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President’s Remarks – September 2021

Greetings all! It seems like we waited for months for summer to make its appearance in earnest, but without a doubt, it showed up and reminded us that Missouri summers can certainly get hot and humid in a hurry. I hope each of you has had an opportunity to step back from your daily grind and enjoy time with family and friends.

Speaking of family and friends, did you have the opportunity to stop in and visit or perhaps work at the Missouri State Fair Fire Department? I had the opportunity to visit the fair several times and I am always impressed with the level of service provided and camaraderie that is apparent with our staff that volunteers to take part in this event. There were several new faces in the group this year and from what I could tell they caught on to the process very quickly and it was obvious many new, but likely lifelong friendships were developed. There was an array of food prepared every day by the kitchen staff and their merry band of assistants so there was no chance anyone walked away hungry. Thank each of you for the part you played in making the fair a success. If you didn’t have the chance to volunteer or at least stop in and visit make a note in your calendar for next August so you don’t miss out.

Fire Marshal Bean was present for several days of the fair and spent time alongside our personnel greeting the visitors to the fair and answered questions and assisted whenever possible. In cooperation with his office, demonstrations were given for the public, showcasing the importance of in-home sprinkler systems. What an eye-opener those demonstrations were for many in the crowd. We look forward to working with the Fire Marshal’s office for many years to come as we deliver the fire safety message. Continue Reading →

A Message From The 1st VP – May 2021

This will be my last official rambling as the 1st Vice President. I have enjoyed sharing some thoughts with you over the past few years and I hope you have gained some additional perspective to use as you carry out your service to the citizens of Missouri and those passing through our great state. I appreciate the support I have received and the remarks provided concerning some of my musings.

This edition I want to visit with you about knowledge. We all likely have a pretty good understanding of the concept of what knowledge is so we won’t consult the dictionary for a long definition. How much knowledge is too much knowledge? Does knowledge equate to power? How can knowledge help or hurt an organization? How do we handle the knowledge we have? I am not sure that any person or the members of any organization can ever have too much knowledge. At times an overload of knowledge can slow down a process and may initially inhibit a decision from being made, but in the end, making informed decisions leads to informed actions and is the ideal way to proceed. Many of us have been involved in what I will call “knee-jerk” situations when events happen or information is provided in limited amounts that cause decisions or actions to take place. I would venture a guess if we each thought back to these situations most didn’t work out as planned or served the purpose we intended. Making new policies or other changes in an agency without as much knowledge as possible can often devastate the members and the organization over time. Gathering knowledge can be tedious and time-consuming, but being armed with the most knowledge available allows for better decision-making.

How many times have you either received a new policy or perhaps have seen the results of legislation that was enacted without being based on the most detailed available knowledge? When these types of things take place the intended result may be overshadowed by the negative aspects that were not fully understood at the time of execution. If you follow the legislative process or even if you are part of your department’s policy-setting process you will notice these normally do not get finalized “overnight”. Many steps are taken during these processes in an attempt to get things right and to attempt to foresee the consequences. Unfortunately not every possible result can be predicted, but by gathering the available knowledge and then actually using it in the decision process many pitfalls can be avoided.

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President-Elect Remarks

Greetings! I hope this edition of our organization’s news-filled publication finds you well and ready to enjoy the upcoming summer.

It is my pleasure to acknowledge that as of the May annual meeting I received the nod to be the President of the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri. As you are no doubt aware, our organization has been around since 1954 and has a long-standing reputation of representing all fire service personnel throughout the state and more recently we have added EMS and Emergency PSAP personnel to our ranks. To be designated as the president of such an outstanding organization humbles me and it is an honor for me to be allowed to serve in this capacity.

I am closing out my 45th year as part of the Missouri fire service this summer, serving in both volunteer and career positions, and have witnessed or been a part of many changes. I have also spent time in law enforcement and conducting investigations in the private sector so like most of you I have a varied background to draw from as we embark on this new journey. I will never be one to say “I have done it all and seen it all”, but I have seen and done a few things all of which I believe I can put to some use for you as we continue to move this organization forward.

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A Message From The 1st VP – March 2021

Greetings all! Hopefully, you have not experienced any lasting ill effects from the frigid temperatures we had or the ongoing pandemic. At this point, I am sure you are all getting excited and making those final plans to attend Convention 2021, oh wait, no convention again, thanks COVID-19! With that in mind we will hold the annual delegate meeting on Sunday, May 2, at the Missouri State Fair Fire Department so please plan on attending so you can make your voice heard within the organization.

In this edition let’s talk about sin! Ok, now that I have your attention we aren’t going to discuss sin in detail, but we will talk about one of the seven things commonly referred to in some belief structures as a sin. The seven deadly sins, whether you believe in them or not, are listed as pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. I am sure each of us has experienced some form of these items in our lives whether you were an active participant or just a bystander.

I want to talk about pride. The Merriam-Webster definition is: 1. a reasonable and justifiable feeling of being worthwhile: self-respect. 2. a feeling of being better than others. 3. a sense of pleasure that comes from some act or possession, Parents take pride in their children’s progress. 4. someone or something that makes someone proud, That car is my pride and joy. Now at face value that definition would make you question why it would fall into the category of sin. When you look at that definition I would venture a guess we have each exhibited at least one element included.

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A Message From The 1st VP – January 2021

Welcome to the New Year! I hope everyone had an opportunity to relax a bit during the holidays, and hopefully, you had time you could share with family and friends.

In this edition, I would like to visit with you about change. We all know the basic meaning of change, and we won’t get into that, but we do need to think about how we go about making changes, how we deal with changes, and where changes take us. Without a doubt, the year 2020 tossed more than one change upon each of us on a personnel and agency level. Responses were often modified, gatherings, training, meetings, conventions, family events, and many other things changed over the past several months. For the most part, our industry met the challenges of those changes and took steps to continue providing top quality service to those needing our assistance.

How did you deal with changes that came along with the 2020 pandemic? Did you curl up in a ball and try to will them away, or did you step up and help find solutions without a lot of outward complaining and foot-stomping? I hope you were one of the people who stepped up to make things as good as you could and helped find a better way to provide service to those in need. Continue Reading →

A Message From The 1st VP – November 2020

Well, the one thing I can be sure about this interesting and complex year is, it’s almost over! I hope everyone has made the best of what we have been dealt, and have found ways to conquer the crazy and make some sense out of those things around you daily.

Let’s talk a bit about challenge in this edition. I know that I generally start with a one-word topic and then switch and go in some strange abstract way that makes you shake your head a bit, but hopefully, it does make you think a bit also and evaluate things around you that you can control.

I think without a doubt, everyone has some concept of what a challenge is, and almost everyone has faced a challenge or several during their lifetime. A challenge comes in so many forms it can boggle the mind. They can range from that childhood challenge of not stepping on a crack so you could avoid breaking your mother’s back, to serious things like health issues. That one rings a bell for us all at this point in 2020. Some of us face the challenge with a smile and at about three steps past warp speed. Others that we all know face challenges with a dismal attitude of gloom and doom and look at a challenge as another opportunity to fail.

I hope most of you have had the opportunity to kick off that gloom and doom approach and face a challenge for what it is, just a challenge. When you look around and see the many amazing things that have been accomplished by people who grabbed a challenge by the proverbial horns and made the best out of the situation. Can you even begin to imagine where your life would be if those before you or even you when your challenge arrives, had simply cowered and accepted defeat from the challenge?

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A Message From The 1st Vice President – September 2020

Welcome to fall, or perhaps early spring or late summer or maybe even winter! As crazy as this year has been I am not sure what to prepare for in the coming months and if things continue as they have been it will certainly change no matter what we plan for. We have seen some things change directly for the FFAM with no convention and a modified State Fair Fire Department. I am proud of the way our organization has adapted to the challenges as they have been presented. Hopefully, next year will see us return to our traditions and roots and we will find some normalcy in our activities.

In this edition let’s visit a bit about accountability. What does that mean anyway? One book definition is the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility. Another says accountability refers to an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. A very common application for the fire service accountability is keeping track of all resources and personnel at an incident scene, something we are generally pretty good at.

So if we are good at keeping track of our personnel and resources at our incidents do our agencies or we as individuals also excel at accountability in all other phases of our fire service related service? Are we quick to accept the responsibility for actions taken or for actions not taken? 

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What’s in a Budget

Each year the FFAM receives many financial funds through membership dues, corporate sponsorships, donations, and other funding sources.  The annual amount of income as you could probably guess fluctuates quite a bit dependent on the various funding sources that are not all guaranteed at a given rate.  Many of your agencies, municipal and tax-based districts, generally have a fairly good idea each year what the income and available funds may be.  For those paid subscription agencies you no doubt understand how your funds fluctuate depending on who pays each year to be a member.

You might wonder how this affects the overall functions of the FFAM.  As with any business, agency, organization, or group, it takes financial support to be able to function as the FFAM.  Each year we go through a process of setting a budget to be utilized to get through the year and always try to end up with unused funds to carry on to the next year.  Each committee serving the FFAM is tasked with creating a budget request reflecting what funds they will need to accomplish their particular purpose in support of the overall mission of the FFAM.  Those requests are due by the October FFAM Board of Directors meeting.

Once received the requests are individually considered by the Budget Committee for merit.  At times a follow-up conversation takes place to determine if the request is a “need” or a “want” and alterations are made as appropriate.  Once the details get hammered out the committee creates a proposed budget that is presented at the December meeting of the Board of Directors for adoption. 

Discussion is held at that meeting to make the fine-tuned adjustments that may be needed before the final vote is made to adopt a budget.

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