Greetings from the thirteenth floor. Judy and I want to wish one and all a, “Happy New Year.” Our prayers are that everyone stays healthy and happy. We also want to express our gratitude and appreciation for supporting us and the Division of Fire Safety! Each day we pray for your safe keeping and very much appreciate your devotion and daily commitment to serve and protect each and everyone who lives or enters into our great State. Thank you to each firefighter or EMS responder who works 24 or 48 hour shifts along with the volunteer who responds to calls at all hours of the day and night, leaving work, your families at restaurants, ballgames, church, a warm bed, to name a few. I say this a lot wherever I go and when I can… It may be me or Judy who you pull up on needing your help and I expect you to be the, “Best boots on the ground, and leave us better than you found us.” Keep up the good work!
Things here in Jefferson City will become busy with the 34 members of the Senate and 163 members of the House of Representatives returning for the 100th General Assembly. We are looking forward to welcoming the newly elected members who represent you, to Jefferson City. If you have a legislator you would like for us to meet feel free to reach out to me and I would be glad to meet them. Getting to know your local, state and federal elected officials is very important. It means a great deal if they have someone in their area they could reach out to if a question dealing with emergency first responder issue comes up. Please build that relationship and invite them to your fire house. They truly appreciate those interactions!
We closed out the year with one of the highest fire fatality numbers in recent memory. The total number is not available at the present, but our fire investigators have worked over 70 investigations involving fatalities. We will be looking at each of these and analyzing them to see what we as the Missouri fire service could be doing to help prevent these from happening in our communities. One is too many!
I like success stories, and it’s even better when many of you are part of one. The Division joined the Sound the Alarm, Save a Life program. Through a concerted effort from many of you, we have installed almost 34,000 smoke alarms in our family, friends and neighbors homes across our State. Remarkable! Along with replacing existing batteries, and helping families create home escape plans. But there is more work to be done. If you have not joined the movement Please do. Lives depend on it. There have been 23 documented saves within our State since 2015 from these newly installed working smoke alarms. That is something to be proud of! Contact me and we will move mountains to help you join this rewarding project. (573-751-1742)
With a new year it is time to renew your fire department registration with the Division. Many of you have done yours, so, “Thank you!” Matt stated we are at 58% already. Last year we ended the year with 81% of you registering. During your Chief meeting remind everyone about registering with the Division. One thing we have added this year towards the end of the form is the Designation of Beneficiaries (Public Safety Officers’ Benefit PSOB) form. Please print this form off and encourage every one of your firefighters to fill this out, and place it a file which can be located. I can’t express to you how important this small form will be in case you experience the misfortune of a firefighter line of duty death. Please contact me if you have questions.
We appreciated the opportunity that several of the fire chiefs had from Region D who spent the afternoon with Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson along with DPS Director Sandy Karsten touring the Springfield Fire Training facility. Assistant Chief Olan Morelan conducted the tour showing the Governor firefighter equipment. We ended the tour with Governor Parson meeting the Springfield recruit class. We had a great conversation with the Governor on topics such as the struggles of volunteerism in fire service, the importance of health and wellness in combatting heart attacks and job-related injuries, the need for firefighter training funding and getting classes into the rural departments, and the Fire Education Commission. I appreciated the Governor spending time with us and showing his support of the Missouri fire service.
Please note that Firefighters’ Day at the Capitol will be March 6. We have moved the start time this year. Jorgen Schlemeier with the Fire Service Alliance will brief everyone on legislative issues at 9:30 a.m. at the Division of Fire Safety office on the 13th floor of the Jefferson State Office building. The ceremony at the rotunda will begin at 11:30 a.m. and last approximately 30 minutes. Lunch will be provided by the Fire Alliance, back on the 13th floor. This is a great opportunity to come to the Capitol and introduce yourself to your legislator and visit with them. They honestly enjoy having you come and they like introducing you on the House and Senate floors. Also we truly enjoy having you come and visit the 13th floor and meet the Division personnel. Please come!
In closing, thanks for your service! Please contact me if there is anything I or the Division can do for you! “We work for you!”
Remember, IF you know who you are, You will know who you aren’t! God Bless, Stay Safe!
J. Tim Bean
State Fire Marshal
Division of Fire Safety