When I was a young lad growing up in O’Fallon I had several opportunities to accompany my Dad to fire schools and other fire meetings in St. Louis County. I noticed when attending these meetings that several staff vehicles had license plates that used the letters F.P.D after the name of the organization. I was considered a rather bright child, but those abbreviations were confusing to me and at first I thought this was some kind of combined fire and police unit. Keep in mind that this was the 1950’s and I was not yet a “teen know it all.” So, when you don’t know something, you ask your Dad. The first thing he did was chastise me for being so “damn dumb” and not looking at the lettering on the door of the vehicle because there it clearly spelled out that this was the fire chief’s staff vehicle from the Mehlville Fire Protection District. This was my very first lesson learning about fire districts in my home state. Little did I know at the time that I was destined to spend most of my life dealing with fire districts and fire departments.
EARLY FIRE DISTRICTS AND OTHER ORGANIZATION MODELS
The original statute that created fire protection districts in Missouri was passed in 1947. The legislature at the time assumed that the only place the fire service needed to be improved was in first class counties which was the reason I saw so may different fancy fire district staff cars at meetings in St. Louis County. Currently there are 23 fire protection districts and 20 municipal fire departments in St. Louis County. Continue Reading →