Fire Fighters Association of Missouri

A Message from the 2nd Vice President – NOV 2018

Greetings… Wow, where has the year gone! It is already November and before we know it Christmas and the New Year will be here.

The FFAM board and its committees are continuing to represent the Missouri fire service not only in Missouri but also at the national services in Colorado Springs, CO, and Emmitsburg, MD. Some of our board members have also been representing the FFAM as members of the Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team with the LODD in El Dorado Springs, Missouri.

As you can see the board is working for you, the membership. Speaking of membership, the membership packets for renewal are due to be mailed at any moment, so be looking in your mailbox for this packet.

In this newsletter you will read about Assistant Director Josh Koepke from District 11, Kansas City FD, as he traveled to Colorado Springs and attended the National IAFF Memorial Service. Please look at his article as he talks about this experience and the photos that he took. Thanks Josh for representing the FFAM at this event, we do really appreciate it. 

I recently traveled to the National Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, MD, along with members of the Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance team. We served as family escorts for our fallen brothers from Missouri. I served as an escort with Fire Chief Gordon Fowlston of Riverside for the family of Jeff Sanders of the Mayview Fire Protection District. Captain Brain Schowengerdt of South Metro Fire Protection District served as the escort of the family of John Kemper of the St Louis Fire Department. In attendance for the weekend was our Fire Marshal Tim Bean and his wife Judy. Tim was only of a few of the State Fire Marshals in attendance. This speaks volumes that our fire marshal cares about Missouri firefighters. Thank you Tim for caring for the Missouri fire service.

While we were in Emmitsburg we learned about the LODD in El Dorado Springs. We were saddened to hear of the passing of Firefighter Russell H. Hayes. Firefighter Hayes was killed as a result of an apparatus accident for a required pump test. The Missouri Fire Service Firefighter Funeral Assistance Team responded to this incident and helped with the services under the command of Captain Zach Jones of the Salisbury Fire Department. The FFAM was represented as Director Larry Jones, Assistant Director Shelby Hoena, Assistant Director Jonathan Evans, and Assistant Director Harriett Vaucher responded as members of the team. Thank you for your service in helping our fallen brother. I know the department appreciated it as well as the community.

On October 19 and 20, The Missouri EMS Funeral Assistance along with Supporting Heroes hosted a PSOB class to learn about the benefits that families deserve if their loved one is killed in the LODD. A table top training with both the fire and EMS teams planed a funeral and burial, and even had a banquet that night. Thanks goes to Assistant Director Greg Wright for hosting the training, also thanks goes to Director Larry Jones, Assistant Director Jonathan Evans, Assistant Director Glenn Dittmar, Assistant Director Janet Cain and Fire Marshal Tim Bean for your attendance. The FFAM is committed to having a voice in helping our fallen and helping with this training for future members.

Concordia Fire Protection District hosted an open house on October 13, in observance of Fire Prevention Month and to raise funds to get a new brush truck. They had local vendors come in and sell their products. Meyer Motors did a DriveOne opportunity, KN Photos donated plastic fire helmets for the kids, Game Day trophy had a shirt fundraiser, Salida Gunshop donated a riffle for a fundraiser, Thrivant Financial donated the food for a bbq lunch, and KMMO radio did broadcasts at the event. The event was well attended and from what I have heard they raised close to $5000-6000 for a new brush truck. Congratulations Concordia on a job well done!

Before we know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here. We will want to deep fry our turkeys and have Christmas trees in our homes. The following are safety tips for both. The turkey safety tips come from State Farm Insurance and the Christmas tree tips come from the NFPA.

For Thanksgiving

If you plan to deep-fry your holiday bird, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and take these precautions to protect yourself, your guests and your home:

  1. Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
  2. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
  3. Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  4. Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it’s in use.
  5. Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
  6. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
  7. Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that’s 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
  8. Never leave fryers unattended.
  9. Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
  10. Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  11. Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep an “ABC” or grease-rated fire extinguisher close by. Do not to use water or a garden hose on a fire related to Turkey Fryers.
  12. Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
  13. Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  14. Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
  15. Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey..

For Christmas

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer.

Picking The Tree 

• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing The Tree

• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.

• Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

• Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting The Tree

• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.

• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect. 

• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

• Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

On behalf of the FFAM and it directors, I would like to say Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all. Until next time, Stay safe!

Grant Oetting 
2nd Vice President FFAM