715 South Jeffers
North Platte, NE 69101
Information about the North Platte Volunteer Fire Department
The North Platte Volunteer Fire Department consists of 36 active members, who serve not only the city of North Platte, but an additional 370 square miles. Within this scope of protection, property ranges from manufacturing, industrial, recreational areas, to those of farming, ranching and residential subdivisions. Volunteers, used within the city along with the 40 career firefighters, make this combination department an outstanding asset to this community.
“A Short History”
The first volunteer fire brigade was organized shortly after the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad in November of 1866. Although there were only 12 members, they would respond primarily to prairie fires. Of the first twelve original members of this department, all were employed by the railroad. This organization had no name, mainly because North Platte was not incorporated as a city until 1874. Requirements for joining this fire brigade were very simple; you had to own your own leather bucket. In 1883, a gentleman approached the local government and stated he would offer fire protection to the city. It appears that along with his commitment, he would also offer 30 new leather buckets with the deal. However, the city fathers declined the offer. It was in December of 1887 that the first fire brigade was reorganized into the North Platte Volunteer Fire Department. This department holds the distinction of being the oldest volunteer organization still in operation without any interruption from its inception, not only in North Platte, but also in Lincoln County. In the early days, the volunteers were called to service by the sounding of the Union Pacific’s shop whistle. Today they respond through a pager system. The days of the fire whistles are gone, except for those on our responding emergency vehicles.
The North Platte Volunteer Fire Department is comprised of three fire companies: Cody Engine, Hinman Hose, and Buffalo Bill Hook and Ladder. The later company was started by a $100 donation made by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Today each company is comprised of 12 members; three members of each company serve as line and support officers.
Organizations to which we belong:
- Mid Plains Mutual Aid Fire District
- The Nebraska State Volunteers Firefighters Association
- The Nebraska Fire Chiefs Association
- National Volunteer Fire Council
Volunteer Employment Opportunities
The North Platte Volunteer Fire Department requires the following to become a member:
- You must be at least 19 years of age
- Citizen of the United States
- Reside within the North Platte telephone exchange
- Submit a written application
- Pass a written exam
- Pass a physical agility test
Applications can be picked up at the Fire Department offices located at 715 South Jeffers during normal business hours, or from any member of the North Platte Volunteer Fire Department. New members must complete a probationary period in which they are required to attend an average of 75% of all training, 50% of the fire response calls, which include the monthly business meetings.
Business meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month. Two training are held each month. This includes (EMS) Emergency Medical Service care training held on the second Wednesday of the month and a firefighting training held on the third Wednesday of the month. Special training are held throughout the year, which include local training and those provided out of town. Trainings are provided by the local department, by the Fire Marshal’s Training Division and numerous other organizations.
North Platte Volunteer Fire Department Education Programs
Known as “THE SMOKE BUSTERS” members of the group provide fire safety and educational programs to the public. These programs can be arranged to fit the age groups requesting them. The programs range from puppet shows for the young, to providing programs such as operations of smoke detectors, escape routes, and what to do in case of kitchen fires for those young at heart.
Services Offered to the Community
Services offered to the community range from emergency calls of all kinds, to standbys at area events which include: The NEBRASKAland Days Parade, concerts, professional and high school rodeo events, and other local events. We provide standbys at the July 4th Fireworks display and for stock car and go-cart racing.
If you feel you can provide something to our community give us a look. We’ve been looking for you!! The North Platte Volunteer Fire Department, “Loyal to our Duty”
*updated March 23, 2018