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Thread: Where to go?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    4

    Smile Where to go?

    Hello all... I am thinking about moving to Iowa and was wondering where is a great FD to work for. Before you answer I have been doing research and found many to be great. However I need a place to raise a family. Schools and surroundings are important. A small town feel but still a FD that is busy like a city. I don't mind living on the outskirts of a city if allowed. Could you let me know if this is just a pipe dream? Any and all help would be appreciated. Thank You and stay safe.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Middleton, WI
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    4

    Thumbs up

    I'm not a ff, just a civvie thinking about being a volley/poc for my town in WI, but speaking from experience, Ames, IA is a wonderful town. College town, 25k citizens, 25k students, decent size, good tax base, good family atmosphere, and only about 40 minutes from the North side of Des Moines, closer to some DM suburbs with nice restaurants. No idea on how busy they are, but it was the first place that sprang to mind.

    Iowa City would probably be busy, but lacks the small town feel (U of Iowa is a bigger school than Iowa State). More issues to deal with if you have teenagers (19 year old bars with a bad ID record, and town is ridiculously busy traffic wise during any U of I sporting event.

    Cedar Rapids is about 30 minutes from Iowa City, still a decent size city (bigger than Ames IIRC) but with plenty of nice surrounding smaller towns if the CR school districts are too big for your taste. Also has a large factory and defense engineering company in town (Rockwell Collins, my best friend works there actually), so plenty of career opportunities for non-ff's.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll consult with my close friends who still live in the state. FYI, the state capitol Des Moines has plenty of good suburbs and is a decent place to live IMO.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks that was a huge help. I've just started looking and it helps to know where are the right places to focus onare. Thanks again and good luck with your vollie dept. I'll keep in touch if we decide to go.

  4. #4
    Forum Member medicmaster's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Central Iowa
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    Default

    As mentioned I would say most cities in Iowa are pretty decent. Really...compared to other states, even in the large cities, Iowa has one of the best education systems in the US. It also has an excellent healthcare system.

    From largest to smallest:

    Des Moines: Population of 200,000 with a metro area of 500,000. DSM fire is busy, but like most departments, mostly with EMS calls. The squads are run pretty ragged there...maybe good if you like doing EMS. I live in West Des Moines, and there is certainly plenty to do here. West Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale, Ankeny, Altoona and even Waukee are all cities in the metro who have career/combination departments as well. Several of them are currently hiring.

    Sioux City: Somewhere right around 100,000 I believe. Sioux City is more of an industrial town, but is pretty busy from what I understand. EMS transport is handled by a third-service EMS provider.

    Cedar Rapids: Also right around 100,000. Can be a rough city in some areas but is overall a greta place to live. Fire is relatively busy and provides ALS first response with EMS transport by a third-service provider.

    Davenport: Also right around 100,000. Can also have its rough areas, but is a beautiful city with a lot of history. Provides ALS first-response with EMS transport by third-service provider. Nearby Bettendorf also has career staff in the same capacity.

    Waterloo: Around 90,000 people. City has some rough areas, but is overall a fairly nice community. Interstate 380 connects to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City as well as I-80. FD provides ALS transport.

    Iowa City: Great city to live in, but crazy with UI athletic events. Pop. 60,000. Top notch school system and home to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Fire is moderately busy with EMT level first response. ALS transport handled by county EMS system.

    Dubuque: Beautiful city situated on Mississippi River. Pop. 55,000 and home to three small private colleges. FD handles ALS EMS transport.

    Ames: Great city. Pop. around 55,000 and home to Iowa State University and situated close to Des Moines. FD provides EMT first response with ALS transport by local hospital based EMS provider.

    Mason City: Beautiful town in my opinion. Pop. around 50,000. FD handles ALS EMS transport to Mason City and surrounding areas.

    Burlington: Also on the Mississippi. With a population of 30,000, this is definately more small town. Great area schools with a brand-new state of the art hospital. FD is moderately busy and provides ALS transport within the city and to the southern half of Des Moines County. I believe they are hiring currently.

    Council Bluffs: Situated across the Missouri River from Omaha, I believe they have a pop. around 30,000 or so, maybe more. It does have a reputation for being a rough town though. FD provides ALS transport.

    Ottumwa: Pop. 25,000 and home to a beautiful campus for a community college. Town is kind of in a state of decay. FD provides EMT level first response with ALS transport by local hospital based service.
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  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Thanks!!!

    Thanks alot medic master. That info was a huge help. Maybe I'll see you in the field someday. Stay Safe.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Smile

    I did alot of ride time with the Mason City FD while going through my EMT-B and EMT-I 85 training. Amazing group of guys! I think medicmaster really hit it on the nose though. I work for a couple of different services in my county, and it seems that pretty much any of the central Iowa area fire departments are busy, but not outrageous. Hit up those cities that medicmaster mentioned, and best of luck to you!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    4

    Thumbs up Thanks

    Thanks Irish I have put my name in many of the departments "to be notified lists" for when they are hiring recruits. You've all been very helpful. Now I can see why I want to move out there. Thanks again.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1

    Red face Firehouse tours

    Hi everyone! I hope it is OK that I post this here.
    I remember when I was a little girl, my mom took my brother and I on a tour of a firehouse. I'd like to take my 8 year old sister on a tour, but wasn't sure how to go about doing so. Do I call the firehouse directly? Do I go through a 3rd party to set up a tour? Are tours still allowed? I appreciate any information you can give. I live in Des Moines.

    Thank you!
    Jessica =)

  9. #9
    Forum Member 19firefighter84's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Location
    LeClaire Iowa
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    24

    Default

    Dragon Hunter, most departments that i have heard of are very willing to show off their facilities. find out when their weekly or monthly meetings are and show up. you may not be able to get it for a tour that day but at least there will be someone there to set up a time for you.

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