Hiawatha Fire Department in Hiawatha, Iowa, is a 60-member department that provides fire and advanced life support EMS response to the City of Hiawatha and surrounding township. The department also provides advanced life support to the two towns and surrounding townships of Palo and Shellsburg. The Hiawatha department’s slogan is “Caring for the Community.” The department not only cares for the community with emergency response, but also through public education and public safety events. The fire department visits every third-grader, kindergartner and preschooler in the city. The third-graders are a part of year-long public education program where they are visited four times throughout the year by fire department personnel.
Safety of all residents is something that Hiawatha Fire Department takes very seriously. The department visits and makes presentations to neighborhood groups and makes appearances at block parties. Members visit civic groups and help with Boy Scout and Girl Scout events. Members perform fire extinguisher training for numerous local and regional businesses. Firefighters also assist with a yearly Battery Up program, where smoke detector batteries are changed or new detectors are installed for elderly and low-income residents. During this program, over 100 batteries are replaced in smoke detectors yearly. The department routinely hosts state certification programs and many members teach at local and state fire schools.
Between responding to over 1,000 calls for service, over 3,000 hours of training, and over 1,500 hours of public education, the fire department is also the largest volunteer pool for the city and other organizations. The department assists in running the annual parade for the town’s festival, Hog Wild Days, and helps organize and support numerous 5K fundraising runs for other community organizations. They assist the American Legion Post in putting out flags on flag holidays and in manning the towns annual Earth Day recycling day.
The fire department is one of the first groups within the city that is asked for help. The volunteerism of the members comes full-circle, from answering calls to truly caring for the town and making it a better place to live. Members not only volunteer on the fire department, but many are little league coaches, assist with the high school band, serve on church boards, volunteer at the elementary school and PTO and serve as booster members and commission members for city boards. They live by the department’s slogan every day and any way they can. The members of and the fire department make Hiawatha a great place to live and make the department one of the best in America.