Archive for May, 2016

Job Opening – Firefighter I – Garden City Fire Department

garden city logo

The City of Garden City is accepting applications to fill Firefighter I positions as well as to establish a future hiring list. A firefighter will respond to fires, injury accidents, hazmat incidents, fire alarms and other assigned incidents. They will also be required to conduct company inspections, test fire hydrants and be involved with public education. Firefighters will be required to work 24 hour shifts with an average workweek of 56 hours.
In order for applicants to be considered for this position, candidates must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, valid drivers license and a Firefighter I certification.
Benefits include health insurance options through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, paid vacation days, paid sick leave, 2 paid personal days per year, paid holidays and enrollment in Kansas Police and Fire Retirement (KP&F). The salary range is $32,640 to $48,960.
Fire department staff is required to live within 15 miles of the city limits of Garden City.
After a review of the applications, the qualified applicants will be invited to participate in a written test. Upon passing the written test applicants will be scheduled for an oral interview board. Any offers of employment are conditional upon passing all additional tests and screenings to include a doctors physical, background investigation and a drug screening.
Apply at the City Administration Center, 301 N 8th St, Garden City, KS 67846 or submit application online at


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Job Opening – Fire Safety Trainer – KS Fire & Rescue Training



Auto req ID 6332BR
Posting Title Fire Safety Trainer
Position Number 00206181, 00206182, 00206189, 00206366, 206367, 01198849
Department CED-KS Fire & Rescue Training
No. of Positions 5
Location/Division Lawrence
FTE .2 -.4
Reg/Temp Regular
FLSA Status Nonexempt
Employee Class U-Unclassified Professional Staff
Work Schedule Part time as needed, 8-16 hours per week
Job Family EducationalSuport&Delivery-KUL
Conditions of Employment Contingent on Funding
Position Overview The University of Kansas (KU) is a member of The American Association of Universities and is classified as a Research University I by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Research. As a center for scholarship and research, KU has 29,000 students and 2,000 faculty members at its main campus in Lawrence, Kansas, the KU Edwards campus in Overland Park, the Medical Center in Kansas City and a branch medical school campus in Wichita. For more information, please visit the University’s website at

KU Professional & Continuing Education, headquartered on the Edwards campus, operates in a self-supporting business environment while aligning with KU’s academic, research and public service missions. With a staff of approximately 100 in three locations, 1,000 education events are offered annually to more than 50,000 students. Professional & Continuing Education works collaboratively with all KU academic schools and departments to provide outreach programming. Professional & Continuing Education programs serve all 105 Kansas counties, 50 U.S. states, and 49 countries. Types of programs provided are research conferences, post graduate continuing education, professional certification, workforce and economic development, state and local government, law enforcement, and fire and rescue training.

The Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute is a unit of KU Professional & Continuing Education. Housed on the Lawrence campus, the Institute was created by the Kansas legislature to train Kansas firefighters in 1949. The Institute serves fire departments and firefighters through a “traveling instruction service” that provides 500 training events per year potentially reaching every community and every county in Kansas.

Job Description 60% – Drive Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute vehicles to deliver training props to class locations, coordinate set up of props, and assume the role of lead instructor/coordinator for the training. This duty includes confirmation of training schedules for individual classes assigned by the Institute with the local fire department and coordinating appropriate local fire department support needed for the scheduled course.

30% – Coordinate and teach individual courses and events as assigned and approved by the Director of Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute or his/her authorized representative. Coordination includes supervision of other instructors.

5% – Complete and submit appropriate course documentation as directed by Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute policies.

5% – Due to limited staff, all personnel must perform a variety of duties that may fall outside of their position description. This position will also be required to perform other duties as assigned by the Director or his/her designee.

Required Qualifications

A Kansas Class A Commercial Driver’s License with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement or the ability to obtain license within four months of employment.
1 year experience coordinating projects and supervising co-workers assigned to the projects.
5 years of progressive experience conducting/providing fire service training.
National Certification as a Fire Service Instructor I or the ability to certify within 4 months of employment.
National Certification as a Fire Fighter 1 or the ability to certify within 4 months of employment.

Special Requirements

This position is based in Lawrence, Kansas. Persons in this position are not eligible for travel reimbursement or wages for traveling to or from Lawrence to perform assigned duties.
In-state and limited out-of-state travel is required in this position. This position is frequently required to work a non-traditional schedule (including evenings and weekends).
Federally mandated alcohol and controlled substance testing is required as a condition of employment for those employees possessing Commercial Drivers Licenses and assigned duties of driving semi-trucks. Employees (in these positions) are subject to any of the following types of alcohol and controlled substance tests: pre-duty, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, return-to-duty, and follow-up.
This position requires the ability to perform strenuous tasks associated with coupling and uncoupling semi-trailers, and setting up training props. These activities include having to pick up heavy objects in excess of 100 pounds and other heavy objects mounted on wheels and skids. These items must typically be moved and set up with limited assistance from other instructors and without the assistance of mechanical devices.
Persons in this position may periodically participate in live fire training exercises. Successful candidates must be physically capable of performing firefighting functions and being fit-tested into self-contained breathing apparatus.

Preferred Qualifications

3 years’ experience in a state fire training system as a part-time or full-time instructor.
10 years of progressive fire service experience (including the training experience sited in the required qualifications section).
Demonstrated understanding of National Fire Fighter Certification systems, certification requirements and the relationship between National Certification and Training.

Position Requirements:

Considerable in-state and limited out-of-state travel is required in this position. Travel related to this position may be required from one to five days per week. This position is routinely required to work a non-traditional schedule (including evenings and weekends).

Persons in this position will be required to participate in live fire training exercises. Successful candidates must be physically capable of performing firefighting functions including requirements related to the use of and fit testing into Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus as per Kansas Department of Labor regulations. Lifting of heavy materials and training props up to 100 pounds is required in this position. Successful candidates must be capable of lifting and moving teaching kits, firefighting equipment and setting up training props.

Critical thinking skills and the ability to quickly adapt new concepts and technical fire service information into new and existing courses is required. Employees need to be facilitators, leaders, instructors and have a high level of empathy for the challenges of the modern fire service. As a State Fire Training organization, the Institute is expected to help lead change in the fire service through training and education. Employees of the Institute must demonstrate a customer friendly attitude, flexibility, and a strong desire to help keep the Kansas fire service well trained/educated and highly skilled.
Additional Candidate Instruction Please include a resume and a cover letter addressing how you meet the required qualifications, and the names and contact information to three references with your online application.

Deadline for applications is June 12, 2016.
Contact Information to Applicants Melissa Cole,
Advertised Salary Range $25.00 per hour
Application Review Begins 13-Jun-2016
Disclaimer The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information and retaliation in the University’s programs and activities. Access to information regarding equal opportunity and diversity worksite posters is available at or you may contact 785-864-4946 or for alternate access options. Any inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies should be directed to: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY

More Info


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

PFD given new equipment — Gear to help in community, region

By Michael Stavola
Pittsburg Morning Sun – May 27, 2016

Pittsburg Fire Chief Mike Simons looks at the trailer and equipment purchased with a Department of Homeland Security grant at the Fourth Street station on Friday. Photo by Michael Stavola

Pittsburg Fire Chief Mike Simons looks at the trailer and equipment purchased with a Department of Homeland Security grant at the Fourth Street station on Friday. Photo by Michael Stavola

The newest equipment in Pittsburg Fire Department’s Fourth Street location will benefit the community and region at large, in the event of a natural disaster.

The $88,000 truck and trailer combination filled with $66,000 of equipment is still awaiting a radio, but was put in service two weeks ago thanks to grant money from the Department of Homeland Security. Fire Chief Mike Simons said this is the latest installment of equipment to a fire department in Kansas Task Force 4.

“Not only do we get equipment, we also get some exercise (training) funding,” he said, adding a training session can be between $30,000 and $35,000.

There are eight task forces in Kansas. Task Force 4 is made up of seven fire departments — Pittsburg, Parsons, Chanute, Fort Scott, Coffeyville, Neodesha and Iola.

Parsons and Chanute were the first to get “caches” of equipment, Simons said. PFD’s began receiving equipment in 2015 with the truck and trailer being nearly finished earlier this month.

The caches all have electronics, ropes, breathing gear, breaching gear and equipment to stabilize a structure, but there are also specifics.

Parsons has additional gear for trench rescue, Chanute for swift water rescues and Pittsburg for high angle rescue and confined spaces, he said. Task forces in larger areas are able to offer those services with a single department.

“But us, being in a rural area, there is not a single department in our region that has the capability to do all of this,” Simons said.

Each of the departments in Task Force 4 can be called on by the state in the case of an emergency or self-deploy, Simons said, and all the equipment can be used locally.

Simons is part of Homeland Security’s regional council which allocates the grant money. He said PFD became involved with the task force about seven or eight years ago.

The task force was formed as part of a response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he said.

Task Force 4 represents 12 counties. PFD currently has 11 firefighters certified for Task Force 4 with 10 more to be certified later this year. All of Task Force 4 trains together regularly.

“It’s almost like we are big department,” he said. “We work well together.”


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Motorcycle Slides Under Semi; Catches Fire

KSAL – May 27, 2016

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salina fire 5272016b

A motorcycle rider was injured Friday afternoon when he slid his bike underneath a flatbed trailer attached to a tractor-trailer truck, and came to rest between two sets of wheels.

Salina Police Officer David Villanueva told KSAL News at the scene that the truck and trailer were headed west on Gold Road, making a left hand turn to head south on 9th Street toward Interstate 70. Two motorcycles were headed north on 9th Street in the left hand lane, or passing lane.

One of the motorcycles went into a long skid, went down onto its side, and slid underneath the trailer. The rider slid away from the motorcycle, and ended up partially underneath the trailer, between two sets of wheels.

The motorcycle rider was transported by EMS to Salina Regional Health Center. He was transferred to a Wichita hospital.

The motorcycle rider, whose name was not immediately available at the scene, was not wearing a helmet.

According to Villanueva, as the motorcycle was being moved to be towed away, it caught fire. Gas leaking from a tank ignited.

An investigation is underway to determine if the truck or the motorcycle was at fault, and if speed played a factor in the crash.

The crash happened Friday afternoon, just north Interstate 70, at the intersection of Gold Road and North 9th Street.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Pizza Hut Makes Special Deliveries

By Adam Coulter
KSAL – May 27, 2016

pizza hut

As severe weather has continued throughout Central Kansas this week, the Abilene Pizza Hut at 1703 N. Buckeye has made an offer to help those in need. The restaurant is offering free buffets to EMS technicians, firefighters, and other emergency responders.

General Manager Shawna Boller tells KSAL News the idea to help those in need initially came from looking at pictures and posts on Facebook. “I was trying to figure out how we could give back as a community,” she said. “A lot of times when people are displaced and things happen, food is a major concern and that’s what we do. We can provide food and drinks.”

In addition to the invitation to dine in, the restaurant is also keeping busy with orders and deliveries to those working out in areas where homes and buildings were damaged and destroyed. “Between Abilene, Chapman, Enterprise, and Solomon, we have a great, small community system,” Boller adds. “We all help each other when things happen.”

On Thursday morning alone, 30 pizzas were ordered, picked up, and delivered throughout Dickinson County. Boller also planned to make several more pizzas on Friday and drop them off to people continuing to clean up debris in the area.

The invitation for the free buffets was offered through Saturday, but Boller says she’ll extend the offer if needed. “I’m still going to go after that,” Boller said. “As long as they’re out there, we’re here.”

EMS technicians, firefighters, and other emergency responders are asked to call ahead if they plan to dine in at the Abilene Pizza Hut restaurant.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Barn fire under investigation

By Chuck Samples
KVOE – May 27, 2016

Photo by Bruce Rosenbloom

Photo by Bruce Rosenbloom

Video 435

No injuries were reported after a barn was destroyed by fire north of Emporia on Thursday evening.

The call of a structure fire near the intersection of Kansas Highway 99 and Road N came in to Lyon County Dispatch around 7 pm. Emporia Fire Capt. Eron Steinlage says crews from Emporia and Americus responded, finding a shed was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Firefighters worked through steady rain to get the fire out quickly. The cause is officially under investigation.

7:45 pm Thursday: Rural Lyon County barn heavily damaged by fire

Fire is destroying a barn about seven miles northeast of Emporia.

Shortly after 7:00 PM, Lyon county dispatch received a call of a structure fire at 2389 Road N. When crews from Americus and Emporia arrived, they found fire damaging a barn at that address.

There are currently no reports of injuries.

7:05 pm Thursday: Fire reported between Americus and Reading

Two area fire departments are responding to a call of a house fire in rural Lyon County.

Firefighters from Emporia and Americus were called out to the 2300 block of Road N, along Kansas Highway 99 between Americus and Reading, right around 7 pm.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Large truck overturns on its side on 191st Street

Gardner News – May 27, 2016

Photo by Larry Byers. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Larry Byers. Click on photo to view full-size image.

A loaded semi-trailer truck loaded with industrial mowers flipped on its side just west of Montrose and 191st St. on the far east side of Edgerton last Wednesday afternoon, May 25. The truck’s driver escaped injury. The vehicle toppled onto the front yard of a private residence. Johnson County Fire District No. 1 personnel responded and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department investigated. The truck’s driver reportedly lost control after he was crowded off the edge of the pavement on 191st Street by an oncoming vehicle. There is no paved or graveled shoulder along the roadway.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Tuesday fire damages Independence home

Montgomery County Chronicle – April 28, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 27, 2016

Fire destroyed a portion of a home in the Woodland View subdivision south of Independence on Tuesday afternoon.

Bill Caflisch, chief of the Independence division of the Montgomery County Rural Fire Department, said the fire occurred at 1779 Overlook shortly before 4:30 p.m. Upon arrival, firefighters battled flames and smoke primarily in a kitchen area. The fire spread to an outer wall and also into the attic space. He said damage to the kitchen was considerable; smoke and water damage was prevalent throughout the house.

After a preliminary investigation, Caflisch said the fire is believed to have been electrical in origin.

No injuries were reported. Firefighters from the Independence, Liberty and Dearing divisions of the Montgomery County Rural Fire Department and Independence Fire Department responded to the fire.

According to records at the Montgomery County Courthouse, the property is owned by James E. Weber and Rachel L. Thompson.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Eric Alan Jones


Eric Alan Jones, 56, of Lincoln, KS, died Thursday, May 19, 2016, in Lincoln. Eric was born in Lincoln, on November 9, 1959, to Larry and Charlene (Lonberger) Jones.

Left to celebrate his life include: his parents; brother, Randy (Karla) Jones, of Salina; sister, Lisa (Jim) Wiebke, of Lincoln; nephews, Wynter Wiebke and Matt Jones; and niece, Mariah Jones.

Eric graduated from Lincoln High School and NCKVT in Beloit with a degree in Diesel Mechanics. During his high school years he and his brother Randy worked on his grandparents, Delmont and Avanelle Jones custom harvesting crew cutting wheat from Texas to North Dakota. Following graduation he worked for Halliburton Services in Great Bend for 8 years as a diesel mechanic. In 1991, he returned home where he led the farming and mechanics operation on the Jones Farm. Erics creativity and natural ability to fix anything was rivaled by none. He was a first responder EMT and a member of the Barnard Volunteer Fire Department. His hobbies included guitars, motorcycles, guns and fishing. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and loved taking his boat to the lake with fishing buddies.

Funeral service: 11:00 A.M. Monday, May 23rd; Hall Chapel. Private interment in Prairie Grove Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials may be made to Barnard Lions Club Scholarship Fund.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Fire causes estimated $200,000 in damage at Hutchinson church

KAKE – May 27, 2016

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Video 851

An early morning fire ripped through the interior of Crossroads Christian Church in Hutchinson Friday.

Hutchinson firefighters say it was an electrical fire.

They extinguished the flames just before 6:00 am and managed to save the church from being a complete loss. While the building is still standing with few exterior effects from the fire, the interior suffered major damage. It is estimated to be around $200,000 in damage.

Crossroads Christian Church is located at 1410 N Monroe in Hutchinson. The effort to fight the fire caused several road closures in the area.

KAKE’s Bryan Ramsdale reports a member of the church had gone inside around 4:00 am in order to look for an appliance to borrow. He smelled smoke and reported the fire, allowing firefighters enough time to save the structure.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Storm chasers get incredible 360 degree view of tornado strike in Kansas

By Scott Sistek
KOMO News – May 26, 2016

Video 1235

A storm chase team in Kansas has managed to accomplish a pretty rare feat: Get a new 360-degree camera right into the path of an approaching tornado.

Conner Healey and Eric Brown with were tracking the tornado as it approached I-70 west of Chapman, Kansas Wednesday evening. They placed their 360 camera into the path, the drove away to a safe distance.

You see the tornado approach the camera, finally getting so close the camera gets picked up and tossed off into the fields. The team returned later to recover the camera and the video, but it wasn’t easy.

Healey, a meteorology student at the University of Oklahoma, said their day didn’t start off so great. He and his chasing partner Eric Brown had missed chasing all of the tornadoes around Dodge City, Kansas on Tuesday after their GPS got them lost on a Kansas ranch. After sleeping in their truck for the fifth straight night, they began Thursday in Wichita noting a storm on the horizon. But as they began to head toward it, their truck suffered a flat tire.

“And it’s like, ‘Great. This is how our week is going,’ ” Healey said.

After fixing the flat, they decided to follow the storm.

“We felt like we had nothing to lose at this point,” he said. ” Just go for it.”

They continued into Abilene when a tornado formed about 10 miles away.

“Now, we both freaked out,” Healey said. “This was one of the most perfect tornadoes I had seen in my life. I looked at Eric and said, ‘We have to deploy today.’ ”

Their project to get the 360 degree camera into a tornado’s path was in its infancy. Their probe — essentially sheet metal filled with concrete with a 360 camera barricaded in HVAC ducting (“It’s very high school shop-esque,” Healey said) had only been on two chases before and neither time got close enough to a tornado to deploy.

This time, Healey and Brown got within about a half mile of the tornado and shadowed the funnel for a while. Then the tornado turned and began drifting their way.

“We hopped up on I-70 and were freaking out because the tornado was coming right at us,” Healey said. “I kept looking at it, and — it is going to definitely cross the road here. We got out of our truck, put up the probe as quick as we could and drove away.”

He said they got about a quarter mile away past an overpass then turned around to film the tornado.

“(The tornado) got bigger and we filmed it as it went over the probe,” Healey said.

Where’s the Camera?

When the two came back to where the probe had been, at first all they could find was damage — evidence the tornado had went through that very spot. Eventually, they found the probe on the other side of the road.

“Holy crap, there’s the probe,” Healey said he shouted upon finding it.” The probe had two large dents — signs of a direct hit!

But then his heart sank — the camera was no longer attached.

“I just got once-in-a-lifetime footage and we can’t find the camera,” he said. “I grab a flashlight and I’m walking up and down the median and up the side and road looking for it.”

He said they found a stick driven into the road and when he went to go look at it, he spotted a small red light flashing in the grass.

“There is the camera, buried in the grass — still recording,” Healey said. “At that point, we freaked out. That is probably the most crazy I have ever gone on the side of a highway. A state trooper was heading by and saw me freaking out on the side of the road and stopped to make sure we were OK.”

‘It was surreal’

“When we saw the video, it was surreal — I couldn’t believe what I was looking at,” Healey said. “I never thought we’d get it on the first try. We had to be incredibly close to do so but I don’t regret a thing. It was definitely a risky day but we were confident enough in our ability to evaluate the risk and knew when to drive away that we were comfortable with it.”

Healey and Brown were in Manhattan, Kansas Thursday morning already trying for a second hit.

“Went to Home Depot (Thursday) morning, got some super glue, fixed the probe and we’re trying again,” he said.

90 minute long tornado

The Associated Press reports the tornado was on the ground for about 90 minutes and damaged or destroyed 20 rural homes in the area, but there were no reports of anyone hurt. The tornado just barely managed to miss the town of Chapman.

“It’s amazing how this tornado missed those centers of population,” said Paul Froelich, Dickinson County fire district one chief. “And we had outstanding early warning on this. … People knew well in advance of this storm. Consider also, this is Kansas. This is Tornado Alley.”

The Storm Prediction Center says most tornadoes last less than 10 minutes and stay on the ground for about 3 1/2 miles. Wednesday’s storm covered about 23 miles between Niles and Chapman, but was moving so slowly it lasted an hour and a half and was so isolated that other storms never interrupted its air flow.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters Equipment Stolen From Car

Salina Post – May 26, 2016

A Saline County volunteer firefighter had his fire fighting equipment stolen from his car Wednesday evening.

Jeremy Prater said the bag filled with his fire equipment including helmet, turnout coat and light for helmet was taken from the backseat of the car while it was parked in the parking lot of the Kwik Shop at 1600 S. 9th between 7-10 p.m. Loss is estimated at $1,610.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Event encourages families to keep it a safe summer

By John Robinson
Emporia Gazette – May 26, 2016

Photo by John Robinson. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by John Robinson. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Emporia may have been in the midst of a tornado watch, but at the Lyon County Fairgrounds children were fishing, riding jet skis and helping put out fires, all in the name of learning how to “Keep It a Safe Summer.”

“KISS is geared at safe and educational activities that your child can do in the summer,” Lyon County Extension Agent Rhonda Gordon said. “We have 49 vendors from A to Z — Camp Alexander to the Emporia Zoo — and everything in between.”

Children were encouraged to visit at least 10 of the booths in order to qualify for the chance to win a prize at the end of the night. Gordon said she hopes the experience helps give parents ideas for summer activities.

“If you need your child signed up for an event this summer to keep from hearing ‘I’m bored,’ then this is the place to be,” she said.

Richard Gould, battalion chief with the Emporia Fire Department, was one of the representatives at KISS. The fire department had a station which let children try their hand at handling the hose from a fire truck.

Gould said the most important thing to remember when dealing with fire is to make sure it is fully extinguished.

“If you do have a fire, go back and check on it a day or two afterwards,” Gould said. “Always think about what could possibly happen, and if you think something bad might happen — if you have a plan to prevent it — I think you’ll be OK.”

Gould said quality fire extinguishers can be purchased from stores like Wal-Mart, Waters True Value or Bluestem Farm & Ranch.

“When you use an extinguisher, it’s a ‘point, aim, sweep, sweep,’” he said. “And if you’re having to use a fire extinguisher, you should probably give the fire department a call as well.”

Deputy Jeff Rodriguez from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office helped lead a demonstration on proper helmet use when riding a bicycle.

“We show them how to properly put on a helmet,” Rodriguez said. “Make sure it’s properly level, not too high and not too low. They want to be able to get one or two fingers under their helmet to make sure it’s got the proper tightness.”

Inside the Anderson Building, children had the opportunity to ride a jet ski machine while Aaron Scheve, game warden with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, gave tips for staying safe on the water.

“Our number-one thing is kids wearing their lifejackets when they’re on the water,” Scheve said. “Also making sure the boat has proper safety equipment; but lifejackets are the number one thing.”

Scheve also recommended informing a friend or family about any plans for going out on the lake and letting them know when you plan to return.

“That way, if something happens, they know if you’re overdue and where to go look for you,” he said, adding if boaters do run into trouble on the water, they should contact their local sheriff’s department. “They will dispatch a game warden to them whether they are in the water or out in the forest somewhere.”


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Electrical Vehicle Spot Light


Click on above image to view full-size

Click to view full-size



Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Shooter arrested unharmed after standoff near Weskan

By Tim Unruh
Salina Journal – May 26, 2016

A blaze that couldn’t be fought and a one-sided gun battle brought law enforcement and firefighters to a rural farmstead Tuesday in western Wallace County.

While a large home was destroyed, an airplane, helicopter, drones and an armored vehicle were used to defuse the potentially deadly situation involving a man in his early 40s, shooting a high-powered rifle.

After more than 10 hours, the standoff ended, Wallace County Sheriff Larry Townsend said, and yielded a much better result than was feared.

“It’s a good day when all of us get to go home for supper,” he said Wednesday afternoon.
Incident starts with fire

The state fire marshal’s office was investigating the charred remains of the large rural home, a few miles northwest of Weskan, which is 5 miles from the Colorado border.

While the man’s name and other bits of gossip were shared on social media, Townsend could provide only basic details to prevent harming a criminal case.

The fire was first noticed about 2:15 p.m. Central time Tuesday. As firefighters were being alerted, a young woman who lives in the vicinity “drove to see what the smoke was, in case nobody was there,” the sheriff said.

“When she stopped south of the house she was shot at and retreated.”

The woman was not injured, Townsend said, and made an immediate 911 call that prevented putting firefighters in harm’s way. They were already on their way from Weskan and Sharon Springs, which is about 12 miles away.

“We were able to stop the fire trucks short,” he said.

While the black smoke billowed, firefighters stayed ready about a mile away, Townsend said.
Perimeter established

He and Undersheriff Marshall Unruh set up a perimeter while officers from the Greeley County Sheriff’s Office drove to the house. Next came Kansas Highway Patrol troopers. Two officers with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism also assisted.

“At that time, deputies began taking fire from the burning house,” Townsend said.

Vehicles belonging to the KHP and Greeley County were hit, he said, while bullets sailed over the heads of Townsend and Unruh.

“We retreated a little farther,” the sheriff said. “We weren’t born yesterday.”

Highway Patrol and Kansas Bureau of Investigation special entry teams assembled, by then about 600 yards from the house, he said. More than 40 officers were involved.

“They brought a helicopter and an airplane, and with the use of drones, we were able to pinpoint the subject,” Townsend said.

“He shot one of our drones.”
Shooter moves to trees

There was no conversation between the mobile shooter and law enforcement, he said, and officers never returned fire.

With the home and a shop surrounded by heavy timber and brush, the man at times hunkered down in the trees, Townsend said.

“He had some pretty good hiding spots, and under the cover of the trees, he was able to fire rounds at us,” the sheriff said.

At some point, however, the man took refuge in the shop, about 50 yards from the burning house.

“That’s where the guy was located,” the sheriff said.
Suspect arrested without harm

It was after dark Tuesday when an armored vehicle, called a Bearcat, entered the shop, and KBI and KHP officers fired tear gas inside.

“Then the subject came out and was arrested without further incident,” Townsend said. “The entry teams were very patient. They took their time and were able to get this guy out of there unharmed.”

While he suspected that the shooter also started the fire, the sheriff said he could not confirm it Wednesday.

The farmstead was cleared at midnight, but officers were posted there through the night.

“I have a great amount of gladness that nobody was hurt,” Townsend said.

He added that more information will be released later.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Firefighters investigate after fire at Prairie Creek Elementary School

KSHB – May 26, 2016

Photo by Belinda Post

Photo by Belinda Post

Video 729

Firefighters are investigating after a fire at Prairie Creek Elementary School Thursday morning.

The Olathe Fire Department received a call for the fire around 1:30 a.m.

Olathe Fire Captain Mike Hall said the fire started in the roof on the northeast side. Fire crews monitored hotspots through the morning and said the fire is under control.

There were no injuries.

Firefighters are looking at all possibilities for how the fire started.

Thursday was supposed to be the last day of school.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Street racing blamed in fiery Overland Park crash

By Brian Johnson
KMBC – May 26, 2016

Video 711

Five people went to a hospital after a fiery street-racing crash in Overland Park late Wednesday afternoon.

The three-car crash on 119th Street near Rosehill Road left cars heavily damaged, debris all over the street and nerves weary.

People who live in the area said they rushed to the scene.

“I did hear them revving their engines up,” said Max Miller. “It sounded like they were racing down the street.”

Miller said he didn’t have time to get his shoes when he ran to help the driver of a Chevrolet Corvette.

“The guy was stuck in there, both his legs broken up against the dash,” he said.

Four teenagers who were in a pickup truck that rolled over were taken to a hospital. Miller said he knows some of them.

“I’ve seen crashes at this intersection before, so I kind of knew what to do,” Miller said.

“I could have been walking there. I could have been turning, trying to turn without anywhere else to go,” said Leslee Trotter, who lives up the street from the crash scene and walks in the area frequently.

She said the Corvette was on fire when she arrived.

“I mean, you see accidents frequently, but never to that extent,” she said. “Especially right in your neighborhood.”

She said too many people race down the street. A friend of hers died while racing his car, she said. The scene was a painful reminder.

“This really shook me hard because I go through this intersection three or four times a day and I have a young son,” she said.

People in the area said anyone who wants to race should find a track.

Police said they plan to recommend the harshest penalties possible to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. They said racing has been an issue on 135th and 159th streets, too.


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Accident leads to fatality

By Cody Griesel
Arkansas City Traveler – May 26, 2016

Photo by Donita Clausen

Photo by Donita Clausen

A traffic accident south of Arkansas City on US 77 left one woman dead when she couldn’t escape from her burning vehicle.

Sgt. Doug Allison of the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office the woman had not been identified as of press time Wednesday. The victim’s name will not be released until relatives are notified.

Emergency crews received the report of a car fire around 4:55 p.m. The second call reported someone trapped inside the fully-involved vehicle.

The female driver was heading southbound on when she made a U-turn at the intersection of 322nd Road and US 77. Witnesses told sheriff’s deputies she turned in front of the red GMC pickup, that was northbound in the inside lane.

“The driver of the truck had no time to go anywhere,” Allison said.

Deputy Scott Porter was the first officer on the scene and told Allison the driver of the truck had a tire iron, desperately trying to free the trapped woman. The driver of the truck was finally forced to retreat as the flames grew.

Allison said due to the location of the impact on the victim’s car, officials are assuming the gas tank ruptured on impact.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is assisting the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office investigate the case and notify relatives.


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SEVERE WEATHER LIVE BLOG: Large tornado causes extensive damage in Dickinson County

KWCH – May 25, 2016


Live Blog


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Family displaced by water

By Mike Kessinger
Hays Daily News – May 25, 2016

Click on photo to view full-size image.

Click on photo to view full-size image.

When Janell Underwood woke up Tuesday morning she could have never imagined the first thing her husband Chad would tell her.

It just isn’t something anyone would expect to hear.

“My husband woke up at 6 and I got up a little after that,” she said. “He came to me and said ‘We have a river running through the yard.’ ”

Sure enough. In a way, the Underwoods — who live north of Hays on Saline River Road — did have a river running through and around their home. Due to a heavy downpour of rain Monday night and into Tuesday, north and to the northwest of the house, the river, not far from their home had overflown its banks.

Water surrounded the house, preventing the Underwoods from being able to go anywhere without help.

“There were logs floating in the yard,” Janell said.

Ellis County Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Ring said reports he received told him counties to the north and west of Ellis County had gotten up to 5 or 6 inches during the night and the river had filled. The overflowing forced the county emergency service to close several roads in the northern part of Ellis County on Tuesday. Another issue of the overflow was large logs and other debris jamming up under county bridges, causing more problems of water running over the banks.

“I’m sure it was a real eye-opener for (the Underwoods) to look out and see that,” Ring said.

In contact with Jeff Hutton from the National Weather Service in Dodge City through most of the day, Ring said Hutton told him a gauge north of WaKeeney on the Saline River had water moving at 4,000 square cubic feet per second. That alone was enough to cause the jamming under bridges and pushing water over the banks. The water was rising and Ring said he didn’t know for sure how far west the rain had been along the river.

Janell Underwood immediately called the Emergency Management Offices and an initial group of first responders were out to their home within 20 minutes. Once the responders’ team was all to the Underwoods, there were members from the rural fire department, road and bridge, sheriff’s office and emergency services. The Underwoods and their three dogs were lifted across the water. Janell said their youngest daughter had stayed in Hays overnight.

“I was panicking quite a bit,” Janell said of their situation Tuesday morning. “We had a rushing river going around our house. My husband wasn’t as worried as I was. I had never seen anything like this.”

The Underwoods were told at the earliest they wouldn’t be able to get in around their home until at least 24 hours, or until the river subsides. They went by the house around 1 p.m. and Janell said there was still quite a bit of water moving through the yard.

“We are just so thankful to the first responders,” Janell said. “When I called the lady I talked to said she’s been working there for 30 years and she has never heard anything like this. She stayed on the phone with me until the (responders) got here.”

After the Emergency Service teams left the house they went out around the roads closing off spots to transportation they found water had come over the road. They were also patrolling the area and asking people they saw if they needed anything. The Underwood home, Ring said, was the only place that had been flooded around it.

The Underwoods stayed at Janell’s father’s place in Schoenchen on Tuesday night and she was hopeful they would get to check on the house today. While they were in the house, no water had gotten into the interior of their place.

As for the flooding, Ring said it’s a wait on the water level to go down before they can begin the cleanup process.

“A lot of debris gets caught under the bridges,” Ring said. “Once the water subsides, we’ll start grappling with all those logs and debris under there.”


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Children rescued from creek in northeast Wichita

KAKE – May 25, 2016

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Video 226

The Wichita Fire Department says two children have been rescued from a creek on the city’s northeast side.

Crews were called around 1 p.m. to the creek in the area of 27th Street North and Hillside. Rescuers arrived on scene and found the two kids in the water. They got on both sides of the creek and used ropes to get the children out of the water.

The fire department says recent rains have flooded the creeks, making them more dangerous.

“Creeks, in general, are always dangerous,” said Operations Capt. Nicholas Woods. “Especially with the amount of rain we’ve gotten recently, all the creeks in the area are flooded. The water is moving very rapidly.”

The children were not seriously hurt and were checked out by EMS at the scene.


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Topeka Police and Fire Departments roll out new specialized response programs

By Lindsay Sax
WIBW – May 25, 2016

Photo by Lindsay Sax

Photo by Lindsay Sax

Topeka law enforcement groups are looking to get personal when helping keep residents of the Capital City safe.

On Tuesday, the Topeka Police Department and Topeka Fire Department introduced new programs focused on giving personalized response plans.

TPD Chief James Brown shared information on the new Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). It is a community effort involving mental health providers, residents and their family members to be able to provide the best possible outcomes during a mental health crisis.

According to Brown, there was a void in Topeka when it came to police officers knowing their customers with mental health issues and how to best respond.

“It helps keep the officers safe and it helps keep our customers safe,” Brown said.

Through the program, those with mental health issues and their family members will be able to sign up with their name and information about their condition. When a call is made to an address or with the person’s name, TPD will be able to know before they respond how to best handle an incident.

“When we go to a situation when we know there is a behavioral health issue prior to getting there, we’re going to realize that the activity may not be criminal in nature,” Brown said. “It could just be a behavioral health issue and we need to know to be able to handle it in that situation.”

Topeka Police recruits go through 40 hours of crisis intervention training, but Brown says this will take caring for those who need it the most a step further.

More information on the CIT program and enrollment can be found on the TPD webpage found here . Police ask that you enroll every year.

The Topeka Fire Department also rolled out a similar program Tuesday.

Fire Marshal Michael Martin says his office is working to keep people safe through the Special Assistance in Fire Emergencies, or SAFE, program.

Through the program people with mobility, hearing or other issues will be able to register with the Topeka Fire Department to let them know someone at the household is need of assistance. When a fire emergency does break at an address registered, it will help TFD make a plan of action before they arrive to the scene.

“Right from the start they’re going to know when they arrive on scene there may be somebody who may need help in getting out,” Martin said. “So if there’s an actual fire emergency there and we know that a SAFE participant’s in there, when we arrive on scene we can know right away that we need to check in a certain area of the house to make sure those individuals have gotten out.”

People can register for the SAFE program on the TFD webpage. TFD asks that residents register every three months.

“I think this partnership with the police department, it’s just a wonderful pairing and it’s a great enhancement to the community service of our city,” Martin said.


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In excess of $20K damage from accidental Kansas house fire

Hays Post – May 25, 2016

Photo by Great Bend Fire Department

Photo by Great Bend Fire Department

Officials with the State Fire Marshal’s office determined a fire at a home on Tuesday in Great Bend was accidental.

The blaze at a 3-story residence in the 1400 Block of Washington started and was contained to the attic, according to Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napalitano.

The home suffered heat, smoke and water damage to the second floor. The extent of the damage is estimated in excess of $20-thousand dollars.

Occupants of the home escaped without injury. Two kittens did not survive, according to Napalitano.


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Truck catches fire at Flying J

By John Robinson
Emporia Gazette – May 25, 2016

Photo by John Robinson. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by John Robinson. Click on photo to view full-size image.

There were no injuries after a vehicle fire at the Flying J near Emporia on Tuesday.

Felipe Baptista said he was driving on Highway 50 when he noticed his pickup truck began acting up. He pulled into the gas station and walked to the nearby Kenworth to get a mechanic to look at his vehicle. His truck then burst into flames while he was at Kenworth.

Deborah Falen, general manager at the Flying J, said a cashier alerted her to the fire and she went out to combat it with an extinguisher before fire crews arrived on the scene.

“There were flames coming out from underneath the hood and under the tire,” Falen said. “I just started (using the fire extinguisher).”

The fire was extinguished and verified by Emporia Firefighters when they arrived on scene. No injuries were reported.


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Early-morning basement fire damages home on 27th in southwest Topeka

By Phil Anderson
Topeka Capital Journal – May 25, 2016

Photo by Phil Anderson

Photo by Phil Anderson

No injuries were reported after a basement fire early Wednesday forced an occupant out of a southwest Topeka home.

The blaze was reported around 6:20 a.m. at a one-story residence at 1824 S.W. 27th.

Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Brannock said crews arrived to find “heavy, brown smoke” coming out of the chimney.

Brannock said the home’s occupant told first-arriving crews that there was a fire in the basement.

Brannock said two engine companies and a truck company made entry into the house and went downstairs.

“It appeared to be a kind of small fire,” he said. “We extinguished it pretty quick. There was a little bit of extension up the wall on the outside. The fire was under control quite quickly.”

A fire investigator was called to the scene to determine the cause of the blaze. Fire officials said most of the damage to the home would likely be related to smoke and heat.

View related video here:

Interview with Brannock:

Video from the scene:


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Car and Semi collide at 77 and bypass Tues.

By Shane Farley
NewsCow – May 25, 2016

Photo by Brett Coplen

Photo by Brett Coplen

A Wichita woman has been identified as the person injured Tuesday when a semi and passenger car collided on U.S. 77 north of Ark City, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

23-year-old Catherine D. Cranmer was transported to South Central Kansas Medical Center for treatment.

The accident occurred around 5:25 p.m. when a 2000 Freightliner was crossing 77 from the bypass and attempting to turn south onto N. Summit. Cranmer was northbound in her 2000 Infiniti passenger car when the semi pulled in front of her and the collision occurred.

Donald Jack Stoner, 66, of East Troy, Wisc., was identified as the semi driver. He was not injured.

Cranmer was wearing a seat belt. An update on her current condition was not immediately available.


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Oil Tank Battery Fire (Lightning Strike)

Matt McCune – Plainville, Kansas – Oil Tank Battery Fire (Lightning Strike) – May 24th, 2016

Video 749


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Kansas woman dies after semi crash

Junction City Post – May 25, 2016

A Kansas woman died in an accident just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday in Montgomery County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2003 Mazda Protégé driven by Janice Vineyard, 67, Independence, was westbound on County Road 2800 eight miles north of Coffeyville.

The driver failed to yield at the stop sign and crossed U.S. 169

A northbound semi broadsided the Mazda.

Vineyard was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to Frontier Forensics.

The semi driver Gordon, Casey Gordon, 37, Tecumseh, NE., was not injured.

Both drivers were properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


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Multiple tornadoes in Ford County damage more than five homes, critically injure at least two people

By Ashley Booker
Hutchinson News – May 25, 2016

Photo by Ian Livingston. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Photo by Ian Livingston. Click on photo to view full-size image.

Video 725 & Video 731

Multiple tornadoes touched down in southwest Kansas on Tuesday evening, destroying more than five homes and critically injuring at least two people in Ford County.

The National Weather Service indicated before 9 p.m. that 15 confirmed tornadoes had touched down in Scott, Lane, Ford and Ness counties.

The tornadoes lasted as little as 10 seconds or remained on the ground as long as nine minutes.

J.D. Gilbert, interim Ford County administrator and public information officer, said two people were in critical condition at Western Plains Medical Complex, the Dodge City hospital, after sustaining injuries from tornado damage.

There might be more injuries, he said, as the county does not know how many people were transported by private vehicle.

Tornadoes damaged multiple agricultural buildings and downed electricity lines.

“More than five homes have been completely destroyed,” he said.

The Ford County Landfill building also was demolished.

Law enforcement were out assessing damage late into the night.

Andrew White, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Dodge City, said the most damage was reported in western Ford County.

A home was destroyed east of Ensign, a semi overturned in the county and a large propane tank was leaking on a highway north of Dodge City.

At about 6:30 p.m., a tornado emergency was declared for Dodge City, but the tornado skirted the city of more than 28,000 people.

White also heard that at least one person sustained lacerations as a result of the tornado damage.

Based on damage reports sent in to the NWS, a spotter indicated that a structure was destroyed six miles north-northwest of Dodge City. Gilbert confirmed this was the landfill building.

These reports also indicated that the largest hail associated with the storm system was between baseball- and softball-size west of Dodge City.

80 mph winds were reported blowing through Ness City and seven miles north of McCracken.

More information, including specific locations, will be released today, White and Gilbert said.


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Employee puts out electrical fire

Ottawa Herald – May 25, 2016

Photo by John Hawks

Photo by John Hawks

Shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday, the Ottawa Fire Department responded to an electrical fire among a maze of exterior lines at the top and rear of 210 S. Main St., future home of My Lingerie Boutique.

But they discovered Garrett Redifer, of Appliance Repair Center next door, had things under control.

“I’m the one who put the fire out. The line was catching on fire, and we had a fire extinguisher. I heard the lady over there screaming, ‘the lines on fire, the lines on fire,”‘ he said. “Our power was flickering. The thing was on fire. I came out, grabbed the fire extinguisher and turned it on.”

City of Ottawa Utilities Department workers soon repaired the problem.


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Fire destroys old log cabin near Kansas River

By Conrad Swanson
Lawrence Journal World – May 25, 2016

douglas co fire 5252016

Photo by Richard Gwin

Photo by Richard Gwin

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a fire early Thursday morning that destroyed a small, historic cabin near the Kansas River.

At 5:17 a.m. Thursday firefighters responded to 110 Maine St. for a report of a tree on fire, said Lawrence-Douglas County Division Chief Jim King. When they arrived they discovered the cabin engulfed in flames.

The cabin was on the east side of the pond in the Sandra J. Shaw Community Health Park, just west of Burcham Park.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire, King said, and no injuries were reported. The building is considered a total loss.

So far investigators have not made a determination on the cause of the fire, King said.

“There were no utilities,” he said. “The building was vacant and actually in some disrepair.”

The City of Lawrence acquired the cabin and the park’s pond in 2014, said Rowan Green, park supervisor for Lawrence’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Since then the building has not been used for anything and has seen several instances of vandalism, he said.

In the 1930s a zoo was located in the area near the cabin largely known as Green’s Park, after its owner, Will Green, according to past Journal-World articles.

The zoo — which housed a Gila monster, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, porcupines, bears, alligators and a mountain lion — was open from the 1930s until the Kansas River flooded and ended the operation in 1951.

Green also collected trinkets, knickknacks and other oddities that caught his attention. He stored them inside the cabin.

Now, however, all that remains of the cabin is its slab foundation, Green said. The city has no immediate plans for the property.

Some historians believe that the log cabin could possibly have been owned by Douglas County abolitionist Jacob Branson during the Bleeding Kansas period.


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Video: Massive Dangerous Tornado Touches Down In Kansas

May 24, 2016



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Ellis Co. emergency responders extinguish vehicle fire Tuesday morning

Hays Post – May 24, 2016

ellis co fire 5242016

Ellis County emergency responders were called to a report of a vehicle fire at 240th Ave and Munjor Road shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Crews, including a tanker truck, worked to extinguish the fire blocking a section 240th Avenue around the vehicle for over an hour.

The cause of the vehicle fire is unknown at this time.


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Investigators seek cause of Olathe house fire

KMBC – May 24, 2016

Photo by Olathe Fire Department

Photo by Olathe Fire Department

Investigators are looking into the cause of a fire that caused $25,000 in damage to an Olathe home.

Firefighters said the woman who lives in the house in the 700 block of Chestnut Street noticed thick, brown smoke coming from the crawl space and attic Monday afternoon.

Firefighters said they got to the scene and got the fire under control in about 25 minutes.

Investigators have not released an estimate of the damage. No one was injured, but the couple who live in the house have been temporarily displaced.


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Color Run Concerns: Up in Flames

By Lauren Seabrook
KWCH – May 24, 2016

hutchinson fire 5242016

Video 618

It makes for a frame-worthy moment. Every color in the box, sprinkled across thousands of people running for fun.

“The first mile was really hard, because I mean you were just starting out,” said runner Kenda Alrifai. “But as you got through more colors, it got funnier and funnier.”

The participants will endure a lot just to get that perfect shot. But how much are they willing to risk? “I don’t think people are really contemplating what could go wrong,” said Dr. Tom Higgins, ER physician & Toxicologist, Via Christi St. Francis.

In 2015, people at a water park in Taiwan experienced the terrifying consequences of what can go wrong when colored powder is tossed into the air near something that could cause it to ignite. More than 500 people were burned in the massive fire.

We asked Bobby White, Fire Science Coordinator, Hutchinson Community College, to help us test the powder. “If I sign up for a public event like that, like a color run, or you go to your neighbor’s birthday party and they have this stuff, you just assume people have done their research and have taken steps to be careful,” said White.

He says in case they haven’t, you should. Here’s what you need to know. We ordered samples online from Color Blaze and Color Marathon. White and his team poured the colored powder into a foil bowl and over an open flame. They blew out the powder with an air compressor.

Each sample of powder from Color Blaze created a fireball. So could that happen at a color run? “It does have the potential to ignite in the right conditions and cause the fireball like we saw,” said White.

We put the Color Marathon powder to the test next. Seven of the eight colors we tested caught fire, even though the brand claims to be fire retardant. All the samples we tested, in both brands, made huge fireballs except the green pack from Color Marathon. It did still ignite, but not as much. White says the emerald tone came close to being fireproof, but was not.

“It may be the dyes they use and certain colors may change, kind of seal up the powder so it’s not as exposed to flames,” said White.

Dr. Higgins knows the damage a flash fire can do to your skin, but he says there is more. “If there’s a big enough fireball, and you’re in the right spot and happen to be breathing in at the wrong time, you could potentially inhale super-hearted gases and that could be a real problem,” said Higgins.

He also says your attire for the race could make it worse. “If you’re running, wearing any kind of synthetic running gear, any of the wic-safe, synthetic or dry-wic shirts, those have the potential to melt,” said Higgins.

It’s something to keep in mind the next time you sign up for the acclaimed “happiest 5k on the planet.” You might want to give it a second thought before a photogenic memory turns dark.

“Just need to be aware of your surroundings,” said White. “If people are exhibiting unsafe behavior, or the powder you think is being sprayed in an area where it’s exposed to the possibility of ignition, just be smart.”

You would probably never expect to see someone smoking at a race, but we did. The spectators were standing on the sideline of a colorful dust storm with a cigarette in their mouth. That small ignition point, or a number of other things, could cause the flash fire.


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Fire Department plans to start preapprentice training program

Wyandotte Daily – May 24, 2016

The Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department plans to start its paid preapprentice trainee program soon, Unified Government officials said Monday night.

Doug Bach, UG administrator told the Public Works and Safety Committee that the trainee program was recommended by a task force last year.

Chief John Paul Jones said the program will identify and hire qualified Wyandotte County residents as paid, pre-apprentice firefighter trainees who then would be placed in an accelerated emergency medical technician training.

The mission is to quickly get the minimum requirement for certification, he said. EMT training would occur as the schedule allows within a partnership with Kansas City Kansas Community College, he added.

Currently there are eight seats reserved for the fall session there in an accelerated EMT program, he said. There will be a competitive selection process including testing.

The trainees will be paid $25,292 plus benefits while they are in this program, Jones said. Besides their classroom work, they may be asked to do other training as required by the Fire Department.

Applicants for firefighter trainee must be 18 years old by the date of hire, must be a Wyandotte County resident, must have acquired a high school diploma or GED, and will be subject to the same disqualifiers as other firefighters. Automatic disqualifiers include DUI within the last three years, multiple DUIs, marijuana use within the last 12 months, illicit drug use within the last three years, falsification of documentation and felony conviction.

The first firefighter trainee is expected to be hired by mid-August, Jones said.

The trainees will be in an accelerated immersion-style program at KCKCC from Aug. 22 through Dec 19, 2016, he said. Advertising for the hiring process is expected to begin by mid-June or earlier, he said.

Bach said the objective is to get trainees in, and through EMT and to the first available academy. But the academy will not always be available when the trainees finish their coursework.

The trainees will either go right in to the academy, or wait a year until the next academy, he said. There will be an effort to provide programs to keep them active and instrumental in assisting with firefighter operations while they are waiting, he said.

Jones said the department is looking at this program in phases. The process to become a paramedic takes about four semesters of community college.

“Now we’re exploring the possibility of how we grow more paramedics within the community, and how do we home-grow paramedics within the Fire Department,” Jones said.

After asking several questions about benefits, the timeline of the program, and psychological testing by the department, Commissioner Jane Philbrook said, “I’m so excited that we’ve gone through this as a community and as the Fire Department.”

Jones said the department is using a different group for the testing now, and testing will be improved.

Commissioner Harold Johnson asked if there would be definitive goals on minority hiring.

Bach said the UG is not able to establish goals for minority hiring. One of the goals is to make the Fire Department and all departments more reflective of the community, he said. He added the recruitment base will be in Wyandotte County.

“We’re starting from a base of recruits of people we’re going to. If we hire people that are a cross-section of our community, then we’re going to ultimately end up and be reflective of our community,” Bach said. He said the end result would show a good reflection of the community.

Commissioner Melissa Bynum asked about working with the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools in the Diploma Plus program before students graduate from high school. Jones said he is working on a meeting with the district on this subject, and there could be another program in the future with the district.

Bynum also asked if the applicant and department come to a mutual understanding that the job is not right for the applicant, would the Fire Department steer the applicant toward another UG department job that might be more suitable.


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EMS takes self-defense training

By Chance Hoener
Pittsburg Morning Sun – May 23, 2016

Captain Brett Peine (left) demonstrates the double tap parry with Timothy Staggs (right) during the Crawford County EMS self defense training Monday.

Captain Brett Peine (left) demonstrates the double tap parry with Timothy Staggs (right) during the Crawford County EMS self defense training Monday.

Crawford County EMS personnel will be better able to protect themselves after finishing a two-day self-defense course.

The first day of the 16-hour course was Monday at EMS Station #2 in Frontenac, The aim is to prepare personnel to control violent situations as well as protect themselves and patients.

The course is taught by Captain Brett Peine of Crawford County EMS and is split between the classroom and time to work through drills. Along with self defense tactics, personnel are taught de-escalation strategies.

The training, which continues today, focuses on good customer service and verbal communication before physical contact.

“In healthcare, we have to determine ‘is this person a patient or an attacker?’” Peine said.

Peine worked in 10 years in law enforcement before coming to Crawford County EMS in 2008. He has taught this course many times at Missouri Southern State University, but said this is the first time the entire Crawford County staff will be getting the training.

By finishing the training, Crawford County EMS will obtain certification in self defense for two years and then have to recertify. Peine said it is important to know how to protect yourself and your patients.

“Fifty-two percent of EMS personnel have reported being assaulted, and those are only the ones who reported it,” Peine said. “I was assaulted three times and never reported it.”

Effective July 1, a new law will go into effect in Kansas allowing any public employee to carry a concealed firearm. Peine said with the new law, self defense training is very important now.

“We want to be proactive and give our personnel the tools to recognize and deal with an assault that doesn’t require deadly force,” Peine said. “Like if a person spits on them, punches them, grabs them, we want them to have the tools to handle the situation properly.”


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Downed power line sparks small fire at house on Tennessee Street

By Conrad Swanson
Lawrence Journal World – May 23, 2016

Photo by Nick Krug

Photo by Nick Krug

A downed power line sparked a small fire at a house near 14th and Tennessee streets Monday afternoon, fire officials said.

A large tree limb brought down a power line in 1300 block between Tennessee and Ohio streets shortly before 3 p.m., Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Capt. Ben Dennis said.

Around 3:30 p.m., firefighters were called to a small house fire at 1333 Tennessee Street. Dennis said the power line sparked a small fire on the second floor of the house. That fire was quickly extinguished, no injuries were reported and damage was minimal, Dennis said.

A total of 75 customers were without power in the area as of 3:30 p.m., according to Westar Energy’s website. Electricity was expected to be restored by 5 p.m., the website said.

As of 4 p.m., Tennessee Street had been reopened to one lane of traffic.


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Job Opening – Deputy Boiler Inspector – KSFM

Job Title: Deputy Boiler Inspector (Regional)
County Ford
Req. No: 183752
Agency: Fire Marshal
Posting Type: External
Applications accepted through: Jun 16, 2016

Click here for more information


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Ellis County announces department head moves

Hays Post – May 23, 2016

On Friday, Ellis County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes announced transitions among several appointed department head positions. These changes will impact five County departments.

Emergency Management/Rural Fire: As Ring moves to Public Works, the Emergency Management Department will be merged with the County’s Rural Fire Department.

“I’ve worked closely with Rural Fire during my entire tenure, and we share administrative staff,” Ring said.

Rural Fire Director Darin Myers will take on this combined role.

“This makes a lot of sense,” Myers said. “As a career firefighter I am intimately familiar with the Incident Command Structure and the importance of preparedness. I look forward to building on the work Bill has done to keep Ellis County residents, businesses and visitors safe.”

Health/EMS: Longtime Ellis County Health Administrator Robert “Butch” Schlyer has announced his intention to retire from county service at the end of the calendar year. County Emergency Medical Services Director Kerry McCue will assume a combined role directing both departments.

“Although I will have a learning curve in public health, this transition makes sense,” McCue said. “Three other Kansas counties have already gone this route, and I am personally excited about the chance to continue learning and growing in my career with Ellis County.”

Announcement of the move at this time will allow for a nice transition period.

“One of the things I most wanted as I prepare for my retirement was the opportunity for overlap with my successor,” Schlyer said. “I am pleased to be able to work with Kerry and have a smooth transition for both of our staffs.”

County Commission Chairman Dean Haselhorst praised the moves.

“I am very happy and thankful to our department heads for stepping up and taking on new roles,” said Haselhorst. “Ellis County faces some trying financial times, and this display of creativity on the part of our department heads is exactly the kind of thing we need to help us get through this.”

Haselhorst went on to specifically praise Hoffman’s role over the past year: “Curt and the other staff at Public Works really stepped up when we needed them. I would’ve like to have seen him stay on, but I certainly understand that office work is not for everyone. All I can do is thank him.”

All the transitions are expected to occur gradually over the next several months. For payroll purposes, new roles for Hoffman and Ring are anticipated to be effective Monday, June 6, and McCue will begin the transition period on June 20. Myers’ new role is pending adoption of a new job description by the Board of County Commissioners. The combination of functions is estimated to save Ellis County nearly $100,000 in fiscal year 2017.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Wichita firefighters find what could be a meth lab in a culvert

KSN – May 23, 2016

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What started out as a call about smoke coming out of a culvert ended up with Wichita Police officers responding to a potential meth lab in north Wichita.

Around noon Friday, Wichita firefighters responded to a 911 call of smoke coming from a culvert near I-135 and E 19th Street North. When they arrived on the scene the found what they suspected were the makings of a meth lab.

The firefighters backed out of the area and called the Wichita Police Department to the scene. The fire department’s hazardous materials unit and the police department’s clandestine laboratory specialists were called to the scene to gather evidence.

Officials say it will take several days to analyze whether the materials found on the scene are the remnants of a meth lab.

The materials used to make methamphetamine are very dangerous with the fumes being highly toxic to humans.

No one was taken into custody in the incident.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Trooper’s vehicle hit while stopped on the Interstate

Hays Post – May 23, 2016

Photo by KHP

Photo by KHP

Three people were injured in a four-vehicle accident just after 1 p.m. on Sunday in McPherson County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2016 Ford Police Interceptor State Trooper was stopped on the left shoulder providing traffic control for a 2013 Toyota Corolla on southbound Interstate 135 just north of Arrowhead Road.

A 1999 Dodge Dakota driven by Hanson, Christian Hanson, 20, Lindsborg, was southbound in the left lane then moved to the right lane and slowed due to traffic.

A 2015 Toyota Venza driven by Guadalupe Garcia, 60, Wichita, was southbound in the right lane, unable to slow and rear-ended the Dodge pickup.

The Dodge then traveled to the left into the median and struck the rear of the KHP vehicle. The trooper’s vehicle then collided with the Corolla

Garcia and passengers in the Venza Jorge Concha, 61, and Alexa Flores, 9, both of Wichita were transported to the hospital in Newton.

Hanson was also possibly injured, according to the KHP.

The trooper and occupants of the Corolla were not injured.

All were properly restrained at the time of the accident, according to the KHP.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster


Firefighters plan fundraiser to help detective’s family

Wyandotte Daily – May 23, 2016

Kansas City, Kan., firefighters, Local 64, and the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department are planning a fundraiser for Detective Brad Lancaster’s family.

The fundraiser will be similar to the “fill the boot” effort conducted by firefighters on street corners during Labor Day weekend.

Area Price Choppers in the area also conducted a fundraising effort for the slain detective’s family. They announced online that they raised $45,213 through a memorial fund at area Price Choppers for the detective’s family. The stores will contribute $2,500 more to the family, according to the announcement.

In addition, there is a memorial fund established for the family at the Greater KC Public Safety Credit Union locations, and also at Kansas City, Kan., police headquarters.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Nebraska State Fire School aims to perfects skills, safety procedures

By Becca Mann
Grand Island Independent – May 23, 2016

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Wearing 100 pounds of protective gear, students taking part in the Advanced Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus class at the Nebraska State Fire School fought through small spaces, darkness and mental stresses.

As part of a three-day course, the students completed obstacle courses while in full gear to learn the best way to proceed through certain situations. One of these involved navigating through the Kearney Volunteer Department’s modular “SCBA Maze.”

The maze includes 13 different interchangeable modules, which allows modifications for all levels of students. Obstacles include manipulating hose nozzles, cutting through dry wall and even identifying locations if the floor were to collapse.

Kearney Volunteer Fire Engineer Todd “Walt” Walton helped coach students through the maze. With the pull of a level, the floor from the upper level dropped and a student crawling through the maze fell two feet to the ground.

“When we drop them we have them run through a mayday scenario and have them send a report out,” Walton said. “They give their location to the command … if they follow that line in, they get close to a last location and speed up the search.”

The activity simulates a situation in which a firefighter falls due to a floor collapse.

The “SCBA Maze” was one of four stations students in the class worked through during the Nebraska State Fire School at Fonner Park this weekend. In addition to the maze, students in the class worked through various other obstacle courses as well as brushed up on their knowledge of maintaining the apparatuses.

In its 79th year, the Nebraska State Fire School hosted 1,682 attendees from across Nebraska and other states including Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota. The state fire school has been in Grand Island since its beginning and is hosted each year by the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters Association and Fire School Committee with support from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal Training Division.

Pat Gould, fire school director, said lessons learned in class play roles much larger than just completing activities during the weekend.

“Not everyone can come to fire school,” Gould said. “One of the biggest things we say is that what you learn, we want you to take home and use.”

Gould first attended fire school with his uncle as a high school junior in 1975. Gould became a member of the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department the following year and has attended fire school almost every year since. Gould is in his 17th year on the fire school committee and was appointed director of fire school two years ago. After classes wrap up on Sunday morning, Gould and the committee have five days of rest before they begin planning for next year’s event. The school’s budget is set in July and by December, all classes and their components for the following year are finalized.

All 28 courses offered this year had both classroom and hands-on components. Gould said the mix is important to making sure students get the best experience out of their time at fire school.

Gould said some departments send firefighters as a group while others attend on their own. All of the work completed during the weekend is completely voluntary. Firefighters are required to bring their own suits and breathing apparatuses but all other equipment, from hoses to ladders and even fire engines, is provided by organizers of the fire school. Trucks are borrowed throughout the weekend from surrounding towns including Alda, Chapman, Grand Island and Kearney. If a department loans a truck for the weekend, it gets free registration for one student, Gould said.

The school’s biggest class each year is Introduction to Firefighting, this year it had 260 students. The class covers basics including theory, ladders, hose loads, breathing apparatus maintenance and live fires. Other classes during the weekend included Fire Investigation, Commercial Vehicle Extrication and Basic Pump Operations.

Almost all stations at fire school have an accompanying rehab class in which students check vitals and provide assistance after the completion of activities. This class simulates the stations departments set up to care for firefighters on scene of a fire.

Classes are led by instructors from across the country including from the National Volunteer Fire Council, Nebraska State Troopers, the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Gould said a main theme throughout the classes focuses on safety procedures and making sure students know how to protect themselves in all situations.

“There’s a term that we use in the fire service everyday, it’s called ‘we want you to go home the same way you came here,’” Gould said. “That’s the biggest thing. Whatever you do out there on the fire ground, we want you to do it safely. We want you to be able to go home to your families after the call.

In addition to classes, the fire school hosted 85 vendors that bring new products and trucks each year.

“This is part of the learning experience,” said Rod Buethe, fire school committee member. “They practice with in class or maybe they find it at a vendor table and they can take that back to their department and say this works well for us. It’s a good supplement to the school that we put on.”


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Suspicious package outside DeSoto VFW

KSHB – May 23, 2016

The Olathe Fire Department was called to disrupt a suspicious package outside the DeSoto VFW Saturday.

Johnson County officials say someone reported a package outside the VFW the looked like a pipe bomb about 9:30 a.m.

A perimeter was set up, and the fire department was called.

Crews destroyed the item.

No injuries were reported, and the scene was cleared about 1:30 Saturday afternoon.

Officials say they still don’t know what the device was, and the investigation is ongoing.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Minor Damage, No Injuries in East Salina Fire

By Terry Tebrugge
Salina Post – May 23, 2016

Photo by Terry Tebrugge

Photo by Terry Tebrugge

Salina firefighters were called to a small fire at a multi-unit residence in east Salina late Friday night.

Salina Fire Marshal Roger Williams tells The Salina Post at the scene that firefighters were called to the complex at 750 Fairdale, which is located just behind the Hillcrest Apartment complex on East Crawford, just before 10 p.m.

Firefighters initially found some flames on the roof near the chimney. Some of the fire got into the roof, but only caused some minor damage.

Williams said the fire may started in the chimney flue.

There were no injuries and occupants of the complex were allowed to return once firefighters cleared some smoke.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Kansas house fire smothers itself, causes $10K damage

Hays Post – May 23, 2016

Investigators with the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s office determined a fire at a home in Lyons on Tuesday was accidental, according to Lyons Fire Chief Brad Reid.

The homeowner discovered fire damage in the single-family, two-story residence at 113 North Saint John Avenue as they arrived home.

A space heater is believed to have started the fire. Fortunately there was a lack of oxygen and the fire smothered itself, according to Reid.

The home suffered approximately ten thousand dollars in damage to the basement and additional smoke damage.

There were no injuries.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Bern Fire Barn project moves forward with grant administrator, architect choices made

By Heather Stewart
Sabetha Herald – May 23, 2016

Bern Fire District No. 4 can mark two more things off the to-do list in order to build a new fire barn. Representatives from the district and Nemaha County commissioners chose a KANSTEP Grant Administrator and an Architect in order to help complete the project.

Tim Krehbiel, Norman Kroemer, Jason Rokey, Garrett Stallbaumer and Dean Korber with Bern Fire District No. 4 went before the Nemaha County Commission on Monday, May 16, for the opening of bids received for administration services for the KANSTEP Grant.

Grant Administrator bids were as follows: Virginia Dienstbier bid $32,000, Governmental Assistance Services bid $20,000, and Ranson Financial Consultants, LLC, bid $25,000. The district representatives said they were in favor of using Governmental Assistance Services as grant administrator for the KANSTEP project and the commissioners approved the $20,000 bid from Governmental Assistance Services.

At the Nemaha County Commission on Monday, May 9, the Bern Fire Department had four architect firms – BG Consultants, Inc., Zimmerschied Architecture, Zingre and Associates, PA, and CES Group, PA – provide their certifications for architectural services.

The district representatives let commissioners know they were in favor of using CES Group, PA, as the architect for the KANSTEP project. The commissioners approved CES Group, PA, as the architect.

What’s next

According to Rokey, the next step is to confirm and sign contracts with the architect and the administrator, which will outline their fees for the project. After the contracts have been signed, the architect and grant administrator will begin working to meet the Aug. 1 KANSTEP deadline.

“The architect will begin working on the preliminary drawing (concept) for the new fire barn, as well as providing us with an estimate of probable cost which we will submit with our application by the first of August,” Rokey said. “The administrator will begin an environmental review of the location, as well as begin the formal application to be submitted to the state by the Aug. 1 deadline.”

Rokey said the process has gone exactly how the Bern Fire Department has anticipated, with the exception of a little bump along the way.

“We had to resubmit our request for proposal for a grant administrator since we only had one response the first time around,” he said. “This has set us back in meeting our August 1st deadline to have the application complete and submitted; however, we are confident that we will still be able to meet the deadline as both our administrator and architect were aware of the deadline and have agreed that it is doable.”


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Kid’s learn fire safety at Wichita fire camp

By Austin Clift
KAKE – May 23, 2016

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Area sixth through ninth graders spent today slinging hoses and putting out fake fires. More than sixty kids came out to a free fire camp today at Wichita South High School hosted by the Kansas Firefighter’s Museum.

According to Sedgwick County Deputy Fire Marshall, Bill Hinkle, “They come out and spend a day with firefighters learning what firefighters do.”

Firefighters from Wichita, Sedgwick County, and Derby fire departments volunteered to help teach young people not just about firefighting, but also, how to be good citizens.

“One of the biggest things we teach kids today is teamwork. Teamwork is involved with every aspect of being a firefighter as well as every aspect of life. If you don’t have a good team, you may not be very successful,” Hinkle said.

Hinkle tells me the hope of firefighters is that the camp will help spark an interest in the firefighters of the future.

“It’s important from a firefighter’s standpoint teaching kids what it’s like to become a firefighter. We’re trying to encourage some of them to maybe look at pursuing a career when they’re old enough to become a firefighter.”

Whether they want to be a firefighter, or something very different when they grow up, each camper that I spoke with said they took something away from the camp, and learned a lot about what it takes to be a firefighter.

“It’s pretty hard and you have to learn a lot.”
“They have to be ready and quick all the time.”
“They’re really important. They can save your life at any moment,” campers said.

You can learn more about next year’s camp by visiting the Kansas Firefighter’s Museum website.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Sedgwick addressing EMS issues

By Kelly Breckunitch
Newton Kansan – May 23, 2016

If you have a medical emergency in the city of Sedgwick, you know who to call. The question at the moment is who will respond to that call and who else might be paged by the Harvey County Communications Center, given the city’s recent issues.

As of March, it was reported that between 50 to 60 percent of emergency medical service calls to Sedgwick were forwarded to either Halstead or Newton. It got to the point that EMS staff from Sedgwick and Halstead approached Harvey County Communications Director Don Gruver with a joint solution, paging both offices on calls to Sedgwick, which Halstead EMS Director Andy Lowe said has been going on since February.

“I know they’re doing the very best they can and making every effort they can to fix this, but the end result is we have to figure out a way to get them help there as quickly as we can and when you’re talking about having it come from another town, that’s hard,” Gruver said.

There are several issues facing 911 and EMS staff across the country currently, so Sedgwick’s story is not a new or unfamiliar one. City administrator Jaci Reimer said it may not even be isolated in Kansas, suggesting that half of the third-class cities (population less than 2,000) in the state could be facing similar issues.

At the heart of the issue is a numbers game, since Sedgwick EMS is having trouble maintaining a staff capable of providing full 24/7 service 365 days a year.

In some ways, that is a temporary issue, as Reimer said those numbers ebb and flow. Currently, Sedgwick has a lot of volunteer staff aging out of the job and the department has not been able to find the necessary number of replacements.

While the Sedgwick EMS department has done some heavy recruiting recently, picking up two additional staff members, Reimer pointed to a trend of volunteerism going done overall (in schools, churches, civic organizations, etc.) contributing to the issue. However, the crux may be increasing certification requirements for emergency medical technicians that discourage volunteers from signing up or lead to them taking full-time positions elsewhere.

“It takes quite a lot of schooling nowadays to become an EMT, and then you have to do continuing education to keep it,” said Sedgwick Emergency Services Director and Fire Chief Tom Richardson. “They’re not making it easy on small town volunteers.”

“The state has made it much harder to get and that much harder to keep,” Reimer added on EMT certification.

To volunteer with EMS, EMT certification is required and while Richardson said that consisted of an eight-week class and 24 hours of continuing education every two years once upon a time, the requirements have now increased to an initial six-month course with a proposed 40 more hours of education every two years.

“That’s asking an awful lot for people who are volunteering their time. That’s the tough part of this,” Gruver said. “When they make that commitment, they are making a very huge commitment and that’s tough in this day and age with everybody being as busy as they are.”

Volunteers are paid for on-call time and per call, Richardson said, while the city will even help pay for the necessary education if they agree to serve so many hours a month over the course of one year. Once they have that certification, though, they are also able to get full-time positions with other county services or hospitals.

In Harvey County, only Newton has a full-time EMS department. The other cities have a varying number of full-time staff (no more than two usually) that are supplemented by volunteers. Currently, Sedgwick has 12 volunteers on staff (with three trained as paramedics), along with Richardson and Director of EMS Zane Hansen. Halstead has two full-time staff members along with 31 volunteers, according to Lowe.

Since the push to include Halstead on EMS calls to Sedgwick, Lowe noted the volume of pages has gone up and some calls are taking a little longer, but the department is managing.

As Sedgwick considers its options, from contracting with Halstead to adding more full-time staff, those volunteers could prove to be a valuable commodity. They have been a major asset for Lowe and Halstead and could make the difference in Sedgwick’s EMS department running more smoothly, something that needs to be addressed soon, according to Richardson.

“Those are really our options. If we don’t do something, then we’re going to be in trouble,” Richardson said.

Discussion of changes to emergency medical services are currently on the agenda for Sedgwick’s next city council meeting to be held on June 6.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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