City to update fire fighting equipment

Nate Heffron, city manager, city of Negaunee

By Nate Heffron,


City of Negaunee

NEGAUNEE –When the alarm sounds during a disaster or a tragedy, who responds? In most cases it’s our first responders, many of which are volunteers, especially in rural areas like Negaunee. We don’t think about that particular status when we need help, whether the responder is paid fulltime or a volunteer, we only care that they are there. However, some reflection should be given to both, perhaps more of the volunteer classification. Today, I will write about volunteer firefighters specifically. 

Volunteers, individuals who decide to give up their time and skill for no pay or in some cases a small stipend for services or an act. In this case, lifesaving services, services that place that volunteer in direct dangerous situations. 

Nearly all communities in the UP have volunteer firefighter forces, many of us are very familiar with those that take on these courageous activities to help their neighbors. For many us, they are our very own family members or friends that serve. 

This services to community should be commended, from giving up time personal time to train and become certified to fight fires to leaving their paying jobs to respond to emergency calls. Our firefighters not only deserve our respect, but they also deserve to be provided the equipment that is necessary to conduct their duties in safe and professional manner. 

I can only speak on behalf of the status of Negaunee’s fire department; however, I would guess that many other departments across that UP are good working order like Negaunee’s. I can make this kind of statement because I have seen for myself how well Negaunee’s department takes care of it building and its equipment. You can feel the love and see the pride this department has. This is why their equipment lasts for great lengths of time and why their building is still in really great shape for being built in 1910. 

However, with time, equipment does not last forever. This is why recently the city has taken steps in purchasing 28-several self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs). These devices provide breathable air in an atmosphere that is immediately dangerous to life or health (fire/smoke). These newer, lighter styles help to replace other out-of-date systems that could no longer be certified for fighting fires. 

In addition, Negaunee recently placed an order for a new pumper to replace our aged vehicle, which has been difficult to find replacement parts. A pumper primary purpose includes transporting firefighters and water to an incident as well as carrying equipment for firefighting operations. Please don’t be alarmed, our current one is still in in good working order, but the time has come to buy new one. Unfortunately, this pumper will take up to three-years to be delivered, this is due to the fact that these kinds of vehicles are custom built. 

Both of these major purchases have been made possible from our equipment millage fund, $40,000 for the SCBAs and $750,000 respectfully. Thank you again to those that have supported or millage!

Past and future efforts will continue to be taken to provide Negaunee’s department with the necessary equipment needed, as well as, investment in our historic fire station building. This commitment by the city ensures the future generations of firefighter will be able to take up the mantel of this awesome responsibility of protecting the public. Should you be interested in being one of these individuals, please contact the Negaunee Fire Station. And thank you to all that have served or are serving now!

Editor’s note: Nate Heffron is city manager of the city of Negaunee.


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