Although called the Howard Lake Fire Department, its role has expanded to many areas over the years. Its purpose remains to protect the citizens of the area.
Along with responding to fires of all kinds, firefighters are also called to rescue lost children and adults, conduct weather watches, view storm damage, assist at accidents, and most anything else where people need help.
Medical situations account for the most calls, and many firefighters are EMT certified. Fire department members also are responsible for running the Howard Lake Ambulance.
Members are expected to respond to calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Required training for all new members includes Firefighter One Training and a 120-hour Emergency Medical Technician class. Besides this training, there are two meetings monthly: a business meeting and a training meeting. There are also many other training opportunities members are encouraged to attend, including fire schools, medical conferences, specialized training, and other mandatory and voluntary classes.
Over the past several decades, mandatory training has increased in a number of areas. Along with training in fire and medical emergencies, firefighters now must be trained in hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, national incident management systems, mass casualty incidents, and other areas.
The Howard Lake Fire Department currently serves the city of Howard Lake, all of Middleville Township, a majority of Victor Township, and parts of Albion and Woodland townships. The ambulance service covers those same areas, as well as the city of Waverly and parts of Marysville and Woodland townships.
For larger incidents that require more equipment or manpower, Howard Lake has mutual aid agreements with all other Wright County fire departments.
Funding for the fire department is primarily through tax dollars. A fire board, including members of the fire department, Howard Lake City Council, and Middleville, Victor, Albion, and Woodland township board members, meets annually to set the department budget.
The fire department currently has two fully-equipped pumper trucks, a tanker truck, a heavy rescue unit, a first responder truck, a grass rig, and a Gamma Goat for grass fires. The members also proudly maintain a bit of their past with a 1959 pumper truck and a 1926 Ford Model T pumper truck for parades and special events.
Current officers of the Howard Lake Fire Department are: Chief Daryl Drusch; First Assistant Chief Glenn Hofer; Second Assistant Chief Scott Graham; fire captains Keith Bobrowske, Eric Stoll, and Craig Lobertmann; Secretary Joe Sherod; Ambulance Director Jake Drusch; and Assistant Ambulance Director Mark Stuevens.
While being a fire department member requires a great deal of time and dedication, members will tell you they are very proud of their commitment to protecting their neighbors, and enjoy their time on the department.
For updates, check out the department’s Facebook page.