The History of Beechwood Fire Dept. 1990's - 2000's
On May 28, 1990 construction began with the digging of the foundation and footings. K&D Excavating of Beechwood did the digging. When the footings were dug, Dennis Janz construction began the concrete work and block work. The membership, in a bid to save some money, removed the steel from the end of the building for the addition to be added to. The steel was all saved and reused for the end wall of the new addition. The framework, trusses, windows, stonework, and outside trim was also done by Janz Construction.A
Once the structure was completed, the membership sprang into action. Being an all-volunteer organization, we were fortunate enough to have carpenters, electricians, masons, insulation people, and dry wallers as members of the department. Except for the laying of the tile floor, which was done by Beder Carpet, the entire inside of the structure was completely finished out by the membership of the Beechwood Fire Department. Once built, our Ladies Auxiliary went to work with the details of decorating. Paint colors were picked out, drapes were hung, and cabinet stains were chosen. The new addition was dedicated on May 19, 1991 with an open house and ceremony.
This structure served us well for many years, but like most organizations, growing pains were setting in. We were in desperate need of more storage area, we added another engine to the fleet and also began a cooperative effort with our sister station in our township for First Responders and EMS. We now shared a vehicle which is housed at our station parts of the month and at theirs other parts of the month serving this township.
In January of 2000, a new committee was formed to again research a new addition. This addition would include two more truck bays, with framing and header installed for a third if ever needed, a large storage room with an upstairs mezzanine for additional storage, a new and much larger office, and an area to move our two antique pieces of apparatus to the main station for better care and maintenance. This addition would be added to the west end of the main station and provide us room for future growth. At the April meeting it was unanimously approved to add a 48ax 42a addition to the building.
On June 10th, 2000, ground was broke for yet another addition. The main structure was built by Walters Construction, with the mason work done by Dennis Janz Construction. Once again the membership pitched in and built the storage room, the upper mezzanine, the new office and did all the finish work for the office. With this addition we believed we would no longer have a need to expand or to build anymore. We felt we were as big as we needed to be and were set well into the future.
A A In 2001 we had the opportunity to acquire a natural gas powered 15 KW back up generator for our station. Our membership agreed that this would be very beneficial to our community and would allow us to be used as an emergency shelter for natural disasters, power outages and also as an evacuation sight for the retirement home located two blocks from the station in the event of a fire or other disaster. We built a generator building to the south of our main station and had the generator installed to provide backup power in the event of an emergency. This building was done mostly by donations from the community and the sweat of the members of the Beechwood Fire Department. This generator in still in use today and continues to perform flawlessly.
In July of 2000, our department began an effort to lower insurance ratings for our district. The ratings are based on a variety of criteria revolving around response time as well as rapidly water is moved to the scene. After Many months of preparation and countless hours of training, the insurance Services Office conducted an evaluation of our department. We achieved a drop in the fire class rating from class 9 to class 7 therefore lowering the insurance rates of the members of our community.
As we rolled into November (2000), it was decided to sell our old station at the corner of Highway S and Highway A to the Beechwood Rent Home. This building was known as Rammer's Hall and is currently being used by National Sport Supply, an online distributor of sports equipment.
In April of 2001, the technology era had hit Sheboygan County. The old radio system was failing and replacement was a must. The Sheboygan County Board approved the replacement of all radio equipment throughout the entire county. We received new radios in all our trucks in addition to all new portable radios. Through fund raising efforts we were also able to purchase ten SCBA (air packs) at a total cost of $13,500.00.A
July 2001 brought about more changes to the department An old outdated equipment truck, which was becoming too small for us, needed to be replaced. A committee researched our options and purposed the purchase of a used ambulance from Lincolnshire Fire Department. This truck was refurbished to accommodate 7 firefighters as well as a variety of equipment to a fire scene. Currently the truck is still in service as an equipment vehicle, but is also used for transporting the supplies needed for medical rehab on a fire scene. While the Lincolnshire Fire Department, we mentioned that our firehouse is designated as an emergency shelter for our community in the event os a natural disaster or power outage. It is also an emergency shelter for the Beechwood Rest Home. Lincolnshire had an extra 15 KW back-up generator that they graciously donated to our department. With donations from our community and the sweat of our members, we were able to build a generator shed south of our main station.
On April 18th, 202, new uniforms were purchased for the membership. These were worn at the department events, parades, and funerals.
January 2003 it was decided to start looking into a replacement for our 1977 Ford grass truck. A committee was assembled and the options for funding were discussed. In April it was decided to try for an Assistance to Firefighter Grant through FEMA. These federal grants, available to all fire EMS departments in the country to help make replacement of equipment affordable to organizations with limited budgets. On October 1st, 2003 we were notified that we had been awarded a grant for a new grass/mini-pumper truck.
In July 2004 our luck continued with receiving grants. Through the hard work of the membership we were able to secure a Homeland Security Grant for new defibrillator.
October 2004 Brought about a grant from Department of Natural Resources for 35 new helmets and fire hoods.
On December 1, 2004 we were awarded a second Assistance to Firefighters Grant for an exhaust system on our station. Plymo-Vent was chosen to install the system. This system would extract exhaust fumes through a filter from the station to prevent individuals from inhaling these toxic fumes.
July 2005 we joined the Random Lake Explorers Program. This program follows the Boy Scouts' curriculum and teaches the participants the basic skills of first aid and fire fighting. Andrew Haugen and Cody Krahn were the first individuals from our department to enroll in this program. Aaron Goebel joined shortly afterward and all three graduated the program.
In September 2005 we set up our Firefighter Rehab Program. This program is designed to rehydrate and monitor vitals of the firefighters at the scene to ensure the safest environment possible.
October 2005 we received a Department of Natural Resources grant for a new pump on our tender. This pump is used for wild land fires.
In October 2006 we received a Department of Natural Resources grant for wild land gear.
November 2007 we purchased a refurbished 25 KW generator for back up power at the station.
In December of 2007 we made our first donation to the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety Burn Camp for Kids. The organization is funded solely by donations and sponsors. They sponsor a free week of activities for children who suffered burns and injuries by fire. In our first year we were able to donate $250.00. We have donated every year since giving 1,000.00 dollars in 2012. These funds were raised by collecting aluminum cans from the community, other fire departments and community organizations.
We decided to purchase a four wheel utility vehicle for wild land fires in July 2008. We Purchased a Kubota from Lochens in Newburg. This vehicle is to equipped with both a fire pump and rescue unit for off road transport of patients to the road for the waiting ambulance.
A trailer was purchased from Muller Sales and Service, Random Lake, in September 2008.
October 2008 we received a Department of Natural Resources Grants for a skid unit for the back of the Kabota.
In August 2009 we, along with the rest of the county, joined Mutual Aid Box Alarm Systems (MABAS).
This System is designed to call in mutual aid from areas further away, so as not to deplete one area of fire protection.