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News from District 11 – January 2020

Happy New Year from the West-side of Missouri! The Directors of District 11 hope you all had a great and safe holiday season with friends and family. We all know and hear it every year, the “new year, new me,” commitment but how many personally follow through with it more than a month or two? Can we take that saying and expand it to not just ourselves, but how about, “new year, new us.” As a department or district or even just a shift/station. I’ve heard it every January around the firehouse table of what a company wants to improve on, but fails to implement. Let’s change that for 2020. Whether it’s improving the public perception, training habits, daily station life for the career/combination department or the monthly station life of the volunteer districts, etc. 

I challenge every station to set goals and make strides to reach them. Once reached, set another goal to work towards. Some examples could include simple company drills i.e. pumping, followed by drafting, then relay pump to feeding a master stream, gear drills, and RIT training are a few. Public perception could simply include uniformed personnel for public events or when at the station. I am in no way saying badge collar brass and button-down shirts. What looks professional if worn with station pants rather than shorts or jeans. Or clean jeans look more professional with a polo then jeans with rips and holes. Even taking an extra 15 or so minutes to wash and clean the inside the apparatus. Either when getting back from a call or leaving for an event can make a station look outstanding. Especially if you have multiple stations going to the same event. Be the one that shows up clean and ready to present. Not only does it show pride and ownership in your crew and station, but the public will see you take pride in the units their tax money provides and that your crew pays attention to details. 

Another great way to improve public perception, is if you do a big training like an auto extraction tanker shuttle or are fortunate enough to get a house to train in. Invite the news media to come do a story. Let me tell you from experience, I did this personally at a car fire training with a local newspaper that was doing an article. We went to the chief and got permission of course. A quick run down of tactics and how to advance and flow the nozzle then put him in full gear with SCBA and put him on the nozzle, with three senior firefighters, and told him to put the car out. Let him experience that evolution and he was surprised of the gear weight and how cumbersome the movement and nozzle reaction was. We ended up with a great article out of it. Same thing with board or council members, if they’ve never interacted with the department/district. Get them out there. That’s the best way to curb the negative perception that fire personnel do nothing but sit around. That would be a great goal to obtain in 2020, because sites like hitting it hard from the yard does not do our industry any favors. It unfortunately feeds the career vs. volunteer mentality that I would like to see erased, since we all do the same job. Some are granted to collect a check, while others do it for free. My beliefs are that 90% of the volunteers do it for the correct reasons and not those we see on the negative media sites. 

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A Message from the 1st Vice President – January 2020

Well by now we are all already busy with our 2020 projects and life happenings. I hope everyone had the opportunity to connect with friends and family and offer assistance to your communities during the various holidays closing out last year.

Let’s talk about a new year and new things in this edition. Since we are after the “official” setting of your New Year’s resolutions this hopefully will be something you can work out that will be more easily obtainable. The normal resolutions seem to deal with weight loss, less tobacco use, less alcohol, more time with family, less stress at work and various other related topics. The reality is those resolutions often fall by the wayside within a short time, but we will resolve in 2021 to do a better job at addressing those issues.

So let’s talk about some “new” things that you can work on. Have you sought out any new training over the last year or years? If not, maybe this is the year to do so. None of us is ever totally prepared for all aspects of this profession no matter how long we have been around. With this in mind how about we each take a few extra minutes and seek out and complete some new training. Knowledge is never a bad thing and in this profession it might just be something that keeps you alive. There are numerous opportunities out there whether located within striking distance of your location or perhaps on that crazy thing that got invented called the internet. It is amazing how many things are available online that are useful. Just remember not all online resources are credible. So be careful out there and being able to attend face-to-face training is an even better avenue.

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Santa Visits Knob Noster Fire Department

The Knob Noster Fire Department (KNFD) held its Annual Santa Comes to Town event Saturday, December 14, 2019. During this event KNFD transports Santa all over town delivering gifts to bright eyed and smiling children, as well as adults. Gifts are furnished by the parents of each child.

KNFD started this tradition in 1998 with old Engine 1 and a very short list of deliveries. 2019 has been our best year so far with 56 deliveries within the City Limits of Knob Noster. KNFD would like to also wish our brothers and sisters across the state a very Merry Christmas and the best for a prosperous and safe New Year. Be safe everyone.

A Message from the 2nd Vice President – January 2020

Greetings, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The FFAM continues to be busy as always representing the Missouri fire service all over the state. The FFAM has attended many events across this state which included several retirements of many fire service chiefs.

On December 4, 1st Vice President Larry Jennings, Assistant Director Josh Koepke, and myself traveled to Jefferson City to attend the retirement ceremony of Assistant Fire Marshal Greg Carrell. Greg has been in the office for 33 years, serving not only as the assistant fire marshal for the state but also as our fire marshal for several years. Greg has been icon for the Missouri fire service for many years and has been a great instructor to us the young generation. Thank you Greg for what you have done over the years, you will be greatly missed.

On December 20, 1st Vice President Larry Jennings, Director Joe Vaughn, Assistant Director Jonathan Evans and myself traveled to Clinton to attend the retirement ceremony of Fire Chief Leo Huff who served the department for 46 years. Chief Huff had gone thru the ranks of the department starting out as a firefighter. He started the emergency medical services for the department and also got the department a new ladder truck. Thank you Chief Huff for what you have done for the Missouri fire service and the citizens of Clinton, you will be missed.

Later that day I traveled to the Lee’s Summit Fire Department to help with their annual boot drive that helps needy families in the Lee’s Summit area. In the three days the department held the boot drive, the men and women of the IAFF Local 2195 and its Chief Officers of the Lee’s Summit Fire Department raised a new record of $31,642. They were greatly humbled by the generosity of the community. Great job Lee’s Summit fire, I am proud to be a part of this team.

Lee’s Summit Fire Department raised a new record of $31,642
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History’s Corner – November 2019

I really doubt that very many readers of the FFAM newsletter have to be reminded that Hannibal is one of our states oldest and most famous towns. From the time most of us were kids we read the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in school and learned those iconic stories were based on things that took place in this little village on the Mississippi River. 

Moses D. Bates founded Hannibal in 1819. It soon became a principal docking port for steamboats, flatboats and steamers traveling the upper Mississippi. In 1845 Hannibal had achieved city status and the following year the Hannibal Fire Department came into existence.

Many well-known individuals have called Hannibal home, including William Lear, the designer of the Lear jet. Also counted among the famous sons are Congressman William Henry Hatch and Navy Admiral Robert E. Coontz.

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Ste. Genevieve FD Celebrates 125th Anniversary

With the department’s new Rosenbauer Ladder Truck parked behind them, Ste. Genevieve Fire Department Chief Ken Steiger, Assistant Chief Mick Schwent, Mayor Paul Hassler and State Fire Marshal J. Tim Bean spoke about the importance of volunteer fire departments and the strides the Ste. Genevieve department has made at a 125th anniversary celebration at the fire house on October 13.

Schwent, who served as fire chief from 1998 to 2015, gave a summary of the history of firefighting in the city. The department was established in 1894 but records of fire related history have been found back to the early 1800’s.

The trucks, equipment and firehouse were available for the public to tour. Demonstrations of a ladder truck rescue and extrication were given after the ceremonies.

The ceremony began with a Welcome of the crowd by Chief Steiger followed by a moment of silence to honor former firefighters, especially Stanley Schwent Sr. and David Grass Jr., both of whom died in the line of duty.

“It takes a lot of cooperation on many levels to be successful,” Steiger said, after welcoming the crowd. “One of the most important working relationships we have is with the city. I believe right now we have a very good relationship with our city.” Mayor Hassler agreed the relationship was good. He said he fears citizens often take volunteer efforts by the firefighters and others for granted.

Fire Marshal Bean also spoke on the importance of the volunteer fire departments and the difficulties in finding volunteer staff. Bean also commended the department on the progress made over the years.

The ceremonies ended with a couple of special service awards and thoughts from Chief Steiger on the direction the department is heading for the future.

Johnson County FPD #2 New Apparatus

Johnson County Fire Protection District #2 recently took delivery of two new apparatus.  Engine 551 is an E-One Mini Pumper that will be serving out of Station 5 and Brush 515 is a Ford F-350 that will be serving out of Station 1.

South Central Buchanan County FPD Update

On August 24, the South Central Buchanan County Fire Protection District held an open house for its new fire station in Faucett, MO. The new firehouse had been under construction since the district patrons passed a levy in April 2018. The 12,000 square foot, 6 bay fire house was occupied by the fire department in early June, 2019. 

South Central Buchanan County Fire Department protects approximately 80 square miles, including 12 miles of interstate highway in Buchanan County. The Department responds to approximately 350 calls for service per year providing fire protection, EMS first responder and hazardous materials operation response. 

Programs and games for the public were provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Buchanan County Sheriff Department, St. Joseph Communications Center, Buchanan County EMS and the South Central Buchanan County Fire Department. An estimated 250 patrons enjoyed good weather, learned more about the Fire Department and walked away with some safety tips.

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