The Missouri State Fair Youth Livestock Show started with beautiful weather for August. We had staff on hand of 42 volunteers from 24 FFAM member departments each day to manage and care for all the fair visitors and show participants. We had three ALS ambulances, one UTV ALS ambulance, one engine, one rescue, and one brush truck ready to respond during the 264 hours we were in service. The Missouri DMAT team again deployed to assist with patient care and first aid free of charge for the fair visitors and our department staffed the first aid station for walk-ins.
With the Youth Livestock Show being one of the only events this year, our staff had extra time this year to accomplish many duties and training we would normally not have time for during the fair. A group of instructors from the department put together the basic firefighter training on short notice and offered to anyone on the department free of charge to be completed during the fair. We had a total of six instructors and twenty-one participants to assist during the training. There was a mix of classroom training and the practicals to complete each required section of the course. The fairgrounds staff was gracious enough to let us use the facilities on grounds for search and rescue, pump operations, ladder training, and all the skills for completion of the course. The basic course provided new and experienced firefighters a refresher and all participants were able to get valuable training to improve their skills when they return home to their departments.
Many improvements to facilities were accomplished during the fair in dispatch under the direction of Emily Sweet, Evan Clark, Chris Thompson, and Kyler Oliver. The commissioners’ of the State Fair Fire Department approved spending for new dispatch equipment, radios, and computers. Many vendors and individuals donated equipment with a value exceeding $28,000 to our department. Many hours were spent installing all the new equipment before the fair started.
Charlie Peel offered to present a course on DIAL 811, the call before you dig program, to educate all the firefighters of underground utilities. Carissa Thompson presented a program on firefighter health and well-being and suicide awareness for firefighters. Firefighter Down CPR training was taught to show how to assist in the quick removal of gear and how to maintain CPR for better chances of survival. We recognize the need for each member to be proactive in leading for a change in safety and health awareness in our departments. This starts with proactive policies, practicing safest practices, and adequate documentation of exposures. The importance of cleaning up on the scene and reducing the carcinogens on our equipment is becoming more prominent in the fire service. Firefighters learned facts about cancer in the fire service and ways to reduce exposure and risk. These are small but important things that we need to strive to do each call every day to protect us and our families. Cancer is increasing in the number of line-of-duty-deaths but suicide remains the number one killer of firefighters overall. If you ever find yourself in this situation a free hotline is available through the Green Code Campaign by calling 206-459-3020. Please check out and follow the Missouri State Fair Fire Department on Facebook to see the videos and pictures of our activities this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a strain on all emergency agencies in the state and the Missouri State Fair Fire Department is no exception. In the months leading up to the fair, department leadership worked closely with our medical director and other health agencies to put measures in place to prevent the spread and to better equip our department in mitigating any potential medical issue. With the help of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Pettis County EMA, the State Fair Commission, and numerous departments and agencies who donated supplies and equipment, we were able to have PPE available to all personnel. This includes the proper PPE for EMS personnel to treat and transport a COVID-19 patient.
The vendors and departments that donated the equipment and all the people that made the connections to get the equipment here to Sedalia for us to use were again tremendous. The value and service we provide as an organization to the State of Missouri and the fair attendees could not happen without the assistance of the FFAM State Fair Fire Department Committee, officers of the department, and all that come to volunteer their time and energy to make the Missouri State Fair Fire Department a success. Missouri Governor Mike Parsons and Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe both made a stop by the firehouse as well as the Fair Director Mark Wolf and Missouri State Fair Commission Chairman Kevin Roberts to thank us for being here in during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing a needed service to all the attendees. We would ask that if you have never volunteered to come. You have missed out on a great learning experience and we would love to see you in 2021. A big thanks to all who volunteer each year for taking vacation time to make up our department.
August 12-22, 2021, will be the bicentennial of the State of Missouri and we are planning on a great fair.