Fire Fighters Association of Missouri

Fire Marshal’s Update – September 2013

As the State Fair came to a close on Sunday, August 18th, it was a reminder that summer too, will soon be over. I am sure I speak for all of us; the unseasonably mild weather during August has been a welcome sight, even though our utility companies may not agree!

A big congratulations and thank you goes out to all those that volunteered their time to serve at the Missouri State Fair Fire Department. There is no doubt your service to those individuals on the fairgrounds made a difference just knowing their personal safety was your mission. Thanks to Chief R.B. Brown for his leadership day in and day out during the fair.

Our weather patterns were notably different than last year which brought us the prolonged drought resulting in numerous natural cover/wildland fires. Although the state has not experienced as many such fires this year, we are beginning to see the northern parts of the state experience severe drought conditions.

Keep in mind that legislation passed this last legislative session, specifically House Bill 28, contained burn ban authority for County Commissions. Section 49.266 states that a burn ban order is appropriate for a county based upon the following conditions: 1) an actual or impending natural disaster which jeopardizes the safety and welfare of the inhabitants, and 2) based upon the U.S. Drought Monitor designating the county in severe, extreme or exceptional drought condition classification. With these conditions met, the county commission may adopt and issue a burn ban order upon determination of the State Fire Marshal.

Unfortunately, the fireworks industry was successful in adding language that limits the burn ban in relation to fireworks. The burn ban can ONLY ban fireworks classified as “missiles and skyrockets”. No burn ban order can ban any other consumer fireworks. As you can see we need to work this upcoming legislative session to propose language changes to this law.

Questions have already been posed as to how this affects municipalities within the county if a county elects to enact a county burn ban. To address these issues, county and city officials are encouraged to work out possible concerns and potential issues before a burn ban need arises.

In relation to the status of our efforts to address worker’s compensation issues, which has proven to be a time consuming process, we continue to move forward. During the first part of September I will be meeting with a number of individuals who have been analyzing your responses to the survey as well as beginning work on a feasibility study. I hope to be able to provide more details by the next newsletter.

Although this has previously been mentioned I want to once again inform everyone of our “new” website link to a fire service training calendar. Our goal is to ensure all training being made available through the various training vendors contracting with the Division are posted on this calendar. I encourage you to frequently visit the site and take advantage of the no-cost training in your areas.

Please join me in welcoming a new addition to the Division’s Training and Certification Program. Ian Graham has filled the Training Technician I position previously held by Tommy Walker. Ian comes to the Division after having served in a supervisory capacity as a Criminal Investigator for Colorado Department of Revenue. Some may remember Ian from a short stint with the Division as a fire investigator in late 2010 and early 2011. Ian too has previous experience as an instructor, as well as regulatory experience which will be beneficial when dealing with IFSAC and Pro Board accreditation processes. Welcome back again Ian!

After nearly 50 years in the fire service Warrensburg Fire Chief Phil Johnston retired at the end of July. Phil served Warrensburg Fire Department as chief since 2004, but began his fire service career in October 1963 in Kern County, California. During his fire service career Phil served as chief with four other fire departments to include Chico, California; Boise, Idaho; Springfield, Missouri; and Little Rock, Arkansas. In the early 1990’s Phil was involved in the development of Missouri’s mutual aid system. I have known Phil for many years and could always count on his support. Phil plans to relocate to Texas to spend time with his grandchildren. We wish Phil many happy years of retirement. Congratulations Phil and thanks for your years of service!

With Phil’s retirement, congratulations are in order for Phil’s replacement. Jim Kushner has been named as Chief of the Warrensburg Fire Department. Jim is a 30 year veteran with the department serving in capacity as Assistant Chief the past three years. We look forward to working with Jim for years to come.

October is soon approaching and with it comes Fire Prevention Week, October 6 – 12. The theme for 2013 Fire Prevention Week is “Prevent Kitchen Fires”. To have a successful campaign, below is a link which provides the fire service with “How to Guides”, media material and safety tips for adults. The National Fire Protection Association statistics show cooking as the leading cause of home fires, with two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries. The tools are available for you and I encourage you to get involved in your community this year during Fire Prevention Week.

Since 1994 the National Association of State Fire Marshals, as part of their Residential Fire Safety Institute project, have recognized fire departments for their fire prevention efforts by awarding the Life Safety Achievement Award to those departments that experienced zero fire deaths during the previous calendar year. For 2012 the following departments are to be congratulated for their prevention efforts.

  • Eureka Fire Protection District
  • Columbia Fire Department
  • Battlefield Fire Protection District Boles Fire Protection District
  • Republic Fire Department Branson Fire and Rescue
  • Rock Community FPD
  • Ft. Osage Fire Protection District
  • Southern Platte FPD
  • Bethany Fire Department
  • Roby Fire Department Bolivar City Fire Department
  • Sullivan Fire Protection District


Until next time….be safe!

Randy Cole,

Fire Marshal