open house and safety training event and spend three days a year with the local school.
This department faces many special circumstances that require additional time and trainings, including dealing with the railroad tracks that run right through town to the nuclear power plant and being weather spotters to warn if inclement weather is approaching. As in most small towns, farming is a major part of this community and that poses many new challenges for the department with the use of hazardous chemicals like anhydrous ammonia on the fields to grain bin rescues. While no department wants to be known as great in grain bins rescues, the MFD has experienced several of these incidents the past few years.
While many communities have stopped their remembrance of 9/11, not the MFD. Twelve-hundred miles away, regardless of sun, heat, wind, and rain or cold, members stand all day at the only stoplight in town to honor those that were lost.
A perfect example why the "Best of UU" describes the MFD’s Christmas Eve 2012. The thermometer reads five degrees and with winds of more than 20 miles per hours, the department received a call for a horse stuck in a swamp. The entire department left their families to take the call. It took not only special skills, but complete teamwork to get the horse out successfully and to watch each other's backs as hypothermia was setting in on those in the icy waters. A small-town budget does not allow for cold water rescue gear, but they would not let that stop them.
Time and time again, the MFD shows what it truly means to be part of a community.