Six months after (11) firefighters representing five local area fire departments were killed in the April 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas; EPA, OSHA and ATF have issued an advisory on storage, handling and management of ammonium nitrate. This is part of an ongoing federal effort to improve chemical safety regarding ammonium nitrate in relation to proper building design, storage containers and fire protection at facilities. I encourage all, but especially those of you who have primary response to chemical facilities within your jurisdiction to ensure your emergency response plans are up to date and maintained. More information related to this advisory can be viewed via www.epa.gov/oem/docs/chem/ AN_advisory.pdf.
In the January/February 2013 FFAM newsletter, an article, “Keep Hope Alive” was featured which highlighted the impact first responders have on potential organ donation viability when their patient cannot be saved. The article written by Debra Simaitis, mother of an organ donor and a member of the Governor’s Organ Donation Advisory Committee, mentioned a future training program targeting first responders and actions they can perform to ensure organ donation can remain viable. The training is now available online and those successfully completing the training are eligible for one hour of CEU toward their EMS certification. Go to www.health. mo.gov/organdonor. Click on the link to “Keep Hope Alive” training and register to participate. Your participation may allow you to save multiple lives by taking the appropriate action at fatal accident scenes. Whether you need CEU’s or not, I recommend all first responders take 30 minutes and watch the training video.
Earlier this year the Missouri Association of Fire Chiefs (MAFC) established a Fire Sprinkler Coalition for the purpose of coordinating educational and advocacy efforts to promote fire sprinklers in Missouri. As you recall during the 2011 legislative session, legislation passed prohibiting local jurisdictions from including residential sprinkler installation requirements contained within the International Residential Code (IRC) until 2019. This past legislative session a proposed bill sought to remove the December 31, 2019 date thus making mandatory residential sprinkler installation a permanent prohibition for local jurisdictions. In an attempt to curtail future legislative efforts to prohibit mandatory residential sprinkler installation in new residential construction, MAFC is taking the lead by forming the coalition to be inclusive of all possible stake holders, to include Home Builder’s Association. Raising the level of awareness not only to law makers and the public, but to the fire service as well as to the benefits and effectiveness of residential sprinkler systems will be a huge factor in our success. Stayed tuned for more information as MAFC continue to move forward with these efforts. I encourage you to think about enhancing public awareness to residential fire sprinklers in your local areas. If you need further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition website (www. homefiresprinkler.org) has great educational information as well.
In relation to residential sprinklers, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released an update on home fire sprinkler cost assessment. The assessment purpose was to review current costs against the 2008 benchmark study so as to better understand how the increased widespread adoption of sprinkler ordinances impacts system costs. Cost is an issue MAFC is also including in their discussions. The NFPA study can be viewed via www.nfpa.org/research/ fire-protection-research-foundation/ reports-and-proceedings/suppression/ home-fire-sprinklers/home-fire-sprinkler- cost-assessment-final-report.
At last some good news from our leaders at the National level! The 2013 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) application period is now open. The period opens on November 4th and closes on December 6th. This fiscal year funding level will provide nearly $321 million, less 10% of that funding to be set aside for the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grant program.
Grant guidance for these programs is available at www.grants.gov. Also, the “Get Ready Guide” is available at www. fema.gov/pdf/firegrants/Get_Ready_ Guide.pdf, which may be useful to applicants and is provided to answer questions to help prepare grant applications.
None of us want to imagine having to experience a response to an active shooter/ intruder, but unfortunately too many such incidents are occurring across the U.S. including here in Missouri. The U.S. Fire Administration has recently released a guide, “Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Incidents” which may be a resource for fire and EMS used to support planning and preparation for these types of incidents. Stakeholders involved in the development of the guide included fire, pre-hospital EMS, law enforcement, hospital medical and trauma care personnel.
The guide can be downloaded at no cost from: www.usfa.fema.gov/fireservice/ ops_tactics/disasters/.
In October, Governor Nixon recognized Missouri’s LAST Team (Local Assistance State Team) by issuing a Governor’s Proclamation for their assistance provided to the Prescott Arizona Fire Department in July when 19 firefighters were killed in the Yarnell Hills wildfire. Missouri LAST team members included; Harriett and Don Vaucher, Kate Moore, Gordon Fowlston, John Hesson, Greg Harrell, Paul Nordin, and team leader Brian Zinanni. The team was tasked with planning, coordinating and carrying out seven full-honor funeral services in just four days. I know I am speaking for the team, but I assure you it was a tremendous honor for the team to assist our fallen brothers who gave their lives in the line of duty. Being requested to assist in such an honorable event truly validates the respect and recognition Missouri’s teams have at the National level. I, along with Missouri’s fire service, am proud to support the teams. The team was presented with the Governor’s Proclamation during the Greater St. Louis Fire Chief’s Association Awards Ceremony.
The Division’s Fire Safety Inspection Unit has revitalized our efforts to assist local departments, businesses and communities in enhancing fire safety education and awareness. Our Public Fire Safety Education Specialist, Inspector Lianne Stone, along with support from two of our fire safety inspectors, is making public fire safety/awareness educational presentations upon request in an attempt to reach as many citizens as possible. Funding to support these efforts is provided largely from the Division’s Fire Safe Cigarette Program. Statutorily, funding generated by this program is directed toward fire safety educational training. By no means are there unlimited funds, but this avenue has provided the Division with educational material support for distribution at many community events throughout the state. If your department has a need for assistance in delivering fire safety education/awareness programs, please contact Deputy Chief Ron Thompson and we will work to facilitate fire prevention efforts in your community.
On October 2nd, Governor Nixon presented the Missouri Medal of Valor to nine public safety officers from across the state for their exceptional bravery and heroism in efforts to save lives and protect the public during 2012. Eight of those recognized were from law enforcement agencies with the other representing the fire service; Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin Bacon, West County EMS and FPD.
On July 29, 2012, Firefighter/Paramedics Bacon and Cody Jennemann responded to a vehicle crash in which an SUV ran off the highway, rolled, and ended up overturned and on fire in the backyard of a residence. Bacon went to the aid of the driver as Jennemann went to the front of the house to direct incoming firefighters with the necessary equipment. The driver was partially ejected and trapped under the vehicle as the fire encroached on the passenger compartment. The driver had no pulse and was not breathing. The fire was growing larger and time running out. Bacon, without regard for his own safety, entered the extremely hazardous fire area, managed to lift the overturned vehicle from the victim and roll it onto its side. Bacon then pulled the patient away from the fire. Bacon and Jennemann began advanced life support intervention, resuscitating the patient. He was transported to a hospital and, amazingly, made a complete recovery. Firefighter/Paramedic Bacon’s heroic efforts undoubtedly saved the man’s life.
It seems the call to duty runs in the Bacon family. Ironically, Kevin’s brother, Tom, with Pattonville FPD, was a recipient of the 2012 Medal of Valor related to a 2011 incident in which Tom was instrumental in saving the lives of five individuals in a vehicle when the vehicle was overturned in front of the firehouse by an EF4 tornado.
Congratulations to Kevin and once again to Tom for their life saving actions!
On November 3rd during the annual Missouri Association of Mutual Insurance Companies luncheon, the Jamesport Fire and Rescue was recognized as the association’s Fire Department of the Year Award. Over the course of 15 years, Jamesport Fire and Rescue has dramatically improved the level of fire service provided to their community and touts an ISO rating of 6. This year a new fire station was constructed due to local community fund raising efforts to the tune of approximately $160,000. Since 1999, the department has also been successful in attaining Federal funds to support enhanced communications, traffic safety equipment, and firefighting equipment. This award validates this department’s progressive efforts to provide their community with the best emergency response possible. Congratulations!!
Once again, as we approach the Christmas season, as you are looking for the perfect gifts, I would like to encourage you to consider purchasing items that benefit the future Firefighter’s Museum to be located in Kingdom City. A memorial Statue, foot in the door, t-shirts, brick, etc., are just a few examples of items available with proceeds going toward museum fundraising efforts. Help out the cause, give a great gift and avoid the Christmas crowds!
On behalf of myself and the entire Division of Fire Safety staff we wish you and your family a very safe and happy holiday season!