Council clarifies City's NVFC volunteer policy

By The Northwood Anchor staff

The Northwood Anchor of Northwood, Iowa

At the most recent regular meeting of the Northwood City Council members of the Northwood Volunteer Fire Company were on hand to share concerns about a lack of medically-trained volunteers available on weekdays.

NVFC chief Rick Hanson spoke to the Council about the situation. He said that on most weekdays, there are four NVFC members with medical training that work in Northwood. While they are often all available to respond in an emergency, there are times when that is not the case and only two or three are available.

Hanson said that so far it has not created an issue, but that he hoped to have the Council's support in giving city employees that are also NVFC members the go ahead to set aside what they're doing and respond to rescue calls. Having a city employee on hand would help to ensure at least one medically trained responder would be available.

Currently there is one city employee, Mitch Hanson, a part of the city's public works department, who serves on the NVFC.

The City's unofficial policy has been for city employees to be allowed to leave their jobs to help in emergencies, unless staying on the job is a necessity, like in cases where the safety of their coworkers is involved.

The policy had been a generally understood practice until the recent regular meeting, when new language was added to the City's employee handbook that made it official. Following is the new handbook addition:

The City of Northwood approves and encourages employees who are members of the Northwood Volunteer Fire Company to-respond to emergency calls during working hours when able. Time away from work will be approved at the discretion of the Department head. Vacation time or Comp hours will be used for continuing education and specialized trainings that are not City related.

Council member Rhonda Taylor also asked Hanson if the department needed a full time medic on staff during the day. Hanson responded that, while it would be a big help to the department, at this point is not necessary and not economically feasible.

In other business at the recent regular meeting of the Northwood City Council concerns about street lights being out in the city were discussed.

City superintendent

Craig Toft shared that only the downtown street lights are maintained by the City. The rest belong to Alliant Energy.

Those noticing street lights that are out should call 1-800-ALLIANT (255-4628) or report the outages online at

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