Independence Fire/EMS is a Progressive department in the Heart of Southeast Kansas serving the Northeastern portion of Montgomery County with fire suppression and Advanced Life Support emergency medical care as a department comprised of 26 fire personnel as well as a Building Inspector. We respond to around 2500 incidents per year. Russell Baker is the Chief of our Department, and has under his command three Captains, and 21 Firefighters/EMTís AEMTís Paramedics. We serve a population around 9,500 in the city and 15,000 in the county, as well as all who visit our community. The Fire Chief also serves as the Flood Zone Administrator.
Independence Fire/EMS is a Progressive department in the Heart of Southeast Kansas serving the Northeastern portion of Montgomery County with fire suppression and Advanced Life Support emergency medical care as a department comprised of 26 fire personnel as well as a Building Inspector. We respond to around 2500 incidents per year. Russell Baker is the Chief of our Department, and has under his command three Captains, and 21 Firefighters/EMTís AEMTís Paramedics. We serve a population around 9,500 in the city and 15,000 in the county, as well as all who visit our community. The Fire Chief also serves as the Flood Zone Administrator. Click to open the FEMA Flood Map Website
Our Department is located in Independence City Hall. Our current staffing is 27 full time paid Fire Personnel. We currently operate With (1) one 75 foot 1992 E-1 Aerial truck equipped with a 1250 gpm pump and a 500 gallon tank, (3) three engines: Engine one is a 1999 E-1 capable of pumping 1250 gpm and has a 1000 gallon water tank, Engine Two is a 2002 Central States pumper with a 1250 gpm, and has a 1000 gallon tank, Engine Three is a 1987 Pierce pumper capable of pumping 1000 gpm with a 1000 gallon water tank. (3) Primary ALS Ambulances: Medic 1 is a 2012 Ford E450 gas, Medic 2 is a 2012 Ford E450 gas, Medic 3 is a 2009 Ford E450 Diesel. (1) Transfer ambulance, Medic 4 is a 2015 Mercedes 2500 Sprinter Diesel. Our station also houses a Hazmat trailer and a Mass Casualty Trailer.
The Independence Fire/EMS Department is dedicated to the protection of life, property and the environment for those who live, work, visit or invest in our community. Through well educated and dedicated personnel and proper equipment we pledge to deliver the highest quality fire suppression, public fire education, emergency medical services, code enforcement and emergency response to all natural or man-made disasters. This professional commitment to service is also put forth by promoting personal development within the department, while utilizing effective principles and practices of modern fire and life safety technology in an accountable manner.
Provide City wide fire protection as well as contracted fire protection for certain entities outside the City.
Provide Advanced Life Support Emergency Medical Care to the Northeast portion of Montgomery county including the cities of Independence, Caney, Sycamore, Elk City and Second out calls for Cherryvale.
Provide City wide response to all hazard calls, i.e. downed power lines, arcing wires, natural gas, CO, and other biohazards.
Provide mutual aid to surrounding cities and county agencies for Fire and Hazmat support.
Provide Fire Prevention Education and Training at local Public and Parochial Schools as well as Preschools and Day Cares upon request.
Provide Fire Prevention Education and Training for Senior Citizens Group Housing.
Provide Fire Extinguisher Training for local businesses upon request.
Provide Fire Prevention Inspections for Day Cares, School Buildings, Public Buildings and Private Businesses.
Conduct Fire Department tours by appointment for Schools and Special Interest Groups
Enforce the Cityís Environmental Nuisance Code (Trashy Properties, Disabled and/or Untagged Vehicles).
Enforce the Cityís Weed and Grass Code ( Tall Weeds and/or Grass).
Founded on May 20, 1876
In 100 Block of East Myrtle since March of 1916.
The Independence Fire Department has a long and storied history. It starts with the burning of the railroad depot on January 15, 1874 leading to the decision by the City Council to purchase a commercial grade fire wagon within the week. It proved to be a timely decision considering the most destructive fire in the City's history would befall Independence just one year later on February 13, 1876. This disastrous event would destroy a total of 18 business within the 100 block of East Main and 100 block of North Penn. This site is coincidentally only a half block from the location of the fire department after it was incorporated as part of the new City Hall building constructed in 1916, and where it continues to be located to this day. A year and two months following the disaster of February, 1875, a volunteer fire department was organized and on May 20, 1876 an ordinance was ratified to establish and create the City's current fire department.
The Independence Fire Department's first chief was Francis Foster who oversaw a department consisting of an assistant chief, a driver, two paid firefighters, and four volunteers. The City's first firefighting equipment consisted of one horse drawn combination chemical-hook, hose and ladder rig, two hose carts and 2,700 ft of hose.
The longest tenured employee in fire department history was Chief Roy Pitts. Chief Pitts enjoyed 39 years of service with the fire department, 35 of them as Chief. He began his employment in January of 1910 and was promoted to Chief in 1914. He retired in 1949 as only the 2nd Fire Chief in the City's history and was responsible for overseeing the many transformations of the department over the years. Although not yet chief at the time, it was rumored that Chief Pitts was concerned that the response time of the department would suffer with the move from horse drawn equipment to the more modern motorized vehicles that started in 1912 with the purchase of a Kissel chemical truck. This was, according to Pitts, because the horses were trained to such a high level. Chief Pitts,at the time of his retirement, lamented that it was a sad day when the horses were replaced by motors in the fire house.
One of the biggest transitions in the departments history occurred in the summer of 2012 with the combining of the City's fire and EMS services. Prior to 1980 the ambulance service in Independence was operated by private individuals. Montgomery County appointed an Ambulance Subcommittee which comprised individuals from each of the communities in Montgomery County. After studying EMS and the needs of each community, the committee set up ambulance services in Independence, Cherryvale, Coffeyville, and Caney. The ambulance services are operated by the cities, (Coffeyville is operated by the hospital), and funding comes from fees for services and City/County subsidies.
Independence Emergency Medical Service (EMS) was established in July of 1980 with five technicians, one director, and two ambulances. The ambulances were based at the hospital and EMS personnel worked in the emergency room when not busy with EMS calls. In January 1988 four technicians passed their paramedic testing and began providing Advanced Life Support services (Paramedic Care) at the scene of ambulance calls. In January of 1993, Independence EMS applied for and was granted an Advanced Life Support license and began offering Paramedic care on all EMS calls. They are now responsible for all ALS and BLS calls within the City and surrounding area in addition to the traditional FD calls within the city limits.
To date, according to official fire department records, there have been 340 employees since the departments inception in 1876. The department has grown from a force of four paid firefighters and four volunteers to a department consisting of three shifts of 8 personnel a Fire Chief, Building Inspector, and Public Safety Director bringing the total membership of the department to 27 full time, paid personnel.