Visiting the Victoria Fire Station

The Victoria Volunteer Fire Department held its annual Open House on Saturday, October 6th, 2001, a beautiful fall day in Victoria.  It was a great success as more people than ever visited the Victoria Fire Station.  Perhaps the crowd was related to the tragedy of September 11th and the heroism of firefighters in New York City and brother firefighters across the nation.  In speaking with Victoria Chief Gary Sohns, and others, I was very impressed with the knowledge, expertise, and dedication of our heroes close to home.

Thank you, Firefighter Steve McHale (left) for directing this excellent Open House.  Thank you, Fire Chief Gary Sohns, for answering so many of my questions, patiently and professionally.

Victoria Firefighter Doug Jurek was in charge of giving rounds and rounds of rides to visitors, both parents and children.  Thank you, Doug.  Who was in charge of polishing the chrome?

See you when you get back to the Station.

This big white Smoke House Trailer belongs to the Chaska Fire Department.  It gave visitors three different smoke environments to experience firsthand.  We respond differently to smoke in a kitchen than in a living room or bedroom.  When the harmless smoke penetrated the trailer, visitors were taught how to crawl toward an opening.

Firefighter Bill Blinstrup assisted kids going up and down the ladder of the Smoke House Trailer.

Two snowmobiles were donated to the Victoria Fire Department by generous area individuals for use on snow and ice recovery missions.  Ray and Frannie Schmieg are more accustomed to riding lawnmowers, but they were very good sports as they assisted the editor in her endeavor to capture the day.

This young family preferred the Polaris Big Boss 6 by 6, which is used to shuttle firefighters in and out of long driveways, for example, and other tight situations Sometimes only one fire engine can gain access to a location.  The 6 by 6 not only hauls firefighters but also a trailer with necessary equipment.  It is also used in some snowmobile and ice rescues, as well as grass fires.  This unit was also a gift to the Victoria Fire Department.

This helicopter, a great hit with visitors to the Victoria Fire Station, is from North Air Care out of North Memorial Hospital at Robbinsdale.  A second helicopter is available from Life Link out of St. Paul.  These air ambulances serve the Metropolitan Area, parts of western Wisconsin and southern Minnesota.  They are used especially in severe trauma situations such as brain or head injuries, when regular ambulances would be too slow in arriving at the emergency room of a hospital, whichever hospital would be appropriate for the injury.

The photos on the back wall of this conference room at the Victoria Fire Station are of past and current Victoria firefighters.  About a half dozen photos have yet to be taken.  The Victoria Fire Department is always interested in recruiting new members.

Scads of leaflets and flyers, full of important information about the Victoria Fire Department and about general fire safety topics, were available to the hundreds of visitors.

Hot dogs, chips, pickles, and juice were generously donated by the Victoria Fire Department, through some of their various fundraisers, to all who visited them.

Thank you, Victoria Firefighters, for serving us.  Thank you, Tom Walsh, Doug Schmieg, Mrs. Tom (Mary) Schmieg, and all others who work for the residents of Victoria.

Corporal Keith Walgrave and Titan are with the Carver County Sheriff's Department.  Titan and the Corporal help with the apprehension of suspects. 

One of the Carver County Deputy's cars was available for inspection at the Victoria Fire Station.  Hi, Tony and Sally Kerber.

The American Red Cross wears many hats and fills many roles throughout the country and the world.  In this area, the Red Cross assists with Bloodmobiles and also helps provide temporary housing, short term assistance, and personal items for people who lose their homes, or short term use of their homes, due to fire or related catastrophe.

Trained members of the Victoria Fire Department are the first responders on an accident or fire scene.  A second responder is this unit from Ridgeview Medical Center at Waconia.  It is an ALS unit, which stands for Advanced Life Support.  It can handle the more severe cases than a BLS unit (Basic Life Support) that mainly administers oxygen and defribillation.  Said Fire Chief Gary Sohns, "The ALS is sort of a mini-traveling emergency room."

The American Flag is still flying at half mast at the Victoria Fire Station, in honor of all the firefighters and other heroes who died on September 11th at the World Trade Center in New York/

When I got home from the Victoria Fire Station, I went for a walk in Carver Park, which is right outside our back door, and pondered the glorious gifts that surround Victoria, including all the dedicated, kind, and heroic members of the Victoria Fire Department.

Through the sumac along Park Drive, I got a bearing on the Victoria Fire Station, which is just across Stieger Lake from our home with the long uphill driveway.  Thank you, Victoria firefighters, for all that you do.  Please forgive us if and when we take you for granted or need to be reminded of your very  important role in the city.

The End

Love, Sue