Wake Island Has a Modern Fire Department
Wake Island, 2004 miles from Honolulu and 1652 miles east of Tokyo, may be one of the loneliest spots of the Pacific, but it boasts an up-to-date fire department.
Besides being one of the most desolate places on earth, with no fresh water of its own and a maximum elevation of 22 feet. Wake is one of the busiest. It is a principal stop on the trans-Pacific airlift which supports our forces in Vietnam, and services some 1100 airplanes a month. Because of this military role, as well as a Loran station (electronic navigation), a missile-tracking installation, a communication center, and a cable station. Wake has a population of 1371, of whom 40, under Fire Chief Harold F. Kreuger, are either full-time or part-time firemen.
Chief Kreuger’s department is equipped with a fleet of heavy-duty aircraft crash trucks whose principal weapon is foam, as well as general-duty tanker/pumpers. The latter are required since Wake doesn’t have fire mains, the only hydrant on the island being a dummy set aside for the convenience of “Pau-Itchi,” the department’s speckled canine mascot.
Communications of the fire department are consolidated with those of the other protective services on Wake, and consist of a two-way radio system, manned 24 hours in police headquarters. All vehicles are radio-equipped, and the 2600-acre atoll has a network of alarm boxes from which citizens can call for help.
Because of an intensive program of training and fire prevention, fire losses are cumulatively low and with little property damage in most cases. Although Wake has a large number of temporary frame-type buildings, structural fires have been kept to a minimum.