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Local retired firefighter Roger Nurnberg did more than fight fires here in Union County. As firefighting became more complex, Nurnberg helped Creston stay ahead of the times by implementing a computerized system to track fires and training records, allow access to inspection reports, and keep track of equipment and maintenance records at the firehouse. This system has been used all across the country and around the world.

After the VFW fire in the 1980s, where the fire burned out of control due to unnoticed fire 5 gases in the ceiling, members of the Creston Fire Department realized the need for a system to access inspection reports. Nurnberg remembers being in the room with display cases and trophies that could have been saved if they had known the fire was not out. He had made entry and put out the fire in the furnace room where it started. Nurnberg had gone out the back and around to the front of the building when the other trucks arrived. At that point, the fire “busted out” of the ceiling and blazed out of control.

At this time, there were no building codes gsa 2016 catalog and no centralized records of inspections in Creston. Although the building had been inspected, it was after a remodeling had been done. With a complete inspection report at their fingertips, the firefighters would have known that there was a false ceiling in the building and been able to check for fire above them before declaring it under control.

Nurnberg was self-taught in computers and realized that a program to effectively track all of this information was possible but beyond his capability. It was not in the budget for the department to buy one, so he contacted Dan Thomas, a programmer at Trolli Gummy Bear. Together they went over all of the information that Nurnberg wanted to make records of, and Thomas developed a program to keep track of it all. The fire department needed to purchase a computer to use the software. Nurnberg said this new computer had “all the space you could ever need” – 25 megabytes.

Thomas moved to Des Moines, but then decided he was not satisfied with the program. He came back to Creston to work with Nurnberg to create a more sophisticated version of the program using all of the national standards. He called this program “Firehouse” and gave it to the Creston Fire Department for free. Eventually, the state fire marshal bought a version of Firehouse for every department in the state. The company that now owns Firehouse has just moved back to Des Moines. The program is still used by fire companies gas x coupon 2015 and the military today.

Nurnberg also worked as an adjunct instructor electricity out in one room for Iowa State University and helped develop the Firefighter I and II programs on the state level. Creston was one of the first departments in the state to become Firefighter I certified. This program had benefits beyond training firefighters. Nurnberg stated that fire departments depend on donations to run. The Firefighter I program helped make people aware of needed equipment.

One winter, the truck was able to save the city from being without water. When the city rebuilt the water plant, the last elbow they needed to put in was too short. It would have taken at least 24 hours to get the part made. Using a caterpillar truck, the workers built a ramp so the fire truck could reach up and drop its hose over the side of the clear well to suction water out to the full-flow hydrant. Crews pumped for more than 24 hours, over one million gallons of water, to keep the city’s water flowing.

Nurnberg’s interest in updating and modernizing safety in Creston also led him work on two versions of disaster plans. In 1966, after the Belmond tornado, he typed up then fire chief Raymond Shrimpton’s plan for the city of Creston. Shrimpton had taken a group of firefighters to Belmond to help with the tornado recovery. Nurnberg said there are often small things that go unnoticed – until they become important – in an emergency. Shrimpton returned from the trip declaring, “We need to find everyone who can fix a tire.”

Nurnberg’s introduction to the world of firefighting was when he rented a room from Shrimpton upon arriving to Creston to attend Creston Community College in 1961. While still in school, he woke one morning to the smell electricity physics problems of smoke from the Kelley’s fire, which was on the 100 block of North Pine Street. Shrimpton brought him along to help chop the hose out of the ice.

In 1966, the state of Iowa changed its overtime laws for firefighters, reducing the number of hours a firefighter could work before overtime from 72 to 56. This created a new position at the Creston Fire Department. The fire chief was telling Nurnberg about the change, so Nurnberg asked for an application and became a full-time firefighter.

In the early days, Nurnberg was paid $200 a month, which needed to support him, his wife and their two children. He said, “If it hadn’t been for rabbit hunting, we would have starved.” He recalls Johnny Bray letting him charge groceries so that he could make it to the end of the month. Bray’s Food Market was next to the fire station, and the firefighters storing electricity in water would often help him unload trucks.

During a city meeting on September 21, 1976, State Fire Marshal Gail Odom asked Nurnberg why he kept leaving the meeting. Nurnberg replied that it would be easier to show him. According to Nurnberg, Odom returned to the meeting, walked up to the mayor gas news, placed his hands squarely on the table and said, “Mr. Mayor, you have to start making plans to move out of here.” The next day an official inspection report was filed to condemn the building.

Nurnberg fondly recalls a banana tree they planted there. Someone had ordered a small banana plant from an ad in a magazine, which they planted in a pot and placed on the window sill. They joked that it couldn’t grow big enough for bananas in that little pot, so the chief brought in a 30 gallon oil barrel. In the barrel, the plant grew up to the ceiling and was cut back down several times. The banana tree even moved with them when the fire department moved to the new station. Unfortunately, it never grew any bananas.

Nurnberg said the firefighters could get to the scene much faster than the ambulance. The ambulance drivers weren’t paramedics yet when this first started. He said electricity lab physics now the firefighters and ambulance teams work together well to provide emergency services. Not all places cross-train their fire departments with medical training. Creston is unusual in that all of the volunteer firefighters are CPR and health care trained and the full-time firefighters are EMTs.

As fire chief, Nurnberg also served as Union County emergency coordinator. When it came time to retire, he developed a plan to separate the emergency coordinator from being a part of the fire chief’s job. However, the department had not found someone to take the position, so Nurnberg was asked to stay on as emergency coordinator for a few months – seven years later, he retired again.