Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category



OSFM Welcomes Dirk Christian as New Emergency Response Division Chief

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is pleased to welcome Dirk Christian, who has joined the team as the Emergency Response Division Chief. Dirk comes to OSFM from the University of Kansas, where he was the Fire Officer Program Manager for the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute. He has worked in the public safety and emergency services, with a 30-year military service career.

Dirk lives in Topeka with his wife, Amy, and has three children, Kylie, Alyssa and Jake. He also has a dog, Marley and a cat, Luna. He enjoys woodworking, camping, fishing and hunting in his spare time.

“I truly enjoy working with emergency services special operations,” Dirk said. “I have developed a unique set of experiences over the years through my involvement with the Kansas fire service and all of my experiences with the US Army and Army National Guard. As I retired from the military last year, I have pursued the ability to continue to work in these areas of public safety and this position. As the ER Division Chief for OSFM, it will allow me to continue to pursue my passion for service to state and to the nation.”

 

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Salina Fire K-9 Has Rare Skills

The Salina Fire Department has a member of its team who has rare skills. The agency’s K-9 is one of only two dogs of his kind in the country.

The Salina Fire Department has a new tool, in one of only two K-9s of its kind in the country.

According to the City of Salina, Fire Marshal Troy Long and his K-9 Hoke tested and passed their Foundation Skills Assessment with five other teams from the Kansas Task Force K-9 Unit on March 16th at Crisis City.

The team is now deployable assets for live-find disaster search in Kansas.

Hoke has now become one of two working K-9s in the United States to be certified as a dual purpose K-9 in accelerant detection/search and rescue. He is also one of three fire department based search dogs in the State of Kansas.

Over the next five weeks Long and Hoke will be preparing for a FEMA certification which makes them deployable anywhere in the United States.

“These K-9s are an invaluable resource not just across the state of Kansas, but the country. They have the ability to search and locate living victims trapped in structures and debris caused by natural and manmade disasters in a very short amount of time,” said Long.

 

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Kenneth Linot named Kansas VFW State Firefighter of the Year

Kenneth Linot, Derby Firefighter II, center left, was selected as the Kansas VFW 2018-19 State Firefighter of the Year. With him is, from left, Mayor Randy White; Jay Boyle, VFW Commander, VFW Post 7253; and Vance Hill, VFW Fifth District senior vice commander.

For Kenneth Linot, the major reward in his job as a Derby firefighter is clear: helping people in need and giving back to the community.

Linot, who has been with the department full time since 2012, was selected as the Kansas VFW 2018-19 State Firefighter of the Year.

He was presented with the award by VFW officials at the March 12 City Council meeting.

Linot said he is “very humbled.”

“It was unexpected,” he said. “Just something out of the blue.”

Linot was nominated for the award by Fire Chief Brad Smith, who cited Linot’s many career activities and accomplishments including being part of a team that rescued an elderly resident from his burning home in November 2016.

It was hard to pick out one individual in the department, Smith said, because “everyone carries the load,” but Linot is a solid representative of the staff.

“He’s a good reflection of what the department is all about,” he said. “It does make you proud.”

For his part, Linot credits his fellow firefighters for making his job go well.

Linot, 30, is a 2007 Rose Hill High School graduate. He went on to earn an associate’s degree in fire science from Butler Community College and has held a number of ranks and training levels including EMT, Fire Investigator I, hazardous materials technician and first responder for disasters.

He works extensively in education and fire prevention, including working with children who are involved in fire setting to help them understand the dangers of that activity.

Linot also works with high school students to give them an opportunity to see what the career entails.

Furthermore, he heads up Derby’s fire prevention program working with schools to educate young people.

In addition, he’s a volunteer with the Rose Hill and Douglass Fire Departments.

He lives in Douglass with his wife, Shawnell, and their three children.

Fire service runs in the blood line of the Linot family. His father, Melvin, is the deputy chief for Butler County’s Fire District No. 3, which his great grandfather helped start. His grandfather also was fire chief.

His older brothers also helped out as Rose Hill volunteers and one brother is now a fire marshal in Olathe.

When they were all in Rose Hill, there were many times when they got to meet up with each other – because they all responded to the same call.

Smith said Linot’s full slate of activities outside of responding to emergencies is an indication of what the field is like now.

“It’s not just sitting around waiting for the next call,” he said.

There is a lot of civic interaction, including education.

And Linot’s work in that regard has been especially important to Derby, he said.

“To me, fire prevention is one of the most important things we do,” he said.

 

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Fort Scott Fire Department to receive new engines and equipment

Every 25 years fire departments are mandated to refurbish their current engine to meet regulations or get a new one.

The Fort Scott fire department is in the process of getting a new engine with a ladder that will cost about $1.4 million, and another to hold water that will run about $400,000.

Rhonda Dunn, the Director of Finance for Fort Scott says, “We are currently looking into the retirement of two of our fire trucks and replacing two of those with newer fire trucks. We’re looking at all possibilities, were looking at all possibilities in hopes to find the best solution for our community.”

And the station and the city are still in the early stages of narrowing down their selections, but there are plenty of things to consider before they make their purchase.

“When you live in an old town, the 1800’s we have to be careful that it can maneuver the streets that we have. Also, we have a very low railroad bridge it has to go under, and so we have to consider the height of the equipment, the weight, the width and make sure it fits with our community,” she says.

And in addition to the engines, the fire department has plans to add new oxygen tanks to their fleet. Through the assistance to Firefighters Grant and a contribution from the city, the organization will be able to make the much needed upgrade.

Dave Bruner, deputy fire chief for the Fort Scott fire department says, “These air packs we have are 2004 models and 15 years, the bottles are actually obsolete so we would have to spend money to replace those bottles when we had an opportunity to go for a grant to purchase all the SCBA’s complete.”

The department plans to receive their new oxygen tanks by August. And the contribution from the grant and the city total to about $104,000.

Video

 

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Job Opening – Assistant Fire Director/EMT – Stafford County

Stafford County Board of Commissioners is accepting applications for an Assistant Fire
Director/EMT. This position will require a motivated individual with good personnel,
computer and managerial skills.
Qualified applicants should possess Firefighter 1 training, NIMS 100, 200, 700
certifications and a working knowledge of incident command or be willing to be trained
in this discipline. Applicant must be certified as a Kansas EMT.
Applicant must be willing to reside in St. John.
Salary is commensurate with experience and education. Stafford County offers an
excellent fringe benefit package. The job description and application are available at the
Stafford County Clerk’s Office, 209 N. Broadway, St. John, Kansas, (620) 549-3509.
Applications will be accepted until position is filled.
Stafford County is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

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Seven fire departments receive grant

Firehouse Subs and their Public Safety Foundation awarded $126,749 worth of lifesaving equipment grants to seven Kansas fire departments.

The dedication took place at the restaurant on North Greenwich Road Tuesday afternoon.

Those receiving the grants were the following:

Burrton Consolidated Fire District #5
City of Russell Fire Department
Clearwater Emergency Services 48
Hutchinson Fire Department
Reno EMS at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center
Sumner County Fire District 8
Valley Center Fire Department

Video

 

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Water Supply from the Nozzle Back Hosted by: Harvey County Emergency Services Training Academy

This class will deal with moving water on the fire scene. Whether rural, suburban, or urban, water is delivered to the target via a nozzle. As fire professionals we have to know what the nozzle can do. A successful nozzle team is totally dependent on a properly supplied hose for the nozzle selected.
-We will address all types of nozzles, but the main class emphases will be on what YOU have.
-We will discuss hose sizes and friction loss of the hose you carry.
-We will practice different types of supply methods with a practical exercise in rural ops.

Show up ready to learn a few things and participate. It will be fast paced with discussion of your equipment, from CAFs to booster lines. We will touch on it all.

More Info & Sign up form

 

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Retirement – Captain Larry Peters – Topeka Fire Department

More than 27 years ago a friend of Captain Larry Peters said he was going to take a test to become a firefighter.

“I said, ‘well, hey, I’m going to take the test too.’ He didn’t pass. I did. And I got the job,” Peter said.

The rest was history.

He joined the Topeka Fire Department in 1992 and since then he’s not a lot to be proud of.

Cleaning up the TFD

Capt. Peters is in charge of taking care of the bunker gear. He makes sure the gear is repaired when necessary and cleaned regularly.

“When I first came on the job we did not clean our gear. And we wore it dirty. And to some guys, the mark of a good fireman was having dirty gear,” he explained.

He helped change the way the department takes care of the gear.

A lot of things such as carcinogens collect on the gear over time and he makes sure it is safe at all times.

“The man makes the man. The gear does not make the man. So you will see the majority of firefighters wearing clean gear today. It doesn’t mean that they don’t fight fire. It means that we wash our gear today. And that’s one of the very things that I’m proud of,” he added.

Saving Lives

Fifteen years ago, Capt. Peters and another firefighter won the department’s second highest medal for their quick action that saved two firefighter’s lives.

“They fell through the burned out stairs. And somehow, I don’t know how we did it, we pulled him up and Gill and I pulled him up out of the basement, and I don’t know how we did it,” he remembered.

He says he jumped into action without a second thought, and he said it’s just part of the job.

Becoming Captain

Six years ago, he became Captain.

He made Station No. 6 in the Oakland Neighborhood his second home and embraced the community.

He also helped save the fire hydrant that sits right outside of the station. He gathered several local artists and community members who helped decorate the hydrant with drawings that reflect the community.

Shawn Frank with the Topeka Fire Department said his Captain has become very popular.

“We always have people come here all the time looking for him, dropping cookies off, dropping food off. You know coming to say hi,” he said.

Peters said his time in Oakland have been some of the best years of his life.

Saying Goodbye

While there have been so many great moments in his past, Capt. Peters is looking forward to his next chapter.

He will retire in the middle of March.

“I have a beautiful wife at home that’s waiting for me to come spend time with,” he said with a smile.

He said there is a lot he is sad to leave behind.

“I’m going to miss the men that I work with, the people that I work with. I’m going to miss seeing the people in the community here,” he said.

However he said he’s just happy to have had a fulfilling career.

“I’ve always found something for the last 15 years of my career to find something to be involved with and help out the department and do more,” he said.

Firefighters at Station No. 6 say whoever comes in next will have some big shoes to fill.

Video

 

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NOTICE OF VACANCY – Senior Administrative Assistant – Requisition #192491 – Closes 4/2/2019

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has an opening for a Full-time Unclassified Senior Administrative Assistant.

Duties will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • administrative assistant to the Emergency Response Division and other divisions as needed;
  • composes correspondence, memorandums and reports as needed;
  • route calls and e-mails to appropriate unit staff;
  • creates and maintains multiple databases;
  • coordinates various meetings, arranging dates, times and locations;
  • handles notifications and/or mailings;
  • takes and distributes meeting minutes and other associated responsibilities;
  • staff support to the HazMat and Search and Rescue Advisory Committees;
  • handles accounting tasks for the division to insure all expenses/reimbursements resulting from contracts or authorized incidents are paid within established guidelines;
  • works with other state agencies and federal entities to manage all state and federal grant funds allocated to the division;
  • writes and submits timely reports to meet grant obligations;
  • travel and overnight stays to assist with conference and/or symposium registration and provide administrative support is required.

Pay Rate: $13.61 per hour

Minimum Requirements:

  • One-year experience in general office, clerical and administrative support work.
  • Education may be substituted for experience as determined relevant by the agency.
  • Must have a current, valid Kansas driver’s license.

Preferred Skills:

  • strong computer skills especially with Microsoft Word, Excel and Access

Performance Standards:

To be successful, the expectation is that a candidate will be able to competently perform the routine tasks of the position with limited supervision within six (6) months of hire date.

HOW TO APPLY:  The application process has 3 STEPS:
STEP 1:  Register by completing the online Personal Data Form  (Skip this step if you already have an Applicant ID or Employee ID number).
STEP 2:  Complete the official State of Kansas application form  (include all employment and experience) and submit to the Fire Marshal.
STEP 3:  Email the additional required documents to brenda.schuette@ks.gov.

Include your name and job requisition number on all correspondence when submitting documents. 

Required Documents:

  • Online State of Kansas Application form sent to Fire Marshal
  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • College Transcripts, if applicable
  • Copy of all Training Certificates
  • current valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate
  • send to Brenda Schuette, brenda.schuette@ksfm.ks.gov

Your application will be considered incomplete and you will be found ineligible if you fail to submit the required documentation by the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

KANSAS TAX CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE REQUIRED
Each applicant applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain a valid Kansas Certificate of Tax Clearance by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website.  Your application will be considered incomplete if not submitted by the closing date of the job posting.

A Tax Clearance is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual’s account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws.  A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days.  Applicants, including current State employees, are responsible for submitting a valid certificate with all other application materials to the hiring agency.  This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03.  If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199.

Your application will be considered incomplete if an ACUTAL COPY of your certificate is not submitted on or before the vacancy closing date.

Recruiter Contact Information:
Name:  Brenda L. Schuette
Phone: 785-296-0654
Email: brenda.schuette@ks.gov

Process for Selection:  Upon receipt of your complete application packet, an evaluation of your qualifications will be conducted, and your status based on the established minimum requirements, and preferred selection criteria for the specific vacancy will be determined.  Based on your ranking in comparison with other applicants, you may/may not be referred for further consideration and/or possible interview.  If you are not selected for the vacancy, you will be notified within 30 days of the position being filled.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures you the right to reasonable accommodations.  A request for an accommodation will not affect your opportunities for employment with the State of Kansas.  Arrangements will be made if you have a disability that requires an accommodation for completing an application form, interviewing or any other part of the employment process.  It is your responsibility to make your needs known to the OSFM Recruitment Office at 785-296-0654.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an Equal Opportunity Employer

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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KSFFA Regional Fire School – Plainville – June 2019

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Plainville Fire Department
June 1-2, 2019
Location: Plainville High School, 202 SE Cardinal Avenue

Saturday – 8 a.m.

  1. Farm & Vehicle Extrication – 12 hrs.
  2. Rural & Suburban Water Supply – 8 hrs.
  3. Emergency Vehicle Operations – 8 hrs.
  4. KSFFA Skills Trailer (Ventilation, Firefighter Safety and Survival, RIT) – 12 hrs

Sunday – 8 a.m.

  1. Farm & Vehicle Extrication – cont.
  2. KSFFA Skills Trailer – cont.
  3. Wildland Fire (KSFFA)
  4. Building Construction
  5. Fire Cause & Determination

Sunday – NOON

  1. KSFFA Burn Trailer

Contact Info: Plainville Fire Chief Craig Wise 785-434-6406, cwise@cityofplainville-ks.gov or KSFFA NW Trustee Justin Couse 785-420-0465, justincouse1973@hotmail.com

  • These courses are offered at no charge.
  • These schools are open to all firefighters/EMS
  • The KSFFA furnishes medical insurance for all participants.
  • The KSFFA is not responsible for lost or damaged clothing or equipment.
  • If you desire to have Firefighter One or Two testing, this must be pre-registered through Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute.
  • The KSFFA offers fit testing with its porta-count machine at all regional fire school.

 

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Fire damages heavy rescue vehicle at Paola fire station

Paola firefighters didn’t have to go far to respond to a fire call that came in at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 5.

In fact, it was a Paola firefighter who made the call after realizing that the front cab of the department’s heavy rescue truck was on fire.

Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Hartig said the vehicle was pulled out of the bay earlier in the day and parked outside the station while firefighters performed standard maintenance. When a couple of firefighters went to drive the vehicle back inside, they discovered flames coming out of the dash area.

Hartig said he is proud of his firefighters who worked quickly to call in the fire and put out the flames using a fire extinguisher. If left unchecked for a few more seconds, Hartig said the flames likely would have burst through the front windshield and spread to the exterior of the vehicle.

Despite their quick work, the flames charred the front dash, and smoke heavily damaged the rest of the vehicle.

Some of the equipment lost in the fire includes a thermal imager valued at about $10,000 and a new 800 MHz radio system also valued at about $10,000. The radio system was installed in the vehicle about two weeks before the fire.

Hartig said the fire appears to be electrical in origin, but an exact cause has not yet been determined. Firefighters quickly sealed off the vehicle’s front cab with caution tape so the scene could be investigated by officials from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

City leaders told members of the Paola City Council, during a work session March 5, that the city’s insurance company EMC also plans to have an electrical engineer investigate the scene.

Meanwhile, Hartig and his fellow firefighters were left with the difficult task of trying to find a way to replace a vehicle that goes on nearly every fire call that comes into the station.

Luckily, Hartig said, less than a week earlier Miami County Fire District No. 1’s new Engine 5 arrived from Ohio, and fire district officials agreed to allow Paola firefighters to transfer over equipment and turn the engine into a temporary heavy rescue vehicle.

The equipment includes extrication tools, air cascade system for filling bottles, and confined space equipment, among others, Hartig said.

Because the engine also still features a water system and hoses, Hartig is calling it a rescue pumper.

Hartig said the damaged heavy rescue truck cost the city about $265,000 when it was purchased in 2007, and city officials said during the work session that it just had been paid off.

Job Opening – Fire Chief – Lawrence Fire Department

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical is a progressive, fast-paced organization committed to the pursuit of excellence, providing fully-integrated EMS and Fire Services to the City of Lawrence community. This commitment to excellence has yielded international accreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, and an Insurance Services Offices (ISO) rating of 1; one of only five departments state-wide and seventy-one internationally with this distinction. Ideal candidates for this position will possess superior communication skills, passion for public service and the community, and a predisposition for creativity and innovation.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Direct and review the strategic planning, organizational activities and operations, and executive-level administration of the Fire Medical Department. This includes all emergency medical and ambulance services, fire suppression, prevention, technical services and administration across seven stations and two support facilities with 143 sworn staff and supplemental civilian support teams. Coordinate assigned activities with other city departments and outside agencies; inform and evaluate City Policies and Procedures regarding Emergency Management; provide highly responsible and complex administrative support to the City Manager.

QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in fire science, emergency medical care, public administration, or a closely related field. Ten years of increasingly responsible command experience in an organized fire and emergency medical department including four to six years of high-level command, administrative, and supervisory responsibility. Experience working with an ISO-1 rated department and familiarity with accreditation process preferred. Must establish permanent residence within the incorporated boundaries of the City of Lawrence, Kansas within the first six (6) months after date of employment. Possession of, or ability to obtain, a valid KS driver’s license and Kansas Registry EMT or Paramedic license by date of hire.

MUST SUBMIT ONLINE APPLICATION BY:
Monday, April 8th, 2018
WWW.LAWRENCEKS.ORG/JOBS

 

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NOTICE OF VACANCY – Information Technology Manager – Requisition #192381 – CLOSES 3/25/2019*

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has an opening for an Unclassified Information Technology Manager.  This vacancy closed 3/25/2019.

Duties will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • managing and delivering the daily operations of all agency information technology systems and activities;
  • establish and implement long-term goals, policies, and procedures for the information technology unit;
  • provide all network infrastructure requirements;
  • recommend system enhancements;
  • determine long-term systems needs
  • and hardware/software acquisitions

Pay Rate:  $65,000.00 annually; can vary depending upon experience and qualifications.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
  • and five years’ experience in information systems and analysis;
  • or seven years’ experience in information systems and analysis.
  • Additional experience may be substituted for the required education as determined relevant by the agency.
  • Must have a current, valid Kansas driver’s license.

Preferred Skills:

  • Thorough knowledge of computer capabilities, equipment techniques and personnel utilization.
  • Thorough knowledge of activities related to voice, video and data communications, computer processing, work processing and database concepts.
  • Extensive knowledge of user agency information technology requirements and the ability to integrate these into software plans.
  • Ability to prepare technical and non-technical reports in a clear and concise manner both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to communicate effectively.
  • MCSC, CISCO Firewall experience, SQL Server, Server 2003, Server 2008R2 & Hyper V, and Server 2012 Operating System experience
  • Windows XP Client, Windows 7 and Windows 8 experience and Network experience desired.

HOW TO APPLY:  The application process has 3 STEPS:

STEP 1:  Register by completing the online Personal Data Form (Skip this step if you already have an Applicant ID or Employee ID number).

STEP 2:  Complete the official State of Kansas application form (include all employment and experience) and submit to the Fire Marshal.

STEP 3:  Email the additional required documents to brenda.schuette@ks.gov .

Include your name and job requisition number on all correspondence when submitting documents. 

Required Documents:

  • Online State of Kansas Application form sent to Fire Marshal
  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • College Transcripts
  • Copy of all Training Certificates
  • current valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate
  • send to Brenda Schuette, brenda.schuette@ksfm.ks.gov

Your application will be considered incomplete and you will be found ineligible if you fail to submit the required documentation by the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

KANSAS TAX CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE REQUIRED

Each applicant applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain a valid Kansas Certificate of Tax Clearance by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website at http://www.ksrevenue.org/taxclearance.html.  Your application will be considered incomplete if not submitted by the closing date of the job posting.

A Tax Clearance is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual’s account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws.  A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days.  Applicants, including current State employees, are responsible for submitting a valid certificate with all other application materials to the hiring agency.  This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03.  If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199.

Your application will be considered incomplete if an ACUTAL COPY of your certificate is not submitted on or before the vacancy closing date.

Recruiter Contact Information:

Name:  Brenda L. Schuette

Phone: 785-296-0654

Email: brenda.schuette@ks.gov

Process for Selection:  Upon receipt of your complete application packet, an evaluation of your qualifications will be conducted, and your status based on the established minimum requirements, and preferred selection criteria for the specific vacancy will be determined.  Based on your ranking in comparison with other applicants, you may/may not be referred for further consideration and/or possible interview.  If you are not selected for the vacancy, you will be notified within 30 days of the position being filled.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures you the right to reasonable accommodations.  A request for an accommodation will not affect your opportunities for employment with the State of Kansas.  Arrangements will be made if you have a disability that requires an accommodation for completing an application form, interviewing or any other part of the employment process.  It is your responsibility to make your needs known to the OSFM Recruitment Office at 785-296-0654.

*The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an Equal Opportunity Employer*

 

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Dodge City Fire Department history

Dodge City Hose Team. Two notable members were Wyatt Earp and Ed Masterson.

According to their mission, they are charged with serving the citizens of Dodge City through protection of life and property from losses from fire or other natural or man-made emergency situations.

Dodge City was founded in 1872, but it wasn’t until 1876 the privately owned Dodge City Fire Company formed with P.L. Beatty as its first Chief. Finally in 1887, the City formally established the Dodge City Fire Department. It was the three major fires in 1885 which led to the establishment of a municipal department. These fires were huge, each destroying entire city blocks.

Merely a day before the first fire struck on Jan. 18, 1885, one of the four of Dodge City newspapers, “Kansas Cowboy,” printed “Dodge City is a little paradise for fire insurance companies…” Before that date, there had been no disastrous fires because Dodge City had been a 24-hour town and there was always somebody awake and alert enough to put out fires or sound an alarm.

The first inferno started in a grocery store and burned eight businesses to the ground. The next devastating fire held off until November 29, 1885 when fire engulfed the block on Front Street between First and Second Avenues. The third fire came only 10 days later and destroyed the block just north of Walnut (Gunsmoke) between First and Second.

These three fires were disastrous financially. The second fire alone cost over $150,000 which is close to four million in 2019 dollars. The heart of Dodge City burned in these three blazes. Among the 14 businesses destroyed in the second fire were the iconic establishments of Delmonico’s Restaurant, Zimmermann’s Hardware, the Long Branch Saloon, Hoover’s Liquor Store and R.M. Wright & Company General Store.

This series of conflagrations would have killed most towns, but like a phoenix, Dodge City rose from the ashes. This was most apparent when Robert M. Wright contracted to have a replacement building constructed as his store was still burning. Dodge City’s newly formed Fire Department quickly made a name for itself when its 15 man fire hose team broke a world record at the 1887 Annual Fireman’s Tournament in Denver. Eleven men pulled a hose cart 450 feet, while two men pulled 100 feet of hose and hooked it to a hydrant, and the other two men shot a stream of water at least 20 feet.

They did all this in just a little under 32 seconds – a record which still stands. For this, the men won $800 (over $21,000 in 2019 money) and a silver fireman’s trumpet which is now at Boot Hill Museum.

It is uncertain where the first fire station was located.

Chalkley Beeson was the first Fire Chief and held the office until 1909. In 1888, Dodge City built a City Hall at Second and Trail which contained the U.S. Land Office, City offices and Fire Department. For the next 33 years the Department was housed there until moving to 313 Walnut (Gunsmoke) in 1921. In 1929, they moved into the new City Hall on Boot Hill. In 1950, the Department opened a south station at 105 South Second, which was replaced in 1995 by the current south station at 709 South 14th. In the meantime in 1990, they dedicated station at 201 Soule Street after moving out of the City Hall building.

Today Dodge City these two stations are manned by paid firefighters and EMT’s. They, along with the Ford County Fire Department, work hard to protect Dodge Citians from fires and to assist during medical emergencies.

Two notable people who have worked for the Dodge City Fire Department: Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson’s brother, Ed.

 

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Looking for historic fire stations in Kansas

Fire stations have been a landmark in Kansas communities since the early days of statehood. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but each one has contributed a great deal to the history of its community. The Kansas Historical Society is looking for firehouses across the state in an effort to document them for posterity and recognize their stories. Do you have a historic firehouse built before 1975 in your city or community? Know of an older fire station serving a rural or volunteer fire department?  We would love to hear about it! Send us a picture, date of the firehouse, and city or address when available. Email information about the stations to kshs.shpo@ks.gov.

 

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Hutchinson Fire Department awards

 

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Walton Fire Department promotions

The Walton Fire Department recently promoted several of its volunteers, moving those with experience into its top leadership roles and assigning a new role to former Chief Merlyn Johnson.

Johnson started volunteering as a firefighter in 1986 and has officially served as Walton’s fire chief for the past 14 years.

“We don’t get many cats out of trees. …We got a parrot off of the top of the elevator once,” Johnson laughed.

His motivation for joining the department came from a desire to support the town he lives in.

“It’s hard to find people who will give of themselves. We don’t get paid for what we do,” Johnson said.

Johnson and the other volunteer firefighters spend around 300 hours each year training for and responding to emergencies.

“When people call 911, they’re having the worst day of their lives and we’re expected to go deal with it,” Johnson said.

Besides grass and structure fires, the department also handles wrecks, natural disasters and hazard material spills.

“If I had to name one thing that we’d never have to do again, it’d be car accidents. Those are just the worst,” said WFD Captain Jeremy Ashby.

Johnson agreed dealing with wrecks has been the toughest aspect of the job, taking an emotional toll.

Several of the hundreds of crashes he has seen stick in Johnson’s memories, including one where he saw a woman drive past him in a suburban. Seconds later, he heard the distinctive sound of metal hitting metal as the suburban rammed headfirst into a semi. Miraculously, the driver survived.

Another car crash victim was unable to be saved after striking a tree and being partly ejected from the vehicle. Johnson and a fellow responder performed CPR on the young woman for two hours before being told there was no hope for her survival.

“That was a big one for me. When (the doctor) said we had to let her go, well, he was the doctor,” Johnson said.

Adding passing lanes and wider shoulders to Highway 50 has drastically reduced the number of deaths from car wrecks around Walton.

“We still run from one to three fatality accidents a year; we used to run from 12 to 15 a year,” Johnson said.

Each call is different and can affect the firefighters in different ways.

“EMT and medical training teaches you how to deal with a patient; they don’t teach you how to deal with death,” Johnson said.

“I don’t think anybody can be trained how to walk into it; the key is to provide a service for people to walk out of it,” Ashby said.

That is why both Ashby and Johnson are part of Harvey County’s Critical Incident Stress Management team.

Johnson said if it wasn’t for the CISM team, he would have been overwhelmed by the suicidal thoughts that started about five years into his firefighting career. Now, he prioritizes debriefings with the younger volunteers in his department after traumatic calls.

“I look at it as keeping my employees,” Johnson said.

Walton Fire Department also assists neighboring fire departments with large-scale incidents. Of those, the wildfires that burned near Burrton in 2016 was the most challenging, Johnson said.

Ashby, who was with Johnson at the time, recalled seeing trucks and horses going over the roads while they were on fire. The smoke was so thick at times, the men could not see each other while sitting in the same vehicle.

“The first three or four hours, I don’t know how we didn’t have anybody killed. It was a war zone,” Johnson said.

Johnson was placed in a command position to battle the winds blowing over 40 mph and burning grasses and trees throwing up flames topping 20 feet high.

The incident command system used was the same one Johnson helped to implement in Harvey County in 1991.

“It’s a structured way of managing incidences; turning chaos into a manageable situation,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s days spent fighting the wildfires — and years of additional experience — is something Ashby said is invaluable to the fire department. While no longer serving as chief, Johnson plans to spend at least the next year in his new role as a liaison officer for the Walton Fire Department.

“In a paid department, once that chief retires he doesn’t come back to help guys like myself who are working their way through the officer ranks,” Ashby said. ”…It’s just a confidence builder for me to know that I’m learning, but Merlyn’s there as instantaneous backup.”

“I’ve never been one to do it all. That’s not being lazy; it’s not being selfish, either. It’s sharing the load,” Johnson said. “How do you get involvement and ownership in the department? You give your captains and firefighters jobs to do, they do them and they feel good about it.”

Having co-chiefs for the fire department allows the volunteers to split up the responsibilities of operations and administration.

“That’s really rewarding, to watch people grow and know that the fire department doesn’t just revolve around one or two individuals,” Ashby said.

“We have a good department with a bunch of good people,” Johnson said.

Walton Fire Department provides and receives mutual aid from other fire departments, both in Harvey County and neighboring counties.

“We have an unbelievably lucky situation working in Harvey County, because our departments work well with them,” Johnson said.

Ashby said it is easy to call for additional resources — and sometimes aid is volunteered before it is requested.

“We’ve had fires where people have gone out of their way to call in and say, ‘hey, we’re available,’” Ashby said.

Recently, a system has been put in place to page several fire departments at the same time for structure fires in or around Walton.

“If we have a structure fire in town, automatically Hesston, Newton and Whitewater are coming to our fire,” Johnson said.

If the fire chief determines other departments are not needed for a fire, they will radio in to release them, but critical minutes are saved in case additional units are necessary.

That practice also gives support to the department because many of the volunteers do not work in Walton and may be unable to arrive quickly.

“When (a fire) happens, it happens. We don’t know,” Johnson said.

Recruiting new volunteers to the fire department is another challenge Johnson has taken on for several decades.

“Merlyn has single-handedly brought on 90 percent of the people we have right now,” Ashby said.

Around 20 years ago, the response to 9/11 brought an influx of young men to the fire department.

“Now, the average age is probably 30. We’re not seeing that younger generation. Our new members are probably 30-plus,” Ashby said.

Johnson said he is careful about asking people to volunteer; looking for people who own homes in Walton and are at a good time in their life to take on the role.

“It’s a major commitment. We don’t want someone for six months and then they’re gone,” Johnson said.

Walton Fire Department promotions

Bill Kemph has been with the Walton Fire Department for 19 years and has served every role on the fire department at some point in time. He has been the Assistant Chief for over a decade. Recently, he took on the role of Co-Chief alongside former Chief Johnson.
Chris Utter brings over 17 years of service to Harvey County residents. He has been promoted to Co-Chief to serve alongside Chief Kemph.
Will Kemph, with 12 years of firefighting experience, was promoted to Captain of the Red Crew. Kemph also serves as a full-time firefighter for Sedgwick County Fire District 1.
Tyson Old has served the Walton Fire Department for five years and was promoted to Captain of the Green Crew.
Kyle Kientz, with 13 years of experience at the Walton Fire Department, has been promoted to the role of Safety Officer.
Jeremy Ashby has been with the Walton Fire Department for nine years and was promoted to Captain of the Blue Crew.
Merlyn Johnson has taken on the role as Liaison Officer. Johnson has experience working many incidents throughout Harvey County since 1986. Johnson has served as the Walton Fire Chief for 14 years.

 

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The Jon Clair Memorial Golf Tournament 2019

The Jon Clair Memorial Golf Tournament 2019

 

 

Job Opening – Fire Medic – Overland Park Fire Department

The City of Overland Park Fire Dept is accepting applications for the position of full time Fire Medic.

Responsibilities: This is a highly skilled fire fighting, emergency medical services and fire prevention position. Extinguishes and prevents fires to protect life and property; performs basic and advanced life support care to the sick and injured, maintains fire station equipment, apparatus, quarters, and operating equipment; provides public education; and prevention duties. Work is performed in accordance with general supervision and written procedures, under the command of a superior officer.

Requirements: High school diploma or GED. Associates Degree in Fire Science and/or Emergency Medicine is preferred. Must possess a Kansas Paramedic certification. Must be certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Must possess a valid driver’s license and maintain an insurable driving record. Medical certification required for use of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus. Must have a current paramedic and AED certification by the Kansas Board of EMS or National Registry. If National Registry certified, employee must obtain Kansas Board of EMS certification within first year of employment. Employees hired prior to July 1, 2011 must be Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 qualified and have satisfactory progress with the ongoing competencies and requirements of the equivalent of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Professional Firefighter Qualifications, NFPA 472 Hazardous Materials Competencies for the First Responder at the Operational Level, and NFPA 1002 Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualifications and Certifications. Employees promoted to Fire Medic or hired after July 1, 2011 must have Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 Certification in the State of Kansas or equivalent International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) or Pro Board Certification. Valid CPAT required. No City residency requirement.

Attaching a resume does not complete the application.  You must fully complete the application to be considered for employment.  All fields including the required licenses and certificates must be completed or you will be automatically disqualified.  An email address is necessary to apply online and receive an electronic confirmation that you successfully submitted the application.

Must successfully pass a background check, drug screen, physical, and psychological evaluation.

Qualified applicants will be scheduled for a FireTeam Video Test March 21, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at the Fire Training Center. Learn more at www.ergometrics.org.  Copies of all required certifications will be collected at this time and are mandatory before allowing entrance into the exam. A photo ID will be required before allowing entrance into the exam.

Normal Work Hours:  24-hour shift; schedule to be determined by supervisor.

Salary:  $3,686/mo.

Application Deadline: 3/15/2019

Benefits:  Full-time

EO/M/F/D/V

Job Opening – Firefighter/EMT – Great Bend Fire Department

The City of Great Bend is accepting applications for the position of Firefighter-EMT, or Paramedic.
Primary responsibilities will include fire protection and EMS response/transport. This position requires a thorough knowledge of the operation and maintenance of equipment and principles of Fire Science, EMS and department operations.
Applicant must possess a high school diploma or GED and be at least 18 years of age. Applicant must possess a valid Kansas driver’s license and EMT certification prior to hire. We will accept the C.P.A.T. or applicant will be required to take the in-house physical agility and Fire Team testing.

Randy Keasling, Director of Human Resources
The City of Great Bend
PO Box 1168
1209 Williams
Great Bend, KS 67530
Fax: 620-793-4108
Phone: 620-793-4111

Johnson County Fire District #1 hosts bell christening, badge pinning ceremony

Photo by Johnson County Fire District #1

Surrounded by over 150 family members, friends and local leaders, the members of Fire District #1 recently held their bell ceremony and badge pinning ceremony.
The fire service of today is ever changing but is steeped in a tradition that is over 200 years old. One such tradition is the sounding of the fire bell.
These traditions are used as symbols, which reflect honor and responds to those who have given so much and who have served so well. An old tradition with the bell is to sound the alarm for a fire call. The bell would sound again when the task was completed, and the unit had returned to the station. The bell is also used when a firefighter has made the ultimate sacrifice. This time-honored tradition continues today during funerals and memorial services for firefighters.
A christening ceremony for the department’s first Firefighter’s Bell was led by Rob Kirk, fire chief. Kirk, assisted by Dennis Meyers, assistant fire chief, and Rick George, chaplain, rang in the bell.
Ray Casey, who served as fire chief in the 70’s – 80’s was in attendance along with his wife Peggy. Casey was honored by placing his hands on the bell and remembering his fondest memories. He was joined by his children, Kathi Flynn of Gardner, Carl Casey of Lenexa, Mike Casey, duty chief of Overland Park Fire Department, Scott Casey, assistant chief, of Fire District #1. They were also surrounded by family and friends.

The bell ceremony concluded with the reading of the Fireman’s Prayer by George.
The bell will be used for memorial services for fallen firefighters and other formal occasions.
The event then moved to the promotional and badge pinning ceremony. The badge pinning ceremony emphasises the dedication and professionalism of each firefighter, and their commitment to serving the residents of Fire District #1.
Kirk spoke directly to the honored members speaking about the history and honor of the badge. The ceremony included the pinning of their new rank position badge by a selected member of their family.
“The badge pinning ceremony is a time-honored tradition signifying the introduction and transition of new departmental members to their positions. It is an opportunity to recognize their efforts in front of colleagues, department officials, family and friends,” Kirk said.
Promotions included Scott Casey to assistant fire chief, Trig Morley to battalion chief community preparedness and emergency operations, Aaron Winkler, captain, to battalion chief training division, Rob Hudspeth, captain, to battalion chief, Adam Robinson, lieutenant, to captain, Bill Templeton, lieutenant, to captain, and Dain Weese, master firefighter, to lieutenant.
Probationary firefighters who met all the requirements of their probation were presented their helmet shields. The firefighters receiving this honor include Nathan Heinen, Justin Donnell and Wyatt Richerson.
Three new members were officially welcomed into full time service: Travis Evans, Sterling Lehman and Brandon Sattler.
Fire District #1 has 44 staff members and 15 volunteers who serve the communities of Gardner, Edgerton and New Century along with the Gardner & McCamish Township. The department responded to over 3,000 calls for service a year in 2018.

 

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Job Opening – Fire Chief – Derby Fire Department

Fire Chief Recruitment Flyer_FINAL

 

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Concordia Fire Department participates in Air Climb

Members of the Concordia Fire Department were among the firefighters participating in the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb at Kansas City One Place on Sunday.
The Concordia Fire Department (CFD) Brothers team in the event, which raises funds for the American Lung Association, were Derek Champlin, Kelsey Larsen, Levi Whitley, Erin Williams, and honorary member Jace Champlin.
The firefighters wore full bunker gear adding about 65 pounds to their bodies during the climb up 42 floors (902 stairs).
Each climber wore a banner over their tanks with names of people who have suffered, or are suffering, due to a lung-related disease or illness.
The CFD Brothers team was presented the plaque for winning the event as a team last year.
Whitley defended his 2018 title as the fastest climber with a time of 11:17.
The CFD Brothers team bettered its average time of 20:00 last year with 18:01 this year, and finished behind Gladstone.
Gladstone’s average time was 14:31.
The Concordia Fire Department is appreciative of the community in helping raise $1,629 for the American Lung Association’s ongoing research and support for lung-related illnesses and diseases and would like to thank the media outlets for the coverage, Yeti Yoga participants, business donors, and private donors.

 

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New fire trucks for Arkansas City Fire Department

The Arkansas City Fire Department this week welcomed two new additions to its station.

Pickup 53 is a grass truck and Engine 52 is a rescue pumper. The two emergency vehicles will undergo radio installations and crew training before they are put into service in a few weeks.

A wash-down, push-in will be scheduled in a few weeks to allow the community to view the trucks up close and carry on a tradition started long ago by firefighters operating horse-drawn carriages.

No specific date has been chosen for that event, but Chief Bobby Wolfe said, “It needs to be soon, because we need to get these in service.”

City officials were taken for a ride in the new pumper Friday and viewed it privately outside the department allowing for remarks and impressions.

ACFD Engine 52

This pumper truck was designed by the ACFD starting in September. Wolfe said they designed it with more than just fires in mind. Making modifications to the basic build allows the new engine to respond to accidents with the proper equipment required such as jaws of life and other special equipment for rollovers.

The $620,000 vehicle has a built-in hose on the front that can be quickly pulled out in the event of a vehicle fire or dumpster fire. The pump can stream 2,000 gallons per minute; the older one can only pump 1,500 gallons a minute.

Wolfe said fire officials traveled to Farrara, a manufacturer in Louisiana, and started with a base design, then walked through a plant picking parts and compartments to utilize or discard.

Wolfe said the inspection team and dealership were so impressed with the design of the pumper that it was taken to a Missouri show for other agencies looking to buy.

The truck has rotary LED lights on the front that catch the attention of oncoming traffic and vehicle’s rearview mirrors. It is equipped with backup cameras, flood lights and netted compartments.

New technology includes a “black box” allowing for review in case an accident occurs involving the truck. A loud alarm is installed to enforce seat belts. The pumper even includes a system that alerts the dealership, manufacturer and the fire chief’s phone if anything goes wrong with the truck, such as a check engine light or other mechanical issues.

The total cost of the engine was approved by the city after a small discount for unnecessary pin striping and paint work.

Pickup 53

This new grass truck is a Ford F-550 diesel engine customized by Blanchat Manufacturing Inc., in Harper. The $140,000 truck is equipped with a 600-gallon water tank, double the size of the older one.

It has single axles in the front and back allowing for easier trekking over terrain with even more ground clearance than the previous truck.

This truck was designed and build specifically for wild-land areas in Cowley County, which includes rocky areas, hills and valleys.

The front of the truck has driver-operated water sprayers to dampen the hot areas in front of the truck to minimize the heating and melting of plastics and tires.

A firefighter in the spraying area will be protected by a roll cage mounted on the back, which includes a harness in case of a rollover. This rig is customized with a control unit giving the firefighter in the back direct access to the water and light controls instead of requiring changes inside the cab.

The water tank was fitted lower in the frame on this model in order to give the vehicle a lower center of gravity, making it much safer to drive with a full tank.

 

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Courage Under Fire – Shawnee Fire Department

Courage Under Fire flyer

 

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Hays Fire Department new training tower

New firefighters discover that fighting a real fire is different from what they imagined.

“Most people say it’s hotter than they expected,” says Hays Fire Chief Ryan Hagans. “You can still feel the heat, even through the suits.”

Training for the real thing will be closer at hand now, with the arrival Wednesday of a new three-story drill tower at the old Frank Stremel Softball Fields on Old U.S. Highway 40 and Chetolah Creek.

Constructed of 40-foot steel shipping containers on a 100-foot by 125-foot concrete pad, the tower has doors, walls, walkways and stairs. Eventually it may even have some furniture, said Hagans.

The Hays Fire Department’s 22 uniformed firefighters will use the tower to practice technical skills, including search and rescue, advancing fire hose, and rappelling with ropes while carrying heavy gear and a couple hundred pounds of fire hose.

The tower has three 40-foot steel shipping containers on the first floor, two on the second floor and two 20-foot containers on the third floor. It was manufactured, delivered and installed by Illinois-based American Fire Training Systems Inc.

The department may start training on the tower as early as next week, Hagans said. Now the firefighters won’t have to practice in the parking lot behind the fire station at 1507 Main, or by wrapping hose around parked cars, on playground equipment in the city’s parks, or whatever else they can think of.

“You just use your imagination. And now we don’t have to hope there’s an old house being torn down somewhere to practice on,” Hagans said. “This is huge, not only for us, but for any fire department in the area. It gives us a dedicated space to train.”

A separate live burn building will sit next to the tower. The 40-foot steel container will simulate the interior of a building, but with movable walls so the configuration can be changed.

“There’s some shelving on one end, and we can fill it with hay and scrap wood and set it on fire,” Hagans said.

The biggest portion of funding for the tower came from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Logan, with a $272,000 grant. The fire department spent $50,000 from its budget. The City of Hays is contributing $63,000 for the waterline and hydrants.

 

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Don Strahm’s fundraiser

“It’s not what stands in front of you. It’s who stands beside you.”

Tonight at our meeting we met with retired firefighter Don Strahm and his family. Don served over 30 years on the department before retiring last year. Don is currently battling cancer and like he did for us for over 30 years as a fireman, we are going to stand beside him through this next battle. This Sunday at our pancake breakfast we are selling t-shirts with the quote up above in support of Don. All proceeds will go directly to Don and his family. If you would like to support Don but are not able to attend our pancake feed please message us.

Sabetha Fire Department Facebook

 

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Job Opening – Firefighter Pending Paramedic & Firefighter Paramedic – KCK Fire Dept

More information & application form – Firefighter-Pending-Paramedic-Firefighter-Paramedic Feb 2019

 

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John “Johnny/Snoop” Snodgrass

John “Johnny/Snoop” Snodgrass, 53, of Lansing, KS, passed away February 11, 2019. He was born May 19, 1965 to William Leroy and Shige Snodgrass in Huntsville, Alabama. He graduated from Lansing High School in 1983 and while in school, he participated in many activities, including athletics, band, and drama. He then attended The United States Military Academy at West Point. After attending for a year, he went to the University of Kansas and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in business in 1988. He was firefighter and served on both Delaware Township Fire Department as a volunteer and Leavenworth’s departments. He served on the Leavenworth departments for 19 years and was a captain. He also worked for B & W Fire, LLC for a period of time. John enjoyed golfing, fishing, helping coach his kids’ sports teams, and hanging out with friends. No matter where he went, he was always willing to lend a hand in any way that he could. He had a big heart and loved his family and friends dearly. John was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his daughters, Miya (Spencer) Comely of Atchison, KS; Madelyn Snodgrass of Lansing, KS; son William Snodgrass of Lansing, KS; brothers Michael Snodgrass of Lansing, KS; Daniel Snodgrass of Madison, OH; David Snodgrass of Cleveland, OH; Richard Snodgrass of Topeka, KS. He is also survived by granddaughter Spencer Comely and numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held Monday, February 18, 2019 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Davis Funeral Chapel. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 11:00 am at the Davis Funeral Chapel with burial following at Mount Muncie Cemetery in Lansing, KS. Memorial contributions can be made to Firefighters Memorial Fund or the Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope.

 

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SCAFFA School – March 2019

State Capital Area Firefighters Association is to host their Annual SCAFFA Fire Training School at the Ramada Inn Downtown Topeka. Firefighters and Emergency Medical Personnel from all over the state, including some from surrounding states attend the school every year. The school offers fire training and medical certification hours, as well as an opportunity to get hands on with equipment and tools from vendors in one of the largest vendor displays in the state.

Co-sponsored by: State Capital Area Firefighters Association (SCAFFA), Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI), EMS Tech, Kansas State Firefighters Association (KSFFA), Topeka Fire Dept, Kansas Forest Service, 10-33 Foundation, Kansas Task Force 1, Silver Lake Fire Dist, Shawnee Heights Fire Dept, Dover Fire Dept, Mission Township Fire Dept, Soldier Township Fire Dept, Kansas Dept of Health & Environment (KDHE), Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office, SNCO Emergency Management, Johnson Co Consolidated Fire Dist 2, AMR, Midwest Card Solutions

For more information – https://www.scaffa.org/scaffa-school

 

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Seward County partners with community college for firefighter-resident program

A red flag warning remains in effect for parts of southwest Kansas including in Seward County until late Wednesday.

With a shortage of volunteers for local fire departments, students at Seward County Community College are stepping in to fight fires when they’re not in class.

The Seward County Fire Department partnered with the college to start the student-resident firefighter program. They say the goal is to be out the door in two minutes.

“We can get three engines, a 3,000-gallon tanker out the door within two minutes basically at any time now. Before that, you were looking at 10 – 15 minutes by the time the page call person got back,” said Seward County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley.

The fire department currently has 12 men on duty. With the program, they also have five students fully staffed.

Students must be enrolled full-time at the college to be a part of the program and take advantage of other benefits.

“We take care of tuition, we take care of meal plans, and we provide room and board and in return, they have to maintain a 2.5 GPA and be a full-time student at Seward County Community College,” said Barkley.

For Jaime Gutierrez, having the support of their professors has allowed him to manage both roles easier.

“All of our professors know that we’re firefighters and if something happens, we leave during class. Or if we’re late to class in the morning, you know, there was probably a call or something,” he said.

You can find out more about SCCC’s firefighter resident program here.

 

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Six Coffeyville firefighters are honored

Fire Chief Bob Roesky, Captain Rex Reardon, Lt. Jon Graham, Firefighter Eric Fritz; Driver Jake Dean and Firefighter Caleb Horn

Six Coffeyville firefighters are honored with Lifesaving Medals for their efforts in a November house fire.

Three people were in the house at the time of the fire, while six firefighters sprung into action. Two of the victims succumbed to their injuries sustained in the fire, but one life was saved thanks to the emergency responders’ heroic efforts.

In a social media post on Facebook, the City of Coffeyville writes:
“Fire Captain Rex Reardon and his crew – Jon Graham, Kevin Midgett, Jake Dean, Eric Fritz and Caleb Horn – were presented with medals during the Tuesday City Commission meeting for their actions in saving a life during a structure fire in November.

The 911 call came in early on the morning of November 24. A two-story house at 1508 South Willow was on fire with people trapped inside. The Coffeyville Fire Department was dispatched and six firefighters quickly left the station in E-3 and E-1. Also notified were off duty fire personnel along with the South Coffeyville Fire Department and CRMC EMS.

When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out a second floor window. Firefighters Eric Fritz and Caleb Horn set up a ladder and entered the window where they found two female occupants. Fire Captain Rex Reardon and Lieutenant Jon Graham and Driver Jake Dean assisted with getting the occupants down the ladder and into ambulances.

According to a report by Fire Chief Bob Roesky, a neighbor notified CFD there was still a male occupant inside the house. “Lieutenant Kevin Midgett entered the second story window and located the male,” stated Roesky. “Kevin got him out of the house and was assisted by firefighters down the ladder where he was then loaded into the ambulance.”

Coffeyville Police Department officers Justin Hanigan, Brian Twitchell, Russell White and Lieutenant Darin Daily were on scene where their normal duty in a structure fire is to set up a perimeter to block traffic. With all the firefighters working to rescue the occupants, the officers jumped into action. White pulled fire hose, and he and Hanigan put water on the fire until the additional firefighters arrived. All four officers assisted with loading victims in the ambulances.

Chief Roesky was going to drive one of the ambulances to CRMC, however, his assistance was needed in the back with the patients. Officers Twitchell and Hanigan drove the ambulances to CRMC which allowed all the EMT’s to be with the patients.

All fire victims were transported to CRMC, and two were life flighted to Tulsa. The fire eventually claimed two lives, however, the third victim has been released from the hospital, and she is recovering from her injuries.

“You are heroes,” said Mayor Paul Bauer as Chief Roesky presented the medals. “It is a privilege, and we are all proud to honor the heroic efforts of the three firefighters who entered the burning two-story house to rescue the occupants, and the three who got them down the ladder and into ambulances,” said Bauer. The lifesaving awards were presented as a representation of the training and dedication the firefighters displayed in the rescue and the saving of a human life.

Bauer also noted that letters of commendation from Police Chief Kwin Bromley will be given to police officers Twitchell, White, Hanigan and Daily in recognition of their assistance at the scene.

 

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WASPS to help firefighters from the sky

Firefighters in Kansas will be getting extra help to battle flames from the sky.

“The quicker you are on top of the fire, fighting it, the better results you have,” says Ag Pilot Bill Garrison.

That is the idea.

“The more coordinated resources we can get on scene, earlier, the better,” Rodney Redinger of the Kansas Forest Service adds.

Garrison is an experienced AG pilot who can now say he also is a firefighter in the sky.

“When we get a phone call, we go dump water on fire,” he explains.

It’s that simple.

“There is just some areas where you can not get fire trucks,” Redinger explains.

What Redinger says the state realized after the Highland fires in 2017 was that pilots like Garrison just wanted to help.

“Flames were over the cockpit of the airplane,” he says. “I was flying at night.”

Redinger says, “It just wasn’t as easy to get access to those resources.”

Now, it is. Redinger says it was essentially about closing a communication gap. Instead of people like Garrison trying to coordinate with fire departments, the state has stepped in, and established a form of contact on the ground to make that easier.

“What we wanted to be able to do was expand those local connections out across the state,” says

Pilots like Garrison can now use their skills behind the sticks to help from above.

“It can be kind of exciting,” he says.

“It is another tool in the tool box and when used appropriately can make a big difference,” Redinger says.

There are currently seven of those pilots in the state. Each goes through a day of field and tactic training to better understand what kind of help firefighters need from the ground.

Video

 

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Essentials of Fire Chaplaincy Training Course – Update on date

When: February 28 & March 1

Where: Goodland Fire Station

Instructor- Pastor Frank McCrary

The “Essentials of Fire Chaplaincy” is a foundational training course for the fire department chaplain. This two-day course is the basis for training recognition by the Federation of Fire Chaplains and earns the student a certificate from the FFC upon completion. U.S. Fire Departments are now using this FFC training as the standard for fire chaplaincy across the country, allowing chaplains to minister within the fire service wherever life takes them.

The content of the Essentials course was developed by fire chaplains across the country to be practical help for on scene and in-firehouse ministry. Instructors are certified by FFC to teach using an interactive approach which involves students in the classroom process.

This course provides an opportunity for everyone – experienced chaplains, new chaplains, and prospective chaplains alike – to learn valuable lessons about Fire Chaplaincy. The class consists of 16 hours of instruction, over the course of two days, covering the following areas:

  • History of Chaplaincy
  • Personhood of the Chaplain
  • Ministry to Crisis Victims
  • Ministry to Fire Personnel
  • Introduction to Critical Incident Stress
  • Introduction to Incident Command
  • Fire Chaplain Safety
  • Firefighter Injury and Death
  • Fire Department Funerals
  • Confidentiality & Professionalism

You must be present for the entire 16 hours of instruction to receive a Certificate for the course from the Federation of Fire Chaplains.

Class Location:

Goodland Fire Station/Wolak Building

1006 Center

Goodland, KS 67735

Materials Needed– Essentials of Fire Chaplaincy Manual (if you do not have this, here is a link to order a hard copy or a thumb drive version.) https://ffc.wildapricot.org/page-1442241

Schedule:

Feb. 28

Start- 0800-1200

Lunch

Resume- 1300-1900

March 1

Start- 0800-1200

Lunch

Resume- 1300-1500

Travel Home

Contact:

Lt. Matthew Breininger, Cell: 785-821-3876 email: goodlandfd@gmail.com

Lt. Michael Dorn, Cell: 785-821-2541 email: seedman20@gmail.com

 

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NOTICE OF VACANCY – Fire Investigator – Requisition #192020 – Vacancy closes 2/19/2019

The Office of the State Fire Marshal has an opening for an Unclassified Fire Investigator.

Duties will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • conducts investigations to determine origin and cause of fires and explosions;
  • conducts criminal investigations in to violations of the arson criminal code, including other criminal offenses that impel arson;
  • investigates, inspects and maintains accurate records on permits and/or licenses issued by the OSFM for those who apply;
  • testifies in court as an expert;
  • conducts and attends training sessions;
  • performs administrative duties such as submitting reports and record keeping;
  • maintains and operates assigned state vehicle and equipment.
  • Extensive travel, including overnight is required of this position.

This position covers the counties of Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Douglas and Johnson.  Residency within the territory is preferred however; this will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Pay Rate:  $21.13 per hour ($43,950.40 annually).

Minimum Requirements:

  • Two years’ experience in general law enforcement and criminal investigation.
  • A four-year college degree in a Criminal Justice field may be substituted for the required experience.  In order to substitute education for experience, a college transcript must be submitted at time of application.
  • Must have a current full-time law enforcement certification issued by the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Commission (KLETC).  Out of state certifications will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.

Necessary Special Requirements:

  • Must be a United States citizen and at least 21 years of age.
  • At time of offer, candidate must take and pass a drug screening tests approved by the Office of Personnel Services and take a pre-employment physical.
  • Top candidates must take and pass a background check and polygraph.
  • This position requires the use of a firearm for law enforcement duties therefore, candidates cannot have been convicted of, and must be free of any diversions from, a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence crime as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(9) and (g)(9).

Preferred Qualifications:

  • experience in fire and explosive investigations;
  • knowledge of state and local laws, ordinances and regulations;
  • explosive materials and properties, electrical systems;
  • building conduction;
  • chemicals, flammable properties of various substances, char and burn patterns, factors that affect fire spread, color and density of smoke, flame and heat material burning rate and heat release characteristics;
  • investigation procedures;
  • rules of evidence and rights of suspects;
  • criminal court procedures and practices;
  • ability to plan and conduct investigations, ascertain facts and obtain evidence, establish and maintain favorable relationships with co-workers, professionals and the public;
  • keep records, prepare reports, speak in public, present evidence and be able to use a camera.

Licenses, Certifications & Registration:

  • Current certification as a full-time law enforcement officer by the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Commission as required by K.S.A. 74-5601a.  Out of state certifications will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Must have a current, valid driver’s license.

Performance Standards:  To be successful, the expectation is that a candidate will be able to competently perform the routine tasks of the position with limited supervision within six (6) months of hire date.

HOW TO APPLY:  The application process has 3 STEPS:
STEP 1:  Register by completing the online Personal Data Form  (Skip this step if you already have an Applicant ID or Employee ID number).
STEP 2:  Complete the official State of Kansas application form  (include all employment and experience) and submit to the Fire Marshal.
STEP 3:  Email the additional required documents to brenda.schuette@ks.gov.

Include your name and job requisition number on all correspondence when submitting documents. 

Required Documents:

  • Completed Online State of Kansas Application form sent to Fire Marshal
  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume
  • College Transcripts, if applicable
  • Copy of current full-time Law Enforcement certification
  • Copy of all other Training Certificates and
  • Valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate
  • send to brenda.schuette@ks.gov

Your application will be considered incomplete and you will be found ineligible if you fail to submit the required application and documentation by the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

KANSAS TAX CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE REQUIRED

Each applicant applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain a valid Kansas Certificate of Tax Clearance by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website.  Your application will be considered incomplete if not submitted by the closing date of the job posting.

A Tax Clearance is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual’s account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws.  A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days.  Applicants, including current State employees, are responsible for submitting a valid and up to date certificate with all other application materials to the hiring agency.  This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03.  If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199.

Your application will be considered incomplete if an ACTUAL COPY of your certificate is not submitted on or before the vacancy closing date.

Contact Information:
Name:  Brenda L. Schuette
Phone: 785-296-0654
Email: brenda.schuette@ks.gov

Process for Selection:  Upon receipt of your complete application packer, an evaluation of your qualifications will be conducted, and your status based on the established minimum requirements, necessary special requirements, and preferred selection criteria for the specific vacancy will be determined.  Based on your ranking in comparison with other applicants, you may/may not be referred for further consideration and/or possible interview.  If you are not selected for the vacancy, you will be notified within 30 days of the position being filled.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensures you the right to reasonable accommodations.  A request for an accommodation will not affect your opportunities for employment with the State of Kansas.  Arrangements will be made if you have a disability that requires an accommodation for completing an application form, interviewing or any other part of the employment process.  It is your responsibility to make your needs known to the OSFM Recruitment Office at 785-296-0654.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an Equal Opportunity Employer

 

 

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Study shows impact of first responder jobs on mental health

An EMT in Thomas County took his own life just two weeks ago.

It’s part of a bigger problem — a recent study found first responders are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

Many people don’t realize first responders carry the weight of a traumatic event on their shoulders, and sometimes it’s too much to bear. Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner had that experience recently.

Gardner is known for showing his fun side on Twitter — but in a January post following a crash that killed a 19-year-old woman, he tearfully showed first responders don’t leave their work at the scene.

Mission Township Fire Chief Forrest Walter knows all about it.

“There’s certain things that trigger me to remember a scene, I had a bad car wreck it was a double fatality a female was burned pretty bad and just that smell of that scene,” Chief Walter said.

A study from the Ruderman Foundation found 103 firefighters and 140 police officers died by suicide in 2017, compared to 93 firefighter and 129 officer line-of-duty deaths.

“I think that’s one of the big things with first responders is what they see on a daily basis, the death, the tragedy, and some of the ghoulish scenes that they see and I think every first responder has something they’ll remember their whole entire career .” AMR Operations Manager Jon Antrim said.

While suicide among first responders seems to be becoming more prevalent, Chief Walter says it’s also just become more known.

“In our industry, it was something we kind of hid from the mental health of firefighters it was taboo to talk about it,” Walter explained.

Time has provided a culture shift according to Lt. Tyler Abernathy with the Mission Township Fire Dept.

“We had to put something in place for these young kids who come in and know this is what they want to do we have to help them survive this job both mentally and physically,” Abernathy said.

First responders can now find support through websites, peer-to-peer conversations, and education and intervention through the 10-33 program.

Some local first responders also have a fluffy form of stress relief, a golden doodle named Stryker.

“I mean he’s just a giant fluff ball. He runs to them and they sit down and play with him and hold him and sometimes he rough houses with the employees if that’s what they like, other times he just likes to cuddle and give loves.” Antrim said.

No matter the method – the importance of coping cannot be overlooked.

“When people keep this bottled up it becomes so festered up at times that there’s an exploding point there’s a tipping point and just what we see and what we do has to be dealt with emotionally,” Chief Walter said.

If you or someone you know needs help the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

For more resources on suicide prevention just click here.

 

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Concordia Fire Department to Participate in the Fight for Air Climb

Four members of the Concordia Fire Department will participate in the Fight for Air Climb in Kansas City on Sunday, February 24th.

The Fight for Air Climb is one of the American Lung Association’s signature fundraising events. This year’s climb held at One Kansas City Place offers an opportunity for teams and individuals to challenge themselves by climbing 42 floors and 902 stairs to the top of the building. Over the last several years, Fight for Air Climb events have raised more than $53 million to support the mission of the American Lung Association.

In 2018, the Concordia Fire Department won the team event, while Firefighter and Paramedic Levi Whitley finished first individually in a time of 10 minutes 59 seconds.

Whitley says the event gives them the chance to support those who fight for air everyday when impacted by asthma, COPD, lung cancer, and all lung diseases.

This year, Whitley will be joined by Derek Champlin, Kelsey Larson and Erin Williams with the Concordia Fire Department in raising money to support research, patient education and advocacy efforts by participating in the annual climb.

Larson, a certified yoga instructor, will be teaching a cold yoga flow session on Saturday, February 2nd at the Broadway Plaza in downtown Concordia to raise funds for the climb.

Larson says the community is welcome to join them at 2 pm Saturday for Yeti Yoga with the Concordia Fire Department.

In the line of duty, firefighters may experience occupational exposure to gases, chemicals, particulate, and other substances with potentially damaging short and long term effects on the respiratory system. Previous studies performed during knock-down and overhaul phases show firefighters may incur exposure to toxicants and respiratory tract irritants. There is an increased risk among firefighters of developing acute lung disease during the course of firefighting work. There may also be an increased risk of chronic lung disease in firefighters, however, more research on chronic exposure is needed.

Whitley said they will be honoring those who are affected by lung disease during the climb.

Awards at the climb are given out to the fastest female and male, fastest individual firefighter, and fastest firefighter team.

https://action.lung.org/site/TR?fr_id=17557&pg=entry

 

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Derby Fire Department was approved for new $640,000 fire engine

Photo of a similar engine

There will be a new fire engine responding to emergency calls in Derby.

The City Council approved a purchase to replace Engine 82, which officials say is reaching the end of its service life.

The new engine, made by Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wis., will cost $642,620 and is being purchased through Conrad Fire Equipment. That price includes a pre-payment discount of $23,253.

There was one other bidder for the contract, Hays Fire and Rescue, for a Rosenbauer model engine. That contract’s price was higher, at $678,913.

Fire Chief Brad Smith was pleased with the process and said the new engine will be able to serve Derby residents for years.

“I was excited about what we saw tonight,” he said of the council’s approval, which came at its Jan. 22 meeting.

The price includes delivery and additional training with the new engine.

The current Engine 82, which was built in 2001, has 7,622 hours of use, which equals a car having 180,000 to 200,000 miles.

Its actual miles are in the 80,000 range, but fire officials say that is deceiving as the engine is put through much more use than driven miles. For one, when it’s at a scene, it can be running for hours, pumping water.

While there have been few major changes in the overall exterior appearance of fire engines during the past two decades, there have been shifts inside as there is now much more computerized equipment onboard, Smith said.

The city has two fire stations and two engines, one assigned to each station.

There is no reserve unit, but the current Engine 82 will now serve that purpose. Renamed Res81, it will be housed at the new Station 81 at Madison and Woodlawn. That station is replacing one at 128 W. Market.

The new engine will be assigned to Station 82, which is on 1401 N. Rock Road.

The resale value of an old fire engine, especially one that has been heavily used, is rather low, so there’s little financial benefit in trying to sell it.

It should take about 8-1/2 months to build; however, the exact time frame will depend on the manufacturer’s schedule.

The actual amount for the engine and associated equipment in the 2019 budget is $723,000. Most of the loose equipment related to it will be bid separately this year.

“Even though $723,000 was budgeted, and this engine and hose together will cost $658,229, it is too early to label this purchase as ‘under budget,’” Smith said. “We still have other equipment to purchase from this budget to complete the apparatus.”

 

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Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 hiring part-time firefighters

Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 is hiring part-time firefighters.

Chief Todd Farley said one of the department’s weaknesses is staffing levels during daytime hours.

“We’re predominantly a volunteer department,” he said.

He said the department has “a good group of volunteers, but their availability isn’t necessarily during the day,” especially during the work week.

Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 provides fire department services to the city of Lansing and Delaware and High Prairie townships.

The department already employs full-time firefighters. And three of the full-time employees are assigned to each shift.

But the addition of part-time employees “will allow us to have at least four or five people on duty during the day,” Farley said.

Farley said part-time positions already have been offered to three volunteer members of Fire District No. 1. The chief is now looking to hire firefighters from outside of the department to fill additional part-time positions.

The chief said he hopes to fill eight or nine part-time positions in total.

Farley said he has talked with chiefs of other fire departments that have part-time employees, and he knows retention of part-time staff may be a challenge.

“There’s a little bit of a revolving door that goes with that,” he said.

But Farley said he is “hoping that we’re able to keep” the firefighters who are hired.

Fire District No. 1 is advertising the part-time positions at a time when Lansing city officials are looking to withdraw from the district.

Lansing City Council members have announced their intention to end their relationship with the district in June 2020.

Lansing officials plan to operate a city fire department in the future.

Farley said he has been assured by Lansing officials that current full-time employees of Fire District No. 1 will be hired by the city if the district is dissolved.

Farley said he assumes the part-time firefighter program also would remain intact “because it’s the best thing for the citizens.”

Fire District No. 1 officials have set a Feb. 13 application deadline for the part-time positions. Information about the positions can be found on the district’s website, www.lvcofiredistrict1.com

 

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Job Opening – Firefighter – 190th Fire Department

FIREFIGHTER
190th Air Refueling Wing, Forbes Field
Topeka, KS
The Adjutant General’s Department
Requisition #: 191839
http://www.admin.ks.gov/services/state-employment-center/job/job-postings?id=191839

________________________________________
INTRODUCTION:
The 190th Fire Department welcomes you to starting the process of becoming a career firefighter with us. We are a one station department with 25 employees consisting of three shifts of eight personnel. We work a 48/96 shift schedule and are the only State of Kansas employed firefighters. Our mission is to support the flying mission of the 190th Air Refueling Wing at Forbes Field in Topeka, KS and surrounding communities. We provide fire protection for the aircraft, buildings on base, and emergency medical services to the employees of the base. We also have several automatic mutual aid agreements in Shawnee and Osage County. We look forward to meeting you.

GENERAL:
Candidates will have the desire to help others, protect the lives and property of the 190th Air Refueling Wing and surrounding communities. Individuals will perform as part of a team while responding to emergencies, training events, performing inspections, and education programs. Performs firefighting and emergency medical services including, but not limited to, fire prevention, control and extinguishment, aircraft responses, hazmat incidents, driving and operating firefighting apparatus and emergency vehicles, rescue, medical treatment, training, public education, and station and apparatus maintenance duties.

DUTIES:
Responds to a wide variety of emergency alarms, such as structural and environmental fires, traffic
accidents, natural gas leaks, medical emergencies and hazardous material spills. Fights fires under departmental procedures and as directed by a fire company officer; connects and lays hose lines, sets ladders and operates fire streams; uses hand and power tools to ventilate and enter burning structures for the purpose of extinguishing fires and to perform search and rescue operations; raises, lowers and climbs ladders to enter structures; performs salvage, clean up and overhaul operations during and after fires to remove hazards and protect property.
Provides first responder medical emergency response at the basic life support level, including initial patient and situation assessment, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and trauma emergency medical care; prepares patients and assists paramedics in advanced life support emergency medical care.

Participates in specialized rescue operations, including high angle and underground situations involving the use of rigging and shoring; operates specialized hand and power tools and equipment to rescue traffic accident victims.
Cleans, services and makes minor repairs to ensure the operational readiness of vehicles, apparatus, hoses and emergency equipment; participates in the cleaning, repair and upkeep of department buildings, grounds and facilities.

Participates in drills, demonstrations and courses in firefighting techniques, equipment and apparatus operation, medical aid, hazardous materials, fire prevention, equipment maintenance; studies local geography and conditions affecting fire operations; studies and learns departmental operating procedures.
Participates in the development and implementation of the department’s public education. Assists in the inspection of occupancies, assists in performing follow-up procedures to ensure compliance to Fire Codes, National Electrical Code, Uniform Building Codes and state, regional and local fire codes.
Participates in department fitness program.

QUALIFICATIONS:
Minimum Qualifications:
Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)
Valid Drivers License
National Certification as a Fire Fighter I and II
Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations
Pass a pre-employment physical including drug screening
Obtain a government security clearance
Complete and/or maintain designated training and certifications
Maintain physical requirements as a condition of continued employment
High School Diploma or equivalent
Additional Requirements
Pass an annual medical examination to determine their physical ability to perform duties in accordance with NFPA 1852, Standards on Medical Requirements for Firefighters. Obtain Air Force Motor Vehicle Operator’s license.
Preferred Qualifications
EMT
Airport Fire Fighter
Driver/Operator ARFF
Driver/Operator Pumper
Driver/Operator Tender
Non-Commercial Class B driver’s license

Within 12 Months of Hire Requirement:
EMT
Airport Fire Fighter
Driver/Operator ARFF
Driver/Operator Pumper
Driver/Operator Tender

BENEFITS:
Starting at $46,367 annual salary.
State of Kansas Benefits
Paid Vacation/Sick Leave
Paid Holidays
$1000 annual Hazmat Tech Incentive until pay cap is reached
Kansas Police and Fire (KP&F) defined-benefit Retirement System
No Living Restriction
48/96 Shift Schedule
Local IAFF 64
IFSAC/Pro Board Certification Training Opportunities.

 

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Ellis County will get new truck

Photo by Jolie Green

Just in time for the start of wildfire season, Lewis Ford of Hays last week delivered an F-550 truck chassis to Hays Fire and Rescue Sales and Service, where electricians, plumbers, fabricators and painters are transforming it into a fire and rescue truck for Ellis County.

“We’re about three-quarters done,” said Kelly Meyers, president of Hays Fire on Old U.S. Highway 40. “We build everything from the chassis back, so the whole body is fabricated out here, and mounted and wired.”

Monday morning, in the company’s 15,000-square-foot metal building at 1151 Moe Rd., Meyers explained how the process works.

“The material comes into the shop in sheets and long tubes, and these are our jigs,” he said. “That bed there will turn into a bed like that. We cut it and shape it and bend it.” And paint it.

Standing to the back of Ellis County’s 2019 red F-550, Meyers pulled a silver latch to open a compartment on the truck.

“We make all of this, from the window on back, we add all the lights, electrical, paint,” he said. “These are compartments and that’s a generator, this runs electricity. So, say somebody crashes in the middle of the night, and the fire fighters need lighting, they’ll pull this out and plug in lights and set up a scene. This one they’ll have all their reels for their hydraulic tools, for their jaws, their spreaders, their rams.”

The county’s new fire truck with custom bed will roll into its new home at Ellis County Fire Department Company Six in Ellis sometime in mid- to late February, Meyers said.

A brush-rescue truck, it not only has equipment to fight wildfires and structural fires, but also rescue tools so the 16 Company Six firefighters can respond to accidents, he said. The Ellis County Commissioners in August approved the $113,049 purchase as part of a 25-year capital replacement plan for the fire district.

The truck replaces a 41-year-old 1978 International that’s been out of service due to mechanical problems. Without the International, the county currently has rescue units only in Hays and Victoria, instead of its usual three, responding to 911 rescue emergencies, said Darin Myers, director of Ellis County Fire and Emergency Management.

“Rescue trucks carry about $30,000 in specialized equipment, including hydraulic cutters and spreaders that can cut vehicles apart, spread metal and bend metal,” Myers said. They also have air bags that inflate like a big square pillow to rescue anyone trapped under anything from a small vehicle to a semi to a tree, he said.

The Ellis station covers the western third of the county, from Yocemento Avenue west, and has three other trucks: a water tender, fire engine and brush truck.

“In 2018, the most common calls we had were for vehicle accidents,” Myers said. The largest percentage, more than 19 percent, are vehicle calls, including someone trapped in a vehicle. More than 16 percent are to put out grass fires, Myers said.

The new Ellis truck, with a V-10 gas motor, is not as big as the old one it replaces.

“This one’s a little smaller, a little more economic, than what they were running for rescue,” Meyers said. “Their last rescue was an older truck, a lot bigger truck, and bigger water capacity.”

In this case, smaller is better, said Myers.

“Before we had the vehicle rescue trucks, all the vehicle rescue tools were on our fire engines, which are designed for fighting house fires,” he said. “This will lessen the load on our $300,000 fire engines, to prolong their life and get 25 years out of them. We’ll be using the less expensive truck more often and saving wear and tear on the more expensive truck.”

The smaller, four-wheel drive F-550, is more versatile and agile. Now there will be room on the bigger fire trucks for fire equipment, Myers said, such as 18-inch by 18-inch ventilation fans to ventilate hazardous gases and smoke from houses and other structures.

Besides Company Six in Ellis, the Ellis County Fire Department has stations in Hays, Schoenchen, Catharine, Munjor and Victoria, covering 900 square miles of Ellis County. The department’s 85 part-time firefighters are paid per call to respond to wildfires, vehicle fires and farm fires, as well as assist with emergency medical calls, wrecks, rescue calls, chemical spills and other emergencies.

On the average call in 2018, 12 firefighters responded, Myers said. From the time they were dispatched, they were on the scene within 9.5 minutes anywhere in the county. Usually two firefighters ride on the back and three up front. Those in front, except the driver, move to the back during a brush fire, he said.

In 2018, 7,275 acres burned in Ellis County, including northeast of Hays in early March near Toulon Avenue and Homestead Road. That fire was 8 miles long and more than 2 miles wide.

The new brush rescue truck can carry 500 gallons of water. How long that will last depends, Myers said.

“On a vehicle fire, you use a different size and type of nozzle, which empties the tank faster,” he said. “That would take roughly 5 minutes. With grass fire its a smaller line and you usually set your nozzle lower, so it would last about 25 minutes.”

The new truck right now is keeping company at Hays Fire and Rescue alongside Ford, Chevy, International and Freightliner trucks of various sizes and colors from Sheridan, McPherson, Pawnee, Finney and Sherman counties. Hays Fire and Rescue is one of eight such companies in the state. Kansas has more fire and rescue truck suppliers than anywhere else in the country, Meyers said.

In general, the trend is toward taller, longer fire and rescue trucks.

“We’re going to bigger trucks, more water capability, bigger pumps,” Meyers said. “The personnel is getting less and less for the volunteers. People don’t want to give up time anymore, they’re too busy. So we’re designing our trucks to be a one- and two-man operation truck.”

The typical brush truck runs from 300 to 500 gallons of water, while the bigger ones are 1,000 to 1,500 or 2,000 gallons.

Ellis County’s new truck pumps 250 gallons a minute at 150 pounds per square inch, which is normal for a little brush truck, Meyers said. The bigger trucks are 130 gallons a minute at 600 psi. The high-pressure pump streams less water but more pressure, so firefighters can stay back from the fire, and also have more pressure to knock it down.

“The more water, the more gross vehicle weight,” Meyers said. “A little truck will carry up to 19,500 gross vehicle weight, carrying 30 to 40 gallons of fuel. With the bigger trucks we’re going up to 33,000 gvw, carrying 50 to 100 gallons a fuel.”

Fire trucks in any rural department see a lot of abuse in the field, he said. Most firetrucks have a 20-year lifespan as a first-out primary truck, after that, the state requires they operate as a secondary truck, he said.

“Most rural departments, it depends on how they use them, don’t last that long. It depends on what abuse they go through,” Meyer said.

Unlike cars and light-duty trucks, where drive trains wear out, fire and rescue trucks just go out and do their job. One of the firetrucks at Hays Fire and Rescue has only 10,000 miles on it. While the old motor and transmission are fine, Hays Fire and Rescue is repainting the cab, adding a lift kit, a new bed and new water pumps.

“It’s just a lot of rough terrain. It’s the beating of the bouncing and the heat they go through,” Meyers said. “The interior gets shot and full of smoke. They get scratched, they get dented.”

February, March, April and May are the biggest months of the year for wildfires, Myers said.

“Our heavy call time is coming up,” he said. “The cold and freezing over the winter dries everything out. So February kicks off the fire season.”

 

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USD 231 adds firefighting program

The Gardner Edgerton school district is set to introduce a firefighting program for high school seniors in conjunction with Fire District No.1.
The program, under the career and technical education (CTE) project which currently enrolls 1600 students in different career cohorts is expected to start in the spring of 2020 according to coordinator of student services Mellissa McIntire.
Under the arrangement, the district will partner with the fire district to train at least 10 students annually with the expectation that upon graduation the students will be ready to join the force or pursue a career in firefighting elsewhere.
Once approved, the district will contribute $40,000 towards part of the instructor salary while the fire district will provide the facilities, equipment and the training.
Fire Chief Rob Clark told the district that the fire district intends to offer employment to the students who complete the program adding that there is utility in having firefighters who come from the community working in the community.
“Having kids who come from this community joining our force means a lot to me,” he said adding that he and several other firefighters in the district are graduates of Gardner Edgerton High school.
Scott Casey, the assistant Fire chief said that compared to other school districts in the area, USD 231 is getting a good deal under the proposed arrangement.
“A similar program in Shawnee Mission is funded 100% by the school district. Olathe school district pays 60% of instructor pay in addition to equipment and facilities,” he said.
Pam Stranathan, superintendent, said that the program is aimed at developing professional interest in the student population and delivering high quality education and skills needed to make the students marketable for employment in the firefighting service.
McIntire said that interested students will fill out an application that will gauge their interest in the field and the district will determine the schedule of attendance.
Upon graduation the students will get high school credit for fire safety.

 

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Shawnee Fire Department opens fourth fire station

Located at 5300 Woodsonia Drive, Fire Station 74 is a 9,220-square-foot facility.

In lieu of a ribbon cutting, Shawnee firefighters, city leaders and project team members conducted a “hose uncoupling.” Fire Chief John Mattox said they are carrying on the 150-year-old tradition that occurs when firefighters open a new fire station.

 

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Merriam Welcomes New Fire Captain

Newly promoted Overland Park Fire Captain Chris Palmer is coming to Merriam. Captain Palmer will fill a vacancy created by the recent retirement of Captain Doug Crockett, who served the people of Merriam for 32 years.

Captain Palmer is a 19-year veteran of the Overland Park Fire Department. He has served in the roles of firefighter, firemedic, hazardous materials technician/coordinator and fire lieutenant. He also holds various degrees and certifications, including degrees in business administration and marketing, fire science and paramedicine.

Captain Palmer is excited about the opportunity to serve as one of three captains at the Merriam station. The members of the Overland Park Fire Department are proud to provide fire protection and emergency medical services to the people of Merriam.

 

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Retirement – Russell Stephenson – Little River Fire Department

Photo by Denice Dater

After 31 years as the Fire Chief of the Little River Fire Department, Russell Stephenson stepped down as chief on December 31, 2018. He will remain as a member of the department.

Russell has been a member of the local fire department for 41 years, after being on the department for only a couple of years, he served as the assistant chief before taking on the chief position.

A retirement dinner was held for Russell in December attended by the fire department. His helmet was retired and signed by all of the current department members.

The new fire chief is Shawn Allen.

 

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Pittsburg Fire Department hosts “Fire Science Open House”

The Pittsburg Fire Department hosted an open house for high school kids from across Southeast Kansas, to explore how that program could work for kids in Cherokee and Crawford counties, and hopefully reverse a growing trend.

“It’s a regional thing where the volunteer numbers are down for fire departments, the career numbers are down, and so it’s important that we strike the interest on this younger generation,” says Mike Simons, Chief, Pittsburg Fire Department.

The program would be open to high school juniors and seniors, and would have the students coming to the Pittsburg Fire Department for part of the day to learn.

For more info view video

 

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Winfield Fire/EMS hosts Ag Safety Event

Representatives from Winfield Fire/EMS, Burden Fire Department and Udall Fire Department attended the Ag Safety Event.

PrairieLand Partners and Winfield Fire/EMS department were host to a countywide agriculture safety event Jan. 12 at the PrairieLand Partners Winfield location. The event was put together as an agricultural machinery training event for local first responders and focused on machine related accidents in agriculture.

Technicians from PrairieLand Partners went through agricultural equipment with first responders to help them better understand the equipment. The technicians gave a thorough explanation how the inner workings of a machine are designed and operate. This year’s training focused on entanglement injuries and the proper procedures first responders should use in handling such a scenario.

Cowley County Farm Bureau Association representative Denise Middleton also attended the event with additional data pertaining to farm injuries and fatalities. This is the first year for the event with plans to host similar training annually.

 

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Push-In Ceremony – Fort Riley’s Station One

Firefighters at Fort Riley’s Station One perform a short Push-In Ceremony for the station’s new truck on January 7. The ceremony honors the firefighters’ work from the days of horse-drawn trucks. The new truck is a 2018 Pierce Saber.

 

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Louis “Carl” Braden

Louis “Carl” Braden, 67 of Carbondale, passed away Thursday, January 17, 2019.

He was born May 13, 1951, in Topeka Kansas, the son of Bert Eldon and Pauline Florence (Wendland) Braden. He was a 1970 graduate of Highland Park High School.

Carl was employed by American Linen and then retired from BRB Contractors.

He was a member of the Carbondale Lions Club and Carbondale Volunteer Fire Department.

Carl married Yuvon Annette Baatrup on January 16, 1971 in Topeka. She preceded him in death on January 1, 2013.

Survivors include two daughters, Linda (Darren) Michaud of Topeka and Amy (Patrick) Powers of Rogersville, MO; four grandchildren, Amber Michaud, Grant Michaud, Hailey Powers and Devin Powers; and two sisters, Christine (Ralph) Smith of Wichita and Cindy (Steve) Peters of Paxico.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Gary Braden.

Carl enjoyed camping, fishing, having breakfast with his friends, metal detecting, and traveling all 50 states and Europe.

Cremation is planned. A celebration of Carl’s life will be from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, January 26, 2019 at the Shawnee Lake Event Center, 3025 SE Croco, Topeka.

Memorial contributions may be made to Carbondale Fire Department, 132 Main Street, Carbondale, KS 66414.

Dove Cremations & Funerals, Southeast Chapel is assisting the family.

 

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Training Facility – Pratt Fire Department

Pratt Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Kramer would like to establish a permanent training facility in Pratt for his squad of 22 active volunteer firefighters as a solution to the current training program situation which, he said, adds hours of set-up and tear-down time to training exercises.
Kramer presented ideas for a facility based on shipping containers to Pratt City commissioners at their regular Monday meeting and received positive responses that fell short of commitment.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said commissioner Jason Leslie.
Kramer’s presentation included a slideshow of various configurations, suggesting one that would start with five 40-foot containers with a stairway and walkway, which would cost about $16,000.
“It’s a fraction of the cost of construction and the city would be getting a lot of bang for its bucks,” Kramer said. “It won’t be an eyesore, I promise you.“
Location for the proposed training center is on city-owned property at the corner of 10th Street and Highway 61, north of Pratt Community College where water is available.
“Training is a priority and volunteers spend hundreds of hours devoted to the skills needed for this job,” Kramer said.
Kramer also reported that the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department received the Tom McGaughey Award for Heroism Above and Beyond the Call of Duty and that the department was awarded an $11,000 Kansas Firefighter and Recruitment and Safety Grant to be used for two sets of gear and a commercial extractor to wash bunker gear.
Kramer stated that during 2018 volunteer firemen answered a wide variety of calls and also focused on making smoke and carbon dioxide detectors a priority in the community.

 

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