Fire Station Tours for Kids in Des Moines, Iowa
Nothing is more exciting for many kids than watching a firetruck drive by, hearing the siren, and looking at the flashing lights. Both of my sons have participated in the Touch-a-Truck events around town to see their favorite vehicles up close and they even dressed up as firefighters for Halloween. Many fire stations in the Des Moines Metro offer free tours where kids can visit the station, look at the vehicles and talk to the firefighters. Check out this guide to learn how and where your kids can tour a fire station.
Altoona Fire Department
Address: 950 Venbury Drive, Altoona
Phone: (515) 967-2216
Website: Altoona Fire Department
Facebook: Altoona Fire Department Facebook
The Altoona Fire Department consists of one fire station. Call to schedule a tour during business hours from 8 AM-5 PM. Kids will get to explore the trucks, see the kitchen and other living spaces and talk with the firefighters. The department holds an open house in October for Fire Prevention Week and will visit daycares and schools upon request. They also provide stickers and wristbands to the kids.
Ankeny Fire Department
Fire Station Headquarters and Fire Museum; Fire Station #1
Address: 120 NW Ash Drive, Ankeny
Phone: (515) 965-6469
Website: Ankeny Fire Department
The Ankeny Fire Department includes three fire stations and they offer tours at the Fire Station Headquarters and Fire Museum Station on Ash Drive. They also offer an open house each October for Fire Prevention Week as well as each May for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. The fire department offers site visits for businesses, schools, or community groups to learn about fire prevention and safety. The Pluggies Partners Program lets your child “adopt” a fire hydrant by caring for it in the winter months. To schedule a tour, or site visit, or become part of the Pluggies Partners Program, email Public Education Coordinator, Karen Peters, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clive Fire Department
Address: 8800 Hickman Road, Clive
Phone: (515) 223-1595
Facebook: Clive Fire Department Facebook
The Clive Fire Department includes 1 fire station. Families can stop by for a tour but bigger groups will need to schedule in advance by calling the station. The department can also provide a fire truck visit to block parties, help with installing new car seats, fire extinguisher classes, and home safety evaluations.
Des Moines Fire Department
Website: Des Moines Fire Department
Facebook: Des Moines Fire Department Facebook
The Des Moines Fire Department includes 11 fire stations. Contact the station officer at the individual station for tours. They typically take about one hour to complete and it’s recommended to schedule about a week in advance. The Des Moines Fire Department celebrates Fire Prevention Week in October and this past October they held storytime at Des Moines Public Library branches. They also participate in the Iowa Hero Academy along with the Des Moines Police Department and the Iowa National Guard. This 5-day summer camp is for women ages 15-18 years old to explore careers in firefighting, the police department, and the military. To get more information about this upcoming summer camp, email email@example.com.
Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department
The Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department consists of three fire stations with two in Johnston and one in Grimes. They also have a Special Operations that provides ice rescue and water rescue. Tours are provided at all three stations with the majority of tours provided at the main station called Station 39 on Merle Hay Road. This station contains a boat, jet skis, and a water truck for water rescue. To schedule, a tour or a visit to a school or daycare contact Fire Marshal Craig Ver Huel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours include viewing all parts of the station including living quarters, kitchen, offices, and emergency vehicles. The department holds an annual Trick or Treat with First Responder Event. The department is currently collecting toys for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots at all locations until December 12, 2022.
Urbandale Fire Department
Website: Urbandale Fire Department
Facebook: Urbandale Fire Department Facebook
The Urbandale Fire Department consists of 3 fire stations and tours are provided at all locations. Call Fire Marshal Jon Rech at 515-331-6733 or the main number at 515-278-3970 to schedule a tour or email them at email@example.com. Kids will learn about the tools and equipment used, safety information, learn what the firefighters do throughout their shift, and climb into the firetruck. The department also provides visits to daycares. For residents of Urbandale, only the fire department can help celebrate a birthday or special occasion by completing a “drive-by” visit to see the truck and meet firefighters. For more information click here. Each summer the department also holds a Kids Fire Academy for kids ages 8-15 that live and/or go to school in Urbandale. They will learn about the roles of firefighters and EMTs, fire prevention, and hands-on activities. Dates for Summer 2023 will be released in the Spring.
Waukee Fire Department
Address: 1300 SE La Grant Parkway, Waukee
Phone: (515) 978-7998
Website: Waukee Fire Department
Facebook: Waukee Fire Department Facebook
The Waukee Fire Department consists of one fire station and they provide tours to individuals or groups. Call the station to schedule or email ttysdal@Waukee.org. The department can also arrange a fire truck to come to a public event or block party when available. You can also meet Ember the Fire Dog at community events. She’s a Dalmatian dog who is the mascot for the fire department and lives with firefighter and paramedic Adam Hilgenberg.
West Des Moines Fire Department
Website: West Des Moines Fire Department
Facebook: West Des Moines Fire Department Facebook
The West Des Moines Fire Department has 5 stations as well as a Fire and EMS Administration building. Call the individual station to schedule a tour. On their website check out their Emergency Contact Links as well as their Kid Safety Links. They also put out a monthly newsletter for the community called The Siren. For Fire Prevention Month in October, they make many visits to schools, daycares, and businesses to discuss fire safety.
Windsor Heights Fire Department
Address: 1133 66th St.Windsor Heights
Phone Duty Crew: 515-279-9450
Website: Windsor Heights Fire Department
Facebook: Windsor Heights Fire Department Facebook
The Windsor Heights Fire Department consists of 1 fire station. Call Monday-Friday between 8 AM to 4 PM to schedule a tour. You can also meet Ember, a Dalmatian dog, who lives at the fire station and attends community events. The department holds events throughout the year including Pancake Breakfast, and Santa visit attends festivals like Touch a Truck and provides outreach to the community.
My family and I toured Fire Station 19 in West Des Moines with Deputy Chief Mark McCulloch and I’m not sure who had more fun- my sons or my father! We explored the inside of an ambulance, climbed up the ladder into the firetruck, saw the kitchen and where the firefighters sleep, and met Thor, the practice manikin for medical situations. Of course, my sons wore their firefighter costumes but this is not required for tours.
While my dad called it a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” my 4-year-old was slightly disappointed that they didn’t have a pole to slide down. Deputy Chief McCulloch states that while tours are fun for children, it’s also important for them to get to know firefighters and other emergency medical personnel. This way if there’s a real emergency they will not feel as afraid because they will have already seen the emergency vehicles and met the firefighters. Touring a fire station is a great opportunity and there are many places to visit!