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.
The 2017 Missouri State Fair has come and gone. Kids of all ages are back in school. I experienced the totality of a total solar eclipse, ran a 5K, celebrated our own Becky Trapani who was awarded Employee of the Month, survived a Pro Board evaluation, and many other extra-curricular activities of 2017.
My hat goes off to everyone who worked and was involved in making the Missouri State Fair Fire Department run and operate like a well-oiled machine. For the ones who don’t know, this is the only all-volunteer state fire department in the nation! All the emergency response vehicles are donated, EMS supplies are all donated, and all the food and drinks for the fire department, and all other public safety personnel who volunteer work hours for the efforts of the Missouri State Fair, are also donated. I appreciate the vision someone had years ago and the dedications of everyone who supported and maintained that vision over the years. Most of all, this would not have been able to happen without the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri (FFAM) Thank you!
Every five years Pro Board, which is an international certifications company, comes and evaluates our training and certification division. It is a very prestigious accreditation for us to have and maintain. By their early observations of us, everything looks very good. I want to commend Deputy Chief Trapani and her training and certification unit for all their long hours and hard work to accomplish this.
October 8-14 is National Fire Prevention Week. The theme for this year is “Every Second Counts. Plan Two Ways Out.” Hopefully, through the different communication avenues we have we can get the message out to the Missouri citizens we serve and protect. You can go to the National Fire Academy’s website and obtain excellent information about Fire Prevention Week.
In the near future the Assistant to Firefighters Grant is coming up. The word I have, at this time, is look for it to be announced early this fall. SAFER and FP&S grants will open late this fall. A suggestion I would make is, start your narrative and gather your information now. That way when it opens you are on top of it.
As your state fire marshal I will lead by example. I have, through out my career, been a strong advocate of physical fitness and education about physical fitness. I will continue to invest in that area in my daily life and encourage others to do so as well. I have ask Jeffery Strawn and Amanda Barnes, who have agreed to help me push and promote health and fitness, along with firefighter cancer education and awareness for the next several newsletters. We feel these are two very critical areas we overlook and it is two of the most frequent killers of those who have careers in the fire service. Please take time to read Jeff and Amanda’s articles. It could save your life!
It is the midnight hour folks! If you have something you want us to get onto the legislative agenda for the 2018 session, please contact me or Fire Chief Greg Brown!
Here’s an update from the Fire Marshal’s office on “Fire Fighter Standards.” To refresh your memory on this topic, we will be introducing language to the legislations in the 2018 session to establish a definition of what a firefighter is in our state. If you research the RSMO 321 Statute, which deals with the fire related issues, you will not find anything that describes what a Missouri Firefighter is, so let’s look at this. If I walk into a fire department and ask the fire chief, “What does it take to become a Missouri firefighter?” Would the Chief pull out a manual and point at a paragraph and say, “Here is what you need to become a Missouri firefighter.”
If I walk into the local EMS district and ask the same question I would hear, “You need to attend a state certification training class for six months and then pass state and national certifications in order to work as an EMT.”
If I walk into the local police or sheriff department and ask, “What do I need to become a law enforcement officer?” The answer would be, “You need to attend a certified state approved law enforcement academy (800 hours), pass certified testing and maintain your yearly 40 hour POST certification.”
Here is my last point. I looked up what it would take for me to become a Missouri licensed barber and this what I discovered; must have a drivers license, proof of recent medical exam, copy of all educational transcripts (if any), two 2”x2” photos, and $25 enrollment fee. Here is the interesting part, during my schooling I must complete 1,000 hours of study, during a period not less than six months, under supervision of a licensed instructor. If I choose to not attend school, I would have to complete 2,000 apprentice hours under supervision.
This “Standard” we are talking about would not put anyone out of business of fighting fires. It will not disqualify you from any line-of-duty benefits. And it will not cause your firefighters, that are not able to physically fight fires but are able to drive trucks or direct traffic, to not be considered a firefighter!
I would ask for any and all feedback on this topic. We want to get it right, because we are that good!
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In closing, I appreciate and am thankful for our Missouri Fire Service, along with law enforcement, EMS, and all of the other public service entities across our great state.
J. Tim Bean
State Fire Marshal