Fire Department Overview
"Continue striving to provide the best fire protection, education, prevention and rescue services possible by maintaining a well-trained staff equipped with the safest obtainable personal protective equipment, and the best tools and apparatus to perform the required duties quickly, safely, and efficiently."
The McFarland Fire Department provides fire protection and ancillary services in a 28 square mile fire district made up of the Village of McFarland and portions of the Town of Dunn, the Town of Pleasant Springs, and portions of Lake Kegonsa, Lake Waubesa, and the Yahara River.
The goal of the Department is to protect the life and property of the fire district residents and guests; and to educate them in ways they can protect themselves and their property through fire awareness and other safety campaigns.
The McFarland Fire Department responds to a wide variety of emergency situations including structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, grass fires, severe storm emergencies, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, water and ice-related emergencies.
To respond to these varied emergencies, the Department's volunteer firefighters staff a variety of apparatus including two fire engines, a water tanker, a heavy rescue, a 105 foot ladder truck, a brush truck, a rescue boat, and an Argo ATV for helping with grass fires and ice rescue incidents.
The Department also engages in an aggressive fire prevention program with the McFarland schools, community groups, by performing fire inspections, enforcing state and local fire codes, fuel storage tank inspections, arson investigations and through Fire Prevention Week activities at the fire station. The Department partners with the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) for materials used in fire prevention and safety education activities.
The Department works closely with EMS and Police Departments in providing emergency services and supplies back-up mutual aid to surrounding departments when called upon. The workload of the Department is impacted by the incidence of vehicle accidents that occur on the stretches of U.S. Hwy. 51 and county trunk highways that are within the service area and the variety of challenges posed by serving large, unhydranted rural areas. The Public Protection Charge (the cost to up-size our Village water system), determined by the PSC to compensate the Water Utility for providing stand-by fire protection capacity, is included in the departmental budget.
The McFarland Fire Department recently went through an audit by the Insurance Services Office, which ranks fire departments via a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule. The “Public Protection Classification” (PPC) derived from this rating schedule directly affects the rates companies charge for fire insurance in a given community. The PPC is based on equipment, water system, training and available personnel for fire response. The classification ranges from 10 to 1, with 1 being the best, and can have a significant impact on the fire insurance rates paid by residents and businesses. We are pleased to report that our ISO classification improved from a Class 4 to a Class 3. There are 45,504 fire districts in the U.S. Of that, 42 are Class 1, 310 are Class 2 and 1180 are Class 3. Our Class 3 ranking puts us in the upper three percent of fire departments nation-wide, a fact that makes our Department and our Water Utility very proud.
The Fire Department is staffed by a full-time fire chief and a shared (10 hours per week) EMT/Clerk I. The Department also relies on an extensive organization of about 40 volunteer firefighters and officers who are paged to respond to fire calls. Volunteer members train weekly to improve and maintain their skills.
The Fire Department is funded mainly from the Village property tax levy and contracts with area townships. In addition, we receive a 2% “dues” which is collected on insurance policies by the State and distributed annually to fire departments that participate and properly document fire protection inspections of public buildings in their respective districts. Lastly, monies are collected for sprinkler plan review, fuel storage tank inspections and highway incident responses.
The departmental budget is also supplemented by public donations and by fundraising events (Bowling Tournament, Street Dance, Donation Letter, etc.) conducted by the members through the McFarland Firefighters Association. These additional funds are used for supplemental equipment purchases. In years past the fund raisers have allowed the department to purchase the latest technology in tools for vehicle extrication (“Jaws of Life” and additional hydraulic tools), a rescue boat, an ATV with trailer, two Thermal Imaging Cameras and other equipment that, due to budget limitations could not be secured through normal operating revenue (levy).
We are very grateful to the Village Boards, Village officials and the citizens of McFarland for their support of our mission and to allow the McFarland Fire Department to exist and to continue protecting the lives, property and environment within the communities served from fires, disasters and emergency incidents through education, prevention and emergency response.