Lansing Fire Fighters
  • January 22, 2020
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    Updated On: Jan 14, 2013



    On October 5, 1857 a group pf citizens met in the Senate Chambers of the Michigan State Capital to form the first volunteer fire company to serve the Lansing area. Torrent Engine Company 1 went into service with a hand pump and horse drawn hose cart in March 1858. By 1872 the city had grown to the point that the volunteer fire companies were disbanded and a professional fire brigade was instituted.


    In 1908 Lansing became the first city in the United States to place a motorized fire engine into service. Lansing was and still is the ?Car Capital? of the World. A Webb fire pump was mounted on an Oldsmobile chassis for a total cost of $6,500. By 1919 all horse ? drawn equipment in the department had been replaced. The first fire alarm system for the fire stations was put into service in 1922. Radios were first used to communicate in 1931.


    In the early thirties a small group of men in the Lansing Fire Department, believing in the principals of unionism and having the courage of their convictions risked their jobs in trying to lay the foundation for the organization of a fire department union. On March 22, 1935, their efforts were rewarded, a charter was granted and received from the International Association of Fire Fighters and on that day Local 421, Lansing Fire Fighters Association was born.


    Since 1935, Local 421 has achieved a long list of accomplishments that it can be proud of. Before November 3, 1936, firefighters retired at a maximum of $50 a month. Through the undying efforts of Local 421, our members that retire from Local 421 on or after July 1, 2005, will receive a minimum of 80% of their highest two ? year average compensation. Eligibility has also dropped to 25 years of service, regardless of age.


    Emergency medical services came to the community in the early 1930?s in the form of Red Cross First Aid training for all members of the department. Forty-five years later, Lansing was to lead the nation again by placing one of the first paramedic teams into service in 1975.


    On January 1, 1943, firefighters were granted their first ?Kelly? day. Prior to that time, they were required to work every other day year round. In 1950, a second ?Kelly? day was won and in 1962 the Unions efforts culminated in a 56-hour work schedule being adopted by the voters of Lansing. The current work schedule for Lansing Fire Fighters is an average 53.845 hours per week. Local 421 actually came of age in 1955, when it won official recognition as the representative of the members of the fire department by the Lansing City Council. Local 421 representatives have met and conferred with City representatives on wages, hours, working conditions and fringe benefits continually since that date.


    In 1965, the Michigan Legislature passed Public Act 357, the ?Collective Bargaining Law? for public employees, and in 1969 it adopted Act 312, the ?Binding Arbitration? law. Local 421 members went through some trying and difficult times in those years of official collective bargaining, but the local has emerged as an effective and responsible guardian of its member?s rights and has obtained for its members one of the finest collective bargaining agreements enjoyed by firefighters anywhere.


    These are some of the improvements achieved by Local 421 through the years, but the lion?s share of the credit must go to the dedicated members of Local 421 who through perseverance and principled support of the local?s leadership over the past 67 years have made it all possible. They have been an instrumental part of the Local 421 family that has earned considerable recognition for their part in establishing the excellent reputation the Lansing Fire Department enjoys.


    Local 421 and its members are indeed living proof of the precept ? in unity there is STRENGTH!




    The fire suppression division operates six engine companies, each capable of delivering over 1,200 gallons of water per minute. Our two ladder companies reach over 100 feet into the sky to effect a rescue, deliver a water stream or ventilate a burning building. Our special rescue vehicles carry a wide range of equipment for unusual situations including the "Jaws of Life", unique tools to rescue a worker in a tunnel or the highly specialized ropes and hardware necessary to save an injured person from the 15th story of a high- rise building.




    Our four Advanced Life Support ambulances are staffed with Paramedics and EMT?s. We train and work directly with local emergency room physicians to offer one of the most advanced pre hospital care systems in the country. Our ambulances are a truly mobile extension of the emergency room, offering cardiac monitoring, emergency medications and more, all before the arrival at the hospital.




    Today the sworn members of the Lansing Fire Department are charged with protecting the lives and property of over 125,000 persons. In 2011 we responded to 15,858 calls for service from our 6 fire stations within the city.


    Although it still says Fire Department over the door, Lansing Fire has grown far beyond this historical role established over 130 years ago. Today, in addition to fire suppression and emergency medical response, our personnel are cross  trained in disciplines as varied as Water Rescue, Hazardous Materials Response, and Confined Space and Rope Rescue. With constant training and modern equipment, our goal is to provide the finest possible service 24 hours a day, every day of the year.



    Currently, the members of Local 421 have a contract, which is effective from June of 2010 through June 2013. This contract was brought about through a collaborative effort between Local 421 and the City of Lansing. It is our understanding that this was the first time in the state of Michigan, that this has been accomplished. IAFF local 421 proudly continues to protect the rights of our members and will strive to do so in the future.

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