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District 11 Update – May 2021

Greetings from District 11! I hope all is going smoothly for all the membership and everyone in the fire service! Here we are approaching almost six months of 2021. Hopefully for each of you and your family’s life is returning to a normal like pre covid. But unfortunately, we couldn’t hold the annual convention this spring due to some restrictions still in place, and I appreciate Kearney Fire District for the effort they made to put it on. Now look forward and start planning to attend the 2022 FFAM convention which will be in Washington, Missouri, and what I hear thus far is it is going to be one to attend to make up for two years of cancellations. So stay tuned to the magazine and website as we get details and post them.

The state fair is counting down to a huge event as it’s the bicentennial for the state and big things are in the works. We are still taking applications for people that want to come to experience this unique fire department. Get those applications in by June 1st because this fair is going to be one to be at!

After such a long past year I hope everyone is getting back to in-person department training and are taking advantage of the training I’m seeing the State of Missouri (SEMA), MU FRTI, and local colleges offering. Most are free depending on who’s hosting or the agency teaching. One class that I experienced firsthand was the Fire Service Leadership Enhancement Program that MU FRTI offers annually. What I can say is anyone in a line officer role currently or looking to move up in the line officer position I found this class very informative and will help upcoming personnel. There is so much that I wasn’t aware of and I was able to ask questions. The scenarios and group task made it easy to inquire and get answers from peers from across the state that had more experience than myself. If you can get in on the next application period and have the time to attend you should. I believe everyone will take something away from this course.

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News From District 11 – January 2021

District 11 Director Monty Thompson

A happy new year, and I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday season! Now that 2020 is behind us, let’s look forward and be positive that 2021 will be far better. So with the new year, challenge everyone in your department to set a goal for themselves, including command staff, and set a department goal for the entire organization to achieve in 2021. No matter if you are a volunteer, combination, or career. We all can set goals to improve ourselves and enhance our organization we represent. With hopes that we are on the downward curve of COVID-19, we can get back to face to face training with members of neighboring agencies. I know some departments have limited outside training and some have suspended in house training as well. We all should be the “best boots on the ground” so if we are running with our mutual aid departments we know how they operate and the incident should go smoothly.

In other District 11 news, two fire districts were on Santa’s good list. Smithville Fire Protection District received their new Ford F-550 squad that will respond to medical and wildland fires in calls in the 112 square miles they protect per Chief Cline. In December, Edgerton-Trimble Fire Protection District also received their new Squad 81 Ram 5500 crew cab. It will help fight brush fires and will be used as a medical response. It is equipped with SCBA and structural firefighting tools and auto extrication equipment. Chief Rodney Deckman said the unit will be used in their 61 square miles. It can respond quickly to areas that larger apparatus have difficulty accessing. Both Chief Cline and Chief Deckman stated these new units would assist the district and reduce wear and tear and maintenance of the district’s pumpers currently used on medical calls.

Lastly, let’s talk about those that served before us. One thing that no one should forget, is to pay recognition to them all. Too often they become the old grumpy member or the forgotten retiree. In reality, they set the stonework of what your district or department is today. Some may have been volunteers before the agency ever thought of being a career or combo agency. Let’s not just push them aside and forget their importance to the station. Offer the retirees a cup of coffee or have lunch with the current crews. They lived the life we all are living currently at the station, but most did it for far less money or even free if it is now a career agency. My personal opinion is we can move forward with technology and the cool new rigs but, do not forget where we came from and who helped improve the department or district for yesteryears. Continue Reading →

News From District 11 – November 2020

Greetings from District 11. Hopefully, everyone has had a wonderful year thus far, even though we all have been dealing with the current events and new ways to respond to our citizens we serve.

On October 26, 2020, Director Thompson, Assistant Director Smith, and myself were honored to present Chief White and the Mayview Fire Department with the Fire Department of the Year award. This award goes to a fire department/district that best exemplifies leadership in the fire service through commitment to excellence, progressiveness, and service to their community. The Mayview Fire Department has shown the following values used to determine the winner. Dedication. The department has demonstrated the highest degree of dedication and participation to the citizens they serve and the fire service in general. Including progressive fire suppression practices. Loyalty. The department has demonstrated allegiance to its community and its personnel through improvements in the working environment, equipment, facilities, and training. Productivity. The department members have gone beyond normal expectations to make visible improvements that have enhanced the department’s ability to reduce fire losses. To better serve the community, including public fire prevention programs, inspections, and other public relations activities. Professionalism. The department performs its fire service duties in a manner that exemplifies the competency that reflects the highest standards of the fire service and regularly demonstrates a high level of professionalism to the public. Commitment. The department has made the commitment to its citizens and the neighboring departments to better their working relationships and function well under all circumstances.

It is that time a year again. Time to renew your membership with the FFAM and continue to get the benefits, and be eligible for FFAM grants and perks. Unfortunately, the COVID of 2020 has hindered several member’s abilities to attend conferences and other recruitment drive opportunities. I ask, which is mirrored from every director and their assistants from across the state, please help us serve you. If you or your department have any questions, or have a neighboring department that has questions, please reach out to one of us as we want to be involved. Help every Missouri department/district remember that everyone is invited and encouraged to come to Sedalia for the bi-monthly meetings. We would love to see departments come to interact and become involved. The December meeting is at 9:00 a.m. on the 6th, located at the firehouse on the state fairgrounds. I hope all of you have a safe and wonderful holiday season. If anybody needs anything, please reach out to one of us, and we will be glad to help or answer any questions you or your department may have.

Fire Department of the Year awarded to the Mayview Fire Department.

News from District 11 – March 2020

Greetings from 30,000 feet above our great state of Missouri, as I write this from my airline seat! I hope everyone has had a great start so far in 2020 and everyone had a chance to attend another great Winter Fire School or the Equipment Exposition that the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute put on again in February. I saw many old friends and faces along with many new ones as well. I hope every training officer has had time to create challenging and exciting spring training agendas for their departments. I’m sure many people want to start training outdoors with the nicer weather as we have all been stuck indoors doing tabletop and or powerpoint trainings all winter long. 

There is so much going on state wide and in District 11, where to begin? Well first off lets start with the annual Firefighters Association of Missouri state fire muster competition and annual convention this year in Kearney, MO on May 1-3, 2020. We would like to see a record number of attendees and participants for both the game competitions and banquet dinner along with Saturdays antique to current fire engine displays. If you have a fire truck we would love to see it displayed. Please contact us and get your spot to show your pride and joy. I encourage everyone to talk with members of yours and friends of neighboring department to come and even put together a competition team. Then come enjoy a very elegant night at the banquet where responders throughout the state will be recognized for 2019 achievements and outstanding service. Also a very important business meeting Sunday morning where you can have your voice heard regarding things with the FFAM organization and vote for several important issues including spots within the organization. Each registered department has a voice and we want to hear from their members, whom this organization represents. 

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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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News From District 11 – September 2019

Greetings from the west side. I hope everyone has had a great summer even though myself and Director Thompson have no idea where summer has gone due to it coming and going so quickly. There has been a lot happening  across the state from the Missouri State Fair to the EMS conference, Margaritaville at Lake Ozark and numerous 9/11 stair climbs. Hopefully everyone has or gets to attend one of these events. 

The Missouri State Fair was successful. I would like to thank all the departments and vendors that donated apparatus and various equipment to us for the two week event. This could not be done without your support of our organization and the same thank you goes out to all the people that volunteered their time and skills for the citizens of Missouri. Please, if you missed the fun this year sign up for two days or two weeks for the 2020 fair. Applicants have until June 1, 2020, to submit their application with membership. 

We are beginning to come into brush fire season so this time of year would be a great opportunity to go over the SOG and equipment while we begin to get into cooler temperatures. Also show the new recruits no matter if you’re a volunteer or career that you’ve gotten on board over the summer. So they learn how to operate the brush units and effectively combat a woodland incident. Also don’t forget to show the Indian packs if you still use them. With the cooler evenings coming it would be excellent training to get with your neighboring departments and set up mutual aid evolutions with them before the fun outdoor training ends due to ice and temperatures. 

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News From District 11 – July 2019

Greetings from the western side of the state. I hope everyone is having a good season so far, even though mother nature is being unfair with the rain. Also that everyone had a safe and fun July 4th. There’s been a lot of things going on across the state from summer fire school and fire tactics at the lake, to the July 4th activities within our own districts. A few of the events in District 11 have been the Firefest hosted by Independence 76. There was fun activities and a good turnout of antique fire trucks on display and even pumping master streams from a draft tank. Which was cool to see the old apparatus working as they did when they were new. The second big event was the inaugural, all girls, Catching Fury on June 22 and 29, which was a success. 

What is Catching Fury, you ask? Catching Fury is a preparatory precursor to its big sister: Camp Fury. This one day camp is an immersive experience for 8th and 9th grade girls. This year, women from Kansas City, MO Fire Department, Kansas City, KS Fire Department, Kansas City, MO Police Department, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office, and multiple other agencies came together to give the campers a taste of a day in the life of a firefighter or police officer. Twenty campers ages 13 and 14 experienced a simulated fire, simulated traffic stops, an hour of physical training, police defensive tactics, and bucket rides on a ladder truck. 

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News From District 11 – MAY 2019

Greetings and happy spring hopefully everyone had a great and safe Easter!

Wow where to begin! It has been a very busy beginning to the year so far, from departments all over the state responding to flooding incidents. Now we are responding to severe weather calls, on top of our everyday runs from the simple EMS to complex fire scenes. Always watch everyone’s back while on any of these calls. We can’t help our citizens if we get hurt ourselves.

Convention 2019 is concluded and it was a great turnout for the Friday mixer and Saturday’s formal banquet. I want to thank all the departments that were represented both at the banquet and the firefighter games. Also a big thank you to all the vendors that attended as well. If you couldn’t make it this year, mark your calendars now for the 2020 convention in its 66th year will be held in District 11s backyard as we once again return to Kearney, Missouri. The event planning committee that I’ve talked to are getting a lot of things getting lined up to make this a huge event. I will provide details as they get released.

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