Fire stations of the world: Brussels-Union-Gardner (BUG) Fire Department, Wisconsin, US
The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department protects the towns of Brussels, Union and Gardner in southern Door County in Wisconsin, US. Affectionately known by its acronym BUG, the department consists of 50 paid-on-call volunteer fire fighters protecting 92 square miles of land and 117 square miles of water from two fire stations, the south station in Brussels, the north station located in Little Sturgeon. The three towns have a combined population of just over 3 300. It also caters for the around two million visitors that pass through the area on Highway 57 heading further up the peninsula. Motor vehicle accidents account for a large number of the fire department’s average of 85 to 100 calls per year. The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department began on 20 May 1967 and continues to serve the community in many ways under the leadership of Fire Chief Curt Vanderite, who has been the chief for more than 12 years, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier and Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Wery. Station 1 is located at 1080 Door County C Road in Brussels, Wisconsin, several hundred feet north of its intersection with State 57. The new combination fire station and ambulance facility was opened in June 2018 and boasts an exhaust ventilation system; the one feature of the new station widely separates it from the 50-year-old station now vacated. Station 1 includes offices for the department management and the EMR corps as well as a dispatch area and dorm rooms that can be used when weather conditions require staffing. There is also a modern restroom and shower facilities. The county’s ambulance side of the building includes similar features.
The new building also has a meeting room separated from the engine stalls to use for fire fighter training and meetings. Among its other features the new station has a hose-drying tower that allows fire fighters to lift hoses off the ground to dry vertically. When the department was started, twenty six volunteers served the community and now that number has grown to around fifty well trained community members.
There is also a small office on the county’s side of the building that can be used by the sheriff’s road deputies to complete reports with 82-inch smart TVs to aid training and lectures. The training room could also provide meeting space for community organisations if the need arise. Station 1 also has its own generator and as such will be able to serve as a meeting point during extreme weather conditions or in an emergency or disaster.
Station 1 also has a large rear storage area, expansive storage space, a laundry area and mezzanines on both sides of the apparatus bays that are used for hose drying training, fitness equipment and storage needs.
Station 1 houses its fire engine, a tender, the heavy rescue apparatus, a rehab trailer and a unique pickup that is covered with the logos of the various business that donated towards the purchase of the vehicle and fire fighter personal protective equipment (PPE). The department also has various speciality rescue vehicles and watercraft for use during water rescues
Fire inspections are conducted twice a year.
Door County Emergency Services provide EMS for the area with a paid-on-call basic level ambulance housed at BUG Station 1. Door County EMS staffs full time paramedic ambulances in Sturgeon Bay, which respond to BUG response area as needed.
It took six years to accomplish but the work that went into building the new 18 000 square-foot headquarters was well worth the effort.
Sources: Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department, Green Bay Press Gazette,