De Soto Fire Department
The De Soto Fire Department was formally founded in 1923; earlier historical data demonstrating fire protection dating back from the late 1800s, indicating the city's fire engine was pulled by hand or by horses. Early volunteers were a mix of farmers, business owners, and citizens that joined together to protect the community. De Soto's first bank, along with a drug store, burned in 1909. A church, hotel, and many other establishments caught fire over the years, and the volunteers were of great use and help during this time. Because of the increasing amount of devastating fires, a formed department was obviously necessary.
In 1917, De Soto obtained a two-wheeled chemical cart that contained a 50-gallon tank of soda, ash, and acid. With water added, the pressure would put out the fire. With the new equipment, many fires were extinguished before massive damage occurred. With only a dozen volunteers, students were called out of school to respond to help when needed. In 1939, a new hose truck was purchased and housed in a resident's garage. It wasn't until 1953 that a new truck was purchased, and a station was made available.
During the '60s and '70s, growth occurred in De Soto Fire Department. A group of De Soto Jaycees organized De Soto's first ambulance service. A new fire truck was purchased in 1965. The decade of notifying volunteers by a town siren and phones were used until the late 1970s.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a new era evolved in the department. Volunteers grew to around 25 firefighters. The department created its First Responder Unit, and many of the existing firefighters became First Responder, EMT and Paramedic certified. A new 1,250 GPM, 4-door pumper was placed into service, which retired the 1965 pumper. In late 1999, the department replaced its 1972 pumper. The city authorized a part-time Chief and Assistant Chief. Pagers were provided to all volunteers, and the department was fortunate enough to purchase twenty sets of bunker gear for the volunteers.
Many positive changes occurred during the 2000s. A new four-door engine with 1,250 GPM was purchased. The De Soto Fire Department hired its first full-time employee and added part-time firefighter positions to offer round-the-clock protection for the city. Even with the addition of staffing, the volunteers continued to increase and provide a vital service to their community.
Johnson County Fire District 3
Johnson County Fire District 3 was formed in June of 1982 to provide emergency services for Lexington Township and parts of Olathe Township. In October 1985, the current station 11 was completed. In January of 1990, the current station 12 was completed.
In July of 1992, JCFD3 took over Lexington Rescue Company and started staffing Station 1 24/7/365. The 90s also saw several new apparatuses purchased for both stations and receiving the contract to provide emergency services to SFAAP (Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant). In May of 1998, a remodel was completed at Station 1 to house two Firefighters/EMTs.
Beginning in 2001, station 1 was staffed with 3 full-time Firefighters/EMTs every day. A bond issue was passed in 2003 that allowed for the purchase of a new pumper/tanker and a remodel of Station 1 to relieve the over-crowded living quarters and bay space. In 2005 discussions began between JCFD3 and the City of De Soto on the possible consolidation of the two fire departments. In 2006, the old living quarters of station 1 was remodeled to house a Squad from Johnson County Med-Act to provide ALS service to the Northwest Portion of Johnson County.
In May of 2007, T191 was requested to respond to Greensburg, Kansas, to assist with tornado recovery efforts for approximately two weeks. Beginning in 2008, station 2 was staffed 12 hours during the day with part-time employees. In 2008, a transition team was put in place to begin working on the consolidation of the De Soto Fire Department and Johnson County Fire District 3. In 2009, JCFD3 had 14 full-time employees and 15 part-time employees.
Northwest Consolidated Fire District
On January 1, 2010, both DFD and JCFD3 ceased to exist, and the Northwest Consolidated Fire District (NWCFD) was officially in operation. Today, NWCFD has an organizational structure of a fire chief, an administrative assistant, 3 battalion chiefs, 27 full-time (including company officers), and 5 part-time firefighter/EMTs, for a total of 37 employees. NWCFD covers an approximate area of 70 square miles from 3 staffed stations and has an average annual call volume of over 900 calls. NWCFD provides fire and EMS services for the City of De Soto, Lexington Township, and parts of Olathe Township. Sunflower Redevelopment LLC also contracts with NWCFD to provide fire protection for SFAAP. Services provided by NWCFD include but are not limited to fire suppression, rescue operations, HazMat incidents, vehicle extrication, emergency medical services, fire prevention programs, public education, and fire inspection programs.
Capital improvement planning is in progress. The planning for enhanced protection of our northwestern property owners and SRL/SFAAP in the 103rd St. corridor is also in progress.
Fire Chief Todd Maxton leads NWCFD.