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Fire Marshal’s Update – January 2018

Happy New Year 2018 and fair well to 2017! I hope each and every one experienced a happy family-fun-filled Christmas holiday. I enjoyed having some time off to enjoy Judy’s family and my family at Mom and Dad Beans. As my Dad often says, “We have beans three times a day at our meals.” Actually, I think someone counted 32 of them for Christmas dinner.

To bring you up to date on the Division, we have been very busy serving the State. The Fire Investigation Unit is up to full staff now. Deputy Chief Steve Grass hired three more investigators: Aaron Sutton who will be stationed in Warren County, Rachel McColley stationed in Ripley County, and Chad Hildebrand stationed in Webster County. We have some of the best fire investigators in the state and we pledge to continue to service you in that capacity. Please call us if you need our services day or night, 24/7/365.

The Fire Inspection Unit hired two inspectors to fill its roster. Deputy Chief Greg Dickens added Clay Allison who will be assigned to Cider County, and Dwight Francis who is assigned to Osage County. We appreciate what this unit does to ensure our facilities caring for our state’s most vulnerable citizens keep our loved ones safe. Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – November 2017

Greetings from the thirteenth floor! “Every Second Counts Know 2-Ways Out,” just in case anyone in the Missouri Fire service missed Fire Prevention Week, on October 8-14, that is the theme for this year. I posted several pictures promoting fire prevention week in my own way with facebook posts, but kind-a got a scolding from one of my good friends (Cindy), who stated “Chief it’s fire prevention all year long!” I agree Cindy! I hope we as the Missouri Fire Service can say we promote fire prevention all year long!

We celebrated the Division of Fire Safety’s 45th anniversary on Wednesday October 25, with a noon pot-luck lunch. We discussed it around the office and decided to have a big blow out for the 50th. We were honored to have former Fire Marshal’s Bill Farr and Randy Cole join us. I have added some pictures from the 25th anniversary for your entertainment, enjoy! Thanks for everyone across our state that have supported the Division of Fire Safety for the last 45 years! Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – September 2017

Greetings from the thirteenth floor! I want to begin this article by recognizing all of my fellow Americans suffering due to the floods that occurred in Texas and Louisiana. They need our prayers and support during this tragedy and trying times ahead. From the State Fire Mutual Aid system we have helped organize eighteen departments and one EMS unit to assist the FEMA\EMAC system in Texas. This historic event will take long to recover from and I am sure other resources will be requested as time goes along. Thanks in advance for your assistance when we call.

I also recognize that many of our fellow Missourians are still suffering form the epic flooding that took place in late April and early May of this year. I want you to know our support is still available. Please contact us if we can be of any service to you. Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – July 2017

Happy Summer, Missouri Fire Service. When we use that word, Summer, as a first responder there are some things we need to remember: stay hydrated, take frequent breaks, stay out of the sun when possible, wear sunscreen, and use common sense while working in the sun.

It is with a heavy heart that I continue the next portion of my article.

On Monday, May 29, we had our first line of duty death in Missouri. Firefighter Jesse W. Ketchum of the Memphis City Fire Department was responding on a mutual aid fire call. Firefighter Ketchum was driving a pumper truck en route to the fire when it overturned killing Jesse. We at the Division of Fire Safety and the Missouri fire service extend our continued support to his wife Jenna and their four children, Zada, Cora, Rhet, and Kruz. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers please. Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – May 2017

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support and confidence you have shown since my initial appointment as State Fire Marshal on February 8, 2017. The list of compliments, texts, along with phone calls is as long as the ride to the thirteenth floor. I truly am humbled and appreciative for each and every one of them. I will do my best and try and be the best boots on the ground each and every day as your state fire marshal.

We at the Division want to say “thank you” to each and every one who attended Firefighter’s Day at the Capitol on April 5. Governor Eric Greitens attended and assured the Missouri fire service that he has our backs, along with state senators and representatives who also attended and showed their appreciation and support, it all made for a good day. We appreciate our training partners MU FRTI and Three Rivers College for displaying their training props. An additional thank you to the following fire service entities: Holt Summit FPD, Cole County FPD, Air Force Fire Department, U.S. Forestry Service, Missouri Conservation (Fire Division), Jefferson City Fire, and West Plains Fire for bringing your trucks and equipment for displays in front of the Capitol. Also thank you to Jefferson City Fire for the color guard, and flag posting, and Boone County Bag-Pipe and Drums for serenading us. Lastly I want to brag on the staff of the Division for all of the behind the scenes work that made this event a great success. I appreciate your dedication and devotion to the Missouri Fire Service day in and day out. You’re the best team ever. Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – March 2017

Greetings from the State Fire Marshal’s Office

In this life we recall a number of firsts. Well, for me this is a first as your newly appointed State of Missouri Fire Marshal. On January 8, at the St. Louis Fire Department headquarters, with the wind blowing and snow falling I was blessed with the position of State Fire Marshall and I’d like to take this time to thank God for opening this door in my life, and I look for his guidance while serving in this capacity. I appreciate and thank Governor Greitens for his faith in me to lead the Division of Fire Safety into the future.

My first day on the job was January 13, and I hit the ground running. I was so graciously welcomed by the thirteenth floor team. I have used the old saying several times, “It’s like drinking out of a fire hose.” I am very excited about the future of your Division of Fire Safety. Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – January 2017

Happy New Year! It’s the time of year when some take a few moments to reflect on their lives and decide if adjustments are needed.

While I have shared my New Year resolutions in the past, for the most part I believe resolutions are a personal thing. Most of us recognize those areas in which we have been lacking or those habits we need to change or improve upon. Of course, if we have any doubt, I’m fairly certain we can ask those we love and trust for a list of our flaws.

I know I fell a bit short of my goals this year. I didn’t work out as often as I planned nor did I change my eating habits to include healthier options. But, I did make more time to spend with family and friends, especially our fire service family. Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – November 2016

“It’s all about maintaining focus.” Words recently spoken in a conversation I was having with a friend. Maintaining focus is often difficult. Life has many distractions.

Just last week, there was an extremely important issue concerning home sprinkler systems and a vote to keep them in the residential code. As I support the use of residential sprinklers for many reasons including not only their life safety benefits to the occupants of a home, but also as they relate to the safety of our firefighters, I was trying to maintain focus on the effort to keep residential sprinklers where they belong in the code.

But, with conducting interviews for positions within the Division, making a trip to the Kansas City area to address a recruit class and some fire chiefs, dealing with elevator rules, working on an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, a meeting at the lake and trying to prepare for a brief visit with our children over the weekend; I lost focus on the sprinkler issue. Fortunately for us, Missouri’s fire service and sprinkler advocates were there to step in and successfully champion the cause. Continue Reading →