The new chief of the Waverly Fire Department is no stranger to the department or the community.
Before recently taking the reins of leadership as chief, Jeff Minshall spent the last approximately 10 years as assistant chief and has been at the department since May 1987. Minshall takes over for recently-retired, longtime Waverly Fire Chief Randy Armbruster, who spent 33 years as chief and had more years of service with the department prior to that.
Minshall, who began at the fire department as a volunteer, was raised in the community and is a graduate of Waverly High School. His father, Don Minshall, was a police officer. Chief Minshall indicated that his interest in serving at the department all these years is helping people and giving back to the community.
As for goals for the department, Minshall said he wants to maintain the standards of the department.
“We have a high standard and well-respected department,” he said.
He indicated that he wants to keep all training levels current.
“There’s always something new to learn even though you’ve been in it all these years.”
He also said that he wants to make sure the department continues to have new personnel coming on board and being trained at state levels.
He said that, currently, the Waverly Fire Department is in pretty good shape as far as equipment is concerned, thanks to Waverly Mayor Greg Kempton, Waverly Village Council, and Pee Pee Township trustees. However, the department still has to keep up with maintenance and replacement of equipment, he explained.
The Waverly Fire Department covers the village and is also contracted to cover Pee Pee Township. In addition, the department provides mutual aid to other fire departments.
One current concern indicated by Chief Minshall is that he wants everyone to know that if their carbon monoxide detector goes off they should definitely call the fire department. He said that this is not a nuisance but indicated rather that it is very important for them to check out.
“You’re not annoying us,” Minshall said.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is very deadly, so this is a life and death issue.
Minshall indicated that the public is very supportive of the fire department, and he mentioned the “tremendous response” of the public at the department’s fish fries. (This year’s fish fry had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.)
Having worked at the fire department for so long, Minshall has seen his share of changes, including even the building where the fire department is housed. When he began working for the department, the building was on the Market Street side where the police department is now.
He also mentioned apparatus added through the years. He said that when he started in 1987 the department had a converted gasoline truck for a tanker but that now they basically have two tankers.
The department also has a dive team, and, thanks to the Farm Bureau purchasing the equipment, the department has a grain bin rescue team.
In addition, Waverly FD has two sets of auto extrication tools, or jaws of life. Minshall said that when he started in 1987 there was basically one set of auto extrication tools for the whole county. He said that now a lot of departments have them.
Minshall also mentioned the cancer-free initiative to help protect firefighters from the disease.
“We’ve been able to get an extractor washer through a Bureau of Workers Compensation grant that cleans our gear,” he said.