Posted by Michael Kraines
GEORGE ESBENSEN - EDEN PRAIRIE FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Eden Prairie Fire Department (EPFD) was formed in 1967. Their mission is to minimize risk and increase safety through education, fire code enforcement, and emergency response. There are four main divisions: Building Inspections, Fire Prevention, Emergency Response, and Emergency Preparedness. The organizational structure of the Fire Department has the Fire Chief, Esbensen, with five command staff reporting to him leading a staff of 95 crew firefighters and nine full-time firefighters. Esbensen reports to the City Manager. The Fire Department operates out of four fire stations. Eden Prairie operates its own 911 system that is overseen by the EPFD. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a group of citizen volunteers trained in emergency preparedness for large scale disasters. They assist to get clear communication to people in a disaster and assist our community members where English may not be their first language.
 
 
Last year the Department processed over 6,000 permits, revenues exceeded over $2 million on property valued over $100 million. Property inspections exceeded 11,ooo. EPFD is implementing online service options and today 53% of permits are issued online so for many there is no need to go to City Hall. 47% of applicants need more assistance than what can be offered online and they can obtain that at City Hall. Plan reviews and inspections can also be scheduled online.
 
Training is important at the EPFD and occurs every week. Over 13,000 hours of training is logged for the 100 firefighters. The EPFD prepares for building fires, water rescue, biohazards, airport and health related emergencies, and more.
 
The EPFD lends a hand with emergencies across the country. Some examples include the hurricanes this past year in Florida and Texas. The wildfires in the Boundary Waters and a recent tornado in Wadena, Minnesota drew upon Eden Prairie’s resources and personnel for assistance. Esbensen views this as a way to “pay it forward”.
 
The Eden Prairie Fire Auxiliary plays an import role to support Firefighters and their families. The impact and stress of being a Firefighter affects not only the Firefighters but their families as well. Emotional trauma, cancer and cardiac health issues are more prevalent with Firefighters than the general population. Suicide is higher as well.
 
A significant challenge today is recruiting new Firefighters. The crew model is compensated at $13.00 per hour. It is essentially a “volunteer” crew. The full time Firefighters are career members. Regarding the opioid crisis: the EPFD administers Narcan about two to three times per week as an emergency response to an overdose.
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
More drivers are needed to deliver Meals on Wheels the second week of March; contact John Goergen if you can help. Four families are needed to share hosting duties – one week each – for Ms. Yura Koh, a Korean college student visiting us at the end of June. Also, she is looking for opportunities to learn about business. She has an interest in literature; talk to Dennis Kim if you can help. We’ll be at Feed My Starving Children starting at 7:15 a.m. Feb. 27 to pack meals. Attend the District Assembly on May 21 at the Guthrie Theatre.
 
SPOTLIGHT ON MARK FREIBERG
Mark was born in New York on Long Island. He grew up in St. Louis Park. Mark plays many musical instruments. Mark married his high school sweet heart Patty at the age of 19. They have been married 47 years. They have three kids and have resided in Eden Prairie for over 37 years. Both he and Patty worked in the mortgage industry—as competitors. They did not talk about work at home. Mark retired from that industry about 10 years ago and turned his focus to e-commerce. He has over 12,ooo transactions online and a 100% satisfaction rating. Mark appreciates the great schools, sports, and community of Eden Prairie. He wants to give back to Eden Prairie and some ways that he has is by serving on Eden Prairie’s Heritage Preservation Commission and the Historical Society. Mark would like to expand his service for Eden Prairie by one day serving on the City Council. 
 
HAPPY BUCKS
  • Dennis Kim: Happy to have Jane, offering a host home, and Frank, a business host, for Ms. Yura Koh.
  • Morgan Blixrud:  2nd time an aunt as of February 2nd.
  • Suzanne Kutina:  New job, “Not Me”, teaching self-defense training for women.
  • Mark Weber: 17 years in the Rotary.   "State of the Foundation, City & Schools"  program that will be held 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1st. Social time from 5-6:15 p.m., including free appetizers and a cash bar.
  • John Crudele: Camp Enterprise; Travel to Philippines with CEO of Feed My Starving Children to get operation going there.
  • Pei Ling Jamison: 2018 Chinese New Year is the year of the Dog.
  • Jane McGinty: All the great activities that Trini has been involved with. Looking for a host family for Trini for a “staycation” this spring break. Daughter Madeline is selling Girl Scout cookies.
  • Jay Simpson: Now Onward Eden Prairie program purchased a home. housing 18-22 year old youth in need of support to learn skills to live on their own.
 
VISITORS
Benjamin Hartman - Prospective Member - 1st visit
Aaron Casper - Prospective Member - 3rd visit
Rekha Claus and Morgan Blixrud  - Student Interns
Trini Santillan Oertel - Exchange Student