Hammann family full of men working to protect county
Monday, November 4, 2013
The Cole County Fire Protection District has more than 70 members.
Seven of them are from one family.
The Hammann family grew up about a mile away from Fire Station 1 on County Park Road, where they serve.
Wayne has been on the service for 42 years; Robert, 32; Josh ,14; Chris, 16; Galen, 38; Jason, 14; and Matt Long, who married into the Hammann family, 10 years.
“When you get into it, you either love it or hate it,” Wayne said. “After your first fire or car crash, you either stay or leave. For me, it was a way to help people who are in a dire situation. Every time you get toned out, every call is different.”
“The first time you go out on a call you’re hooked, at least that was the way it was for me,” Robert said.
“It is a great way to help people, and there is that adrenaline rush when you’re headed out to the call,” Justin said.
“We were always around the fire station. It was natural for me to want to get involved so I could know what was going on,” Chris said.
“I do want to point out that there is a misconception on the part of many who say that firefighters are there just to ride around in a big red truck and run a siren,” Wayne added. “Working and riding the equipment is just a small part of what we do.”
Working as many years as the Hammanns have, they have had plenty of interesting experiences.
“When I worked for Jefferson City, I can remember one time headed back from a call we’d gone out on and before we got back to our station, we heard another station was on fire,” Wayne said.
“I can remember working a car crash on West Brazito Road which left a 14-year-old girl dead,” Chris said. “That happened 13 years ago, but I can’t forget that incident. There was another time I had ordered a pizza and we got toned out for an accident. It turned out it involved the driver who was headed out to deliver the pizza.”
Wayne said since the advent of building codes in the county in the 1990s, it’s about a 50/50 split between calls for fires and car accidents.
“We had a lot of old farm homes in the 1970s when the district was just getting started, and now things are being built better,” he said. “We’re getting more extrication equipment because more and more of our calls are for auto accidents.”
It’s not just going to emergency calls that take up a firefighter’s time.
“We have meetings and training, so there’s a lot of time away from the family,” Robert said. “Our families have had to learn that plans can change very fast.”
“There’s been many times I’ve had plans to go out with my family and have had to drop them because I had to go out on a call,” Jason said.
“We do want to thank the citizens of Cole County, because when voters approved the formation of a fire protection district in 1993, that really helped,” Wayne said. “That led to us getting more equipment, stations and training, and improved things immensely. When I started, we had three trucks, one station and 10-12 fire fighters. Now we’ve got eight stations, 30 pieces of equipment and 72 firefighters.”
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