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Untitled Document
  Wichita - Sedgwick County Fire Reserve History

During the years of World War II, the country was busy preparing for the invasion that many were sure would come.  Shelters were built, and police and fire auxiliaries were started in the city.  Training was provided at each Wichita fire station with the station captain in charge. It could be said that each station had its own auxiliary.  In September of 1942, the auxiliary fire service gave its first public review.  Two hundred men, training since February of that year, met at No.9 station where they put on a show for the public.
In 1950 the auxiliary became Fire Reserve under the direction of Civil Defense, managed by Harrie Mueller.  Training was still being held in different stations around town, but the auxiliary now had its first chief, Red McKee.  Harold Cox followed Red, and then Ross Smith.  Each of these men were to continue the programs carried on with the Wichita Fire Department.  Merle Antisdel, assistant chief under Ross Smith, was one of the primary people in organizing the County Fire Reserve, giving us the two units that make up today's Fire Reserve.

1951 - Delores Webb, Red McKee and Bill Webb.

In 1957, arrangements were made with the Wichita Fire Department to have their training division take over training and teach each reserve member the same skills as were taught rookie fireman.  It was felt this would provide better qualified men working with greater safety alongside the regular department. Don Anderson became the fourth chief of the Fire Reserve and when he resigned to enter city government, Maurice "Bud" Bales was appointed chief. Under Bud's direction, the reserve grew and became a relied-on, working asset to the Wichita firemen. Upon the death of Bales, Phillip Wells was appointed chief, with Swede Olson as his assistant. These men were to manage an even larger organization with changes in City and County working relations.

Fire Reserve Engine with Merle Antisdel, Maurice "Bud" Bales, and Ross Smith.
In 1977 the Wichita Fire Reserve and the Sedgwick County Fire Reserve merged. The combined force totaled 41 members.  Bob Martin, chief of the County Reserve, along with David Martin and Robert Pippins, assisted in the smooth transfer to one Fire Reserve.  The new reserve has been placed under the office of Civil Preparedness with Director Gene Beaver.  Reserve training continued to be handled by the Wichita Fire Department Training Division and is held at the city's training ground, directed by Chief Walter Campbell and Captain Wayne Avery.  The Fire Reserve headquarters was located at 31st and Oliver, next to the training grounds.

December 1972 - Icy work for volunteers.

October 1976 - Sheri Luper working at 909 W. Douglas.

1978 - Old timers of Fire Reserves.

1978 - Fire Reserve (part of Civil Preparedness Unit).
From 1977 to 2000, Fire Reserve historical information is currently lacking. Attempts are being made to contact former members and search through records to assemble accurate information as to the role the Fire Reserve played serving the citizens of Wichita and Sedgwick County. As information and pictures are found, they will be added to this page.
From 2000 to 2007, the Wichita Sedgwick County Fire Reserve saw brisk changes in membership and leadership. Both Wichita and Sedgwick County Fire Departments were beginning to anticipate the forecasted hiring for the brand new decade. Chief David Hoyer took over the reigns of the Fire Reserve after being gone out of state for a number of years. A core set of officers started to blossom that helped build the organization into a hard working, hard training group of members. Names like Mark Misek (former Captain, now a Fire Fighter with WFD), Captain Lance Day and Deputy Chief Maurice “Moe” Lallement led the way. Many members during this time went on to be hired by Wichita and Sedgwick County Fire Departments. Other members joined and moved up in the ranks. Shifts and training nights developed. All day Saturday training and Thursday night training ensued. Eventually, Friday night training was added for purposes of dedicated driver operator training. Cross training with WFD and SCFD began to get underway as well bringing life back into the Fire Reserve.Requests for Fire Reserve support of community events, parades and standbys grew. Yearly volunteered hours started averaging 13,000 for the organization.
Standards were adopted for all Fire Reserve operations following WFD and SCFD SOPs. All members were required to get their Firefighter 1 and 2 certification as well as Emergency Medical Technician – Basic level certification. Members began taking classes offered in regional fire schools, through local departments, colleges offering fire science classes. WFD and SCFD entered into response agreements with the Fire Reserve allowing more on-scene utilization of Fire Reserve members. The apparatus and equipment on the apparatus was brought up to par by Fire Reserve members, WFD and SCFD organizations with the intent to have Fire Reserve prepared as possible when they respond. The process for joining was amended to require either CPAT certification or successfully passing a PAT administered by the Fire Reserve.
Fire Reserve during the mid-90’s moved from their station on South Broadway on the north end of Haysville (former SCFD station 34) to their current station at 401 S. Tyler Road (Station 300). Many improvements were made to this former SCFD station/EMS post. Fire Reserve began responding to alarms per their response agreements from this station. Tradition, brotherhood and honor were the standard for the organization and reflected in everything it did.
Current and former Fire Reserve members all share one common bond, the love for the fire service. Many have moved on to paid departments, others have put in many years of volunteer service. Former and retired members return to check up on operations. Former members who have moved out of state and return to visit or are traveling through Wichita, will take time out and look for where the Fire Reserve are located today, stop in and reminisce about the “good ol’ days”. Many Fire Reserves are with the paid departments now. Some are chiefs, others, well respected leaders in their ranks and stations. Entire stations are now filled with former Fire Reserve members who have all contributed to the history and tradition of the Wichita Sedgwick County Fire Reserve. They all understand the dedication and sacrifice it takes to be a Fire Reserve. This legacy of helping out WFD and SCFD since 1942 is alive and thriving thanks to all the members who have kept it going over the years. Wichita Sedgwick County Fire Reserve celebrated 65 years of service in 2007.
Former Fire Reserve Trucks
Former Fire Reserve Stations

List of former reserves that are now full time firefighters :
(Work in progress)
  • Tad Nicholson 7-C (Spring 2008)

See ya at the “BIG ONE”!