Before it became Apple Valley in 1969, the area between Eagan, Rosemount, Burnsville, and Lakeville was known as Lebanon Township. With a need to provide fire protection for the homes and businesses that were rapidly growing around the County Road 42 and Hayes Road intersection, the Lebanon Fire Department was created in 1966. Ordinance 33 took effect in November of that year, creating a formal fire department with 43 charter members.
Before Lebanon became Apple Valley, in 1967 those first firefighters shared 16 black rubber fire coats, pull-up rubber boots, rubber gloves, and plastic helmets. The fire station was not much more than an extra garage stall in the existing town hall and there was one fire truck, a General Safety Equipment 1966 Ford pumper. Two firefighters sat in the cab and the rest of the crew rode on the tailboard. Fire calls were made through a multi-ring telephone system, there was one stationary siren in town, and less than 22 calls for fire response were made that first year.
Apple Valley Fire Stations
Today, Apple Valley is home to three fire stations. When fully staffed there are 24 firefighters assigned to each station, two assistant chiefs, a deputy chief, a fire marshal, a fire inspector, and a fire chief. Each member is issued a complete set of protective equipment to include bunker coat and pants, helmet, protective hood, fire gloves, and a face mask for the breathing apparatus they wear. Emergency 9-1-1 calls are taken by the Dakota Communications Center, where consolidated dispatching occurs for the entire county. Firefighters respond to their assigned station when pagers are alerted for calls. They must attend regular on-going training.
There are 16 pieces of apparatus within the department that consist of four engines, two ladders, a rescue truck, a command van, four chief vehicles, a boat, and three utility vehicles. The standard equipment has increased as well, and now includes a hydraulic rescue tool, four gas monitors, thermal images, EMS equipment, 800 MHz radios, and computers in apparatus. In addition to fire calls, the department now responds to calls that include medicals, rescues, fire alarms, and more. In 2021, there were 2,307 calls for the Apple Valley Fire Department to respond to.