Independence is one of the oldest municipalities in Jackson County in the State of Missouri. The firefighters of the City of Independence have been serving their community (and others) for almost 170 years. The history of the Independence Fire Department is a very complex and interesting one and weaves a tail of tradition, dedication, and bravery.
The Independence Fire Department was created in 1843. At that time it consisted of one firehouse, about six volunteer firefighters, and firefighting buckets as their only equipment. The City of Independence was approximately two square miles.
The Fire Department of the 1950’s consisted of eight fire stations running eight Pumpers and 1 Ladder Truck. Manpower in the early 1900’s was around 15 Firefighters and by the mid eighties it was up to approximately 150 Fire Suppression personnel.
The population has continued to swell in Independence. In the 1920’s the population was about 25,000, in the 1970’s it was around 90,000 and today it is more than 110,000.
1986 brought two new firehouses. Currently the Independence Fire Department has ten Fire Stations. Ten Pumpers, two Tower Ladder Trucks and two Rescues make up the front line defense. 152 firefighting personnel staff the stations (45 Captains, 42 FEO‘s, and 65 Firefighters, as well as five Fire Inspectors in the Fire Prevention Division). The Fire Department Administration consists of a Fire Chief, her administrative aids, a Deputy Chief of Operations and several Asst. Chiefs in charge of various divisions, including three Shift Commanders. Fire Suppression personnel work on three rotating 24-hour shifts combating Fires, Hazardous Materials Incidents, Car Accidents, Technical Rescues, and numerous other types of incidents.
The men and women employed by the Independence Fire Department are a proud and dedicated group of individuals and have been proudly and faithfully represented by local 781 of the IAFF since forming our local back in 1944.
The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, represents more than 295,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation’s population. More than 3,100 affiliates and their members protect communities in every state in the United States and in Canada. The IAFF is one of the most active lobbying organizations in Washington; its Political Action Committee, FIREPAC, is among the top one percent of the more than 4,000 PACs in the country.
In addition to city and county fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, IAFF members include state employees, federal workers and fire and emergency medical personnel employed at certain industrial facilities.
The IAFF is the driving force behind nearly every advance in the fire and emergency services in the 20th century—from the introduction of shift schedules early in the last century to the enactment of SAFER in 2003. With extremely active political and legislative programs, and with recognized experts in the fields of occupational health and safety, fire-based emergency medical services and hazardous materials training, the IAFF has established professional standards for the North American fire service.
Today, the IAFF is the primary advocate for providing fire fighters and paramedics with the tools they need to perform their jobs. The IAFF provides a strong voice in the development and implementation of new training and equipment, and has worked hard to ensure the proper staffing of fire and EMS departments. The IAFF is a member driven organization—for fire fighters, by fire fighters.