In 2007, Chief Nyle Zikmund of the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department went with his instinct that the citizens of the communities that they serve were interested in supporting their fire department with their time and talents. That instinct was the beginning of the department’s Fire Corps program.

Recruitment efforts for the new Fire Corps program began with posters placed in local businesses, articles in local papers, and letters sent to retired firefighters and participants of the department’s Citizen’s Fire Academy. The department’s efforts attracted engineers, homemakers, insurance agents, land surveyors, legal secretaries, 911 dispatchers, photographers, salesmen, and many others ranging in age, ability, time, and talent. While no two volunteers are alike, what they all have in common is the desire to make a difference in the community. Fire Corps presents an opportunity to work behind the lines to help those on the front lines while simultaneously allowing volunteers to gain insight to emergency service agencies.

The majority of volunteers have become CPR certified since joining Fire Corps. They have been trained for "Family & Friends CPR Anytime," a program designed for the community to increase a victim’s survival rate of heart attack through awareness of the basics of CPR. As trainers, the Fire Corps members go to schools, churches, and businesses of all kinds to teach the fundamental basics of CPR.

In addition to CPR education, a group of volunteers is being trained to assist in the investigation of fires, as well as offering support to families whose lives have been affected by fire. Volunteers distribute aftercare kits which include meal vouchers, personal hygiene products, vouchers for clothing, a listing of important numbers, and other items that may be immediately needed after a house fire. All items are donated by local merchants.

Volunteers also assist with mailings for the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, data entry for the State Fire Marshal’s office, lawn care/snow removal for the stations, safety camps, annual bike helmet events, cleaning and preparing the safety house for demonstrations, assisting at the annual senior fair, conducting fire extinguisher training, taking photos of training and events, canvassing neighborhoods to change batteries in smoke alarms, proofreading documents, proctoring firefighter recruit testing, grant writing, conducting home safety surveys, and helping with annual station cleanup.

The Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Corps was recently given the Creating Community “Hero of the Year” award for their service to the fire department and the community. The Fire Corps members serve as advocates for fire prevention and allow the department’s emergency responders to focus on operational tasks which improve the department’s capability.

For more information on the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds Fire Corps program, please contact Shannon Ryder at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Members of the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Corps team.

Members of the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Corps team.

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