The Sand Springs Fire Department (SSFD) is an integral part of keeping our community safe and responding to emergency situations.
There are currently 32 full-time, unionized Sand Springs firefighters “on the line,” which means they are always available to respond to calls. There are three more in the administration building – the fire chief, deputy fire chief and fire marshall.
Although fighting fires is a huge part of the job, these brave men and women respond to all kinds of calls and are often a last resort when people in emergency situations don’t know who else to call.
“We get a tremendous amount of medical emergency calls,” said Fire Chief Mike Wood. “And despite what people might believe, we do get cats out of trees every now and then.”
Like most fire departments in the U.S., basic EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) training is a requirement to even apply to be a Sand Springs firefighter, Wood said. Applicants are put through rigorous testing, including a written exam, physical agility test and interview process.
The Sand Springs fire stations are always occupied, so they include areas of living quarters. This is an important consideration as the SSFD is preparing to move its downtown station and administrative office to the OmniTRAX-purchased steel mill site.
“We have guys here 24/7, 365,” Wood said. “[The station] takes a lot more wear than people normally think about.”
Wood said the department is in the design process for its new station at the steel mill site. They are working very closely with the architect hired for the project.
“It’s an everyday process,” Wood said.
The new station and administration office at the steel mill site will be part of a unique public safety area – the police department, 911 call center and municipal courts are also relocating there.
SSFD also has plans to either completely remodel or completely relocate the Southside station, currently located at 41st Street and Highway 97 behind QuikTrip. Wood said this station was built in the 1960s and has undergone multiple additions over the years, and it has some issues that need to be fixed.
Although being a firefighter far from an easy job, Wood said he’s had many memorable and rewarding experiences over the years, whether it be saving an animal or saving a human. He also enjoys working with students at Sand Springs schools.
“Public education in schools is just as rewarding,” Wood said.
He recalled a particular experience years ago when a young couple brought their four-month-old baby to the station, panicked because the baby had stopped breathing. It turned out the baby had gotten choked, but Wood and some of the other firefighters at the station at the time were able to get her un-choked and breathing again. The couple came back later on to thank the firefighters for their help and sent the station a thank you note and some pictures of their little girl.
“This job always has its moments,” Wood said.
If you have a fire or find yourself in an emergency situation and don’t know who to call, call 911. For non-emergency situations, you can call the Fire Department at 918-245-8777.