Frank DeVusser retired in 1968 and William Gresher was appointed Chief. As the department continued to grow, plans were made to construct a dedicated fire station at 1661 Maple Avenue. The new station was completed in 1969 and contained a large hall for the volunteer fire department to hold fundraisers as well as train their members. In 1973 a sleeper program was instituted, which allowed firemen to staff the station twenty-four hours a day and decrease response times.
Prior to 1974, ambulance service was provided by firefighters trained in advanced first-aid or as Emergency Medical Technicians. However, new federal and state laws permitted Paramedics to begin providing Advanced Life Support care to the victims of sudden illness and injury. This new program trained Emergency Medical Technicians to administer intravenous solutions, emergency medications and provide invasive airway management techniques similar to those used in hospital emergency rooms.
The program administered by Sherman Hospital in Elgin and managed by the District was one of the first of its kind in the area as well as the state. Volunteer members trained extensively to this service level and provided assistance not only to the residents of the fire district but to the Bartlett/Countryside Fire Protection District as well until 1980.
Addition of First Aerial Apparatus
In 1976, as industrial parks in and around the area began to take shape, the department added its first aerial apparatus. In that same year, the department began construction of Fire Station #2 located at 5500 County Farm Rd. (Stearns and County Farm Road).