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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 →

Fire Marshal’s Update – September 2016

September is here. With the cool mornings and sunny afternoons, autumn is my favorite time of the year.

I wanted to take a moment to thank the staff of the State Fair Fire Department for the generosity and courtesy shown to Brenda and me as well as all the division staff who worked at the fair. The professionalism of the people working at the fire department never fails to impress me. I often speak of the community found in public safety. It can be seen in full practice by those taking time to stop by the fire department during the fair. Every time I stopped by the firehouse, I saw members of fire service, EMS, law enforcement and more than a few civilians eating, talking or just socializing. Visitors I brought with me to the fair were in awe of how well everyone got along and the level of service provided by our responders and volunteer staff.

In a time when it seems some want to do nothing but complain about public safety personnel, it does my heart good to see the positive interactions between all responder disciplines and the public. It is one of the highlights of my attendance at the state fair.

I also truly enjoy the time we get to spend with what Brenda refers to as our “fire family.” Continue Reading →

Fire Marshal’s Update – July 2016

As I write this, we are headed into a long 4th of July weekend. Dry conditions exist throughout the state. I wanted to take a moment to remind all responders this is a dangerous time of the year.

Hot dry conditions usually equate to many (and multiple) grass and brush fire responses. I ask that you take a few moments to think about your own personal safety. Be sure to take all the precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses and be ready to recognize those same symptoms in those who serve alongside you.

Think about your driving habits as you respond to these calls. Is a wildland fire really worth being involved in a motor vehicle accident? Have you taken the time to make sure you and all your crew are buckled in? Continue Reading →