I write this after returning from a great weekend spent at the FFAM Convention. It is one of the few times I get to see so many of our fire service personnel in one place at any one time. I truly appreciate the words of friendship and support spoken to me over the weekend. I gain a better perspective of my and the Division’s role and responsibility each time I get to spend time with our responders.
Additionally, this was Brenda’s first time watching the contests. Many of you, and those in the adjoining counties, probably heard her yelling encouragement from the sidelines and later from the head table at the banquet. To say she enjoyed the games and the convention would be an understatement.
I certainly wish to thank the Lake Area Emergency Responders Association for hosting the convention. Their hard work showed itself in a well-executed event.
I enjoyed listening to Deputy US Fire Administrator Dr. Onieal address all of us at the banquet. His words conveyed one of the same thoughts I have shared here before; we must evolve and adapt in order to continue to advance as a discipline. We owe it to ourselves and the communities we serve. It is that thought which drives my decisions in the direction we are taking with training and certification in our state.
As national standards have changed, so must we. We will ultimately be held accountable for actions we take during a response. Those actions, backed by the consensus standards and used as the base for our new certification levels will assist us in moving forward. Standing still in an emergency is not a trait Missouri’s fire service possesses. You run toward the emergency. Therefore, I feel it is our responsibility to ensure the training you receive will help you make good decisions when called upon to do so.
Shortly, we will be awarding this year’s contracts for fire service training. I know our training partners will once again provide courses designed to challenge as well as educate our responders. I know the value good training plays in helping our responders return from the call. I’ll ask you to consider attending a course or two this year. With the varied topics and lengths of courses, there is something for everyone.
These same thoughts also serve to remind me that in May, we hold the Firefighter Memorial Services in Kingdom City. This occasion allows us to honor those who have served their communities; some having given everything to provide for the safety of us all. It also serves to demonstrate to the families of those responders that we support them just as they supported their loved ones as they performed their duties. In my opinion, that is reason alone to hold this ceremony.
We support each other; whether at a contest, during a response, in a discussion or at a memorial service. This network of support is one thing which makes me so proud of Missouri’s fire service and proud to serve as your Fire Marshal.
Acting State Fire Marshal