Editor’s note: The following is part of a continuing series “Muscatine Fire: Who we are”, courtesy City of Muscatine public information officer Kevin Jenison, highlighting members of the Muscatine Fire Department and examining why they chose to work and live in Muscatine.
Andy Summitt starts his 20th year as a member of the Muscatine Fire Department in October, and he would tell you that working in the fire service is a job that he always wanted to do. Others might tell you that it is a job that he was born to do.
Summitt is a second generation Muscatine firefighter and has risen to the rank of Captain. He is currently in charge of operations and training for the department with certifications as a Firefighter, Critical Care Paramedic Haz-Mat tech, Fire/EMS Instructor, and Confined Space Technician.
His father, Tom, was a Muscatine firefighter and critical care paramedic who retired from the department on July 31, 2020, to become the Chief Medical Examiner Investigator for Muscatine County. Andrew’s youngest brother, Jason, is also with the Muscatine Fire Department as a fire mechanic. His older brother, Matt, was also a firefighter/paramedic before he died in December 2000.
Andy is married (Heidi) with three daughters (Bailey, Cameron, and Morgan).
What brought you to the Muscatine Fire Department?
Originally from Muscatine, Andy Summitt spent a year in Bettendorf before answering the call to return to his hometown and accept a position with the Muscatine Fire Department.
“What brought me back to Muscatine was the opportunity to work in a community that I grew up in,” Summitt said.
What do you like most about MFD?
Working for the Muscatine Fire Department has kept Summitt on his toes.
“What I like most about the MFD is the amount of calls we go on,” Summitt said. “We are a very busy department which allows you to respond to a variety of calls.”
One of the hardest parts, however, is being away from family for 24 hours at a time and missing events.
What recommendations would you have for someone thinking about getting into the fire service?
“Prepare yourself,” Summitt said. “You are going to see people at their worst times.
Summitt also stresses the need for a good family support system.
“Having a good support system will get you through a lot of the bad times,” Summitt said.
Check out these fun videos of our hard working Muscatine Fire Department.
Becoming a firefighter:
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Muscatine Fire Department, visit www.muscatineiowa.gov/jobs to fill out an application. Applications for this year’s testing class are being accepted through September 23. Applications are also available in the Human Resources office at Muscatine City Hall, 215 Sycamore Street.
About the Muscatine Fire Department:
The Muscatine Fire Department provides fire and emergency medical services, rescues (high angle, rope, water, etc.), building inspections, and public education for the City of Muscatine, and the surrounding unincorporated areas of Muscatine County with a combined population of 43,000 across 145 square miles while also providing HAZMAT for Muscatine, Louisa, Washington, Keokuk, and Henry counties. MFD firefighters and paramedics responded to 5,238 calls in 2019. The Muscatine Fire Department began as a volunteer fire company on January 7, 1875 and was established as a full-time department in January 1916. The Muscatine Fire Department ambulance service received the 2012 Career Ambulance service of the Year Award from Iowa Emergency Medical Services.