By Rebecca McCutcheon
Cowley Courier Traveler – September 29, 2016
Vince Warren has been the new Winfield fire marshal since Monday.
Warren, who has worked for the Winfield Fire/EMS Department since 2002, took the job at just the right time, with fire-prevention activities scheduled for the month of October.
He replaces former fire marshal Dennis Darby, who left the department in early August.
Warren was born and raised in Winfield. He has a degree in general studies from Cowley College and has taken firefighting courses from Hutchinson Community College and the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute at the University of Kansas.
His first firefighting job was in Fort Scott, where he worked for four years before being hired by the Winfield Fire Department.
He started out as a firefighter before being promoted to engineer (the person who drives the fire engine).
Warren was then a lieutenant for six years before being hired as fire marshal.
Fire marshal duties include performing building inspections and fire investigations in the Winfield fire district.
The fire marshal can also be asked to help with fire investigations for neighboring departments.
The inspection side involves working closely with city building official Rod Haney and community-development director Patrick Steward to make sure fire and safety codes are being followed, said Warren.
Places of inspection include businesses, educational facilities and home day-care centers.
Another role of the fire marshal is promoting fire prevention by educating the public.
Duties include making safety presentations at private and public schools.
Groups of younger children get a visit from Fire Pup, while older children get a more in-depth presentation including use of the Hazard House to teach them about fire dangers.
On Oct. 11, Winfield Fire/EMS and Winfield Public Schools fifth-graders will participate in Fire Prevention Day at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita.
At this event, participating fire departments bring their fire safety-education tools, and students participate in talks and demonstrations related to fire safety. More than 2,500 students from area schools will participate.
“It’s a full-day event, and the kids get a lot out of it,” Warren said.
Warren said he was interested in the fire marshal position because he enjoyed the classes he took on fire investigations.
He also likes helping educate people on fire prevention.
“It’s a calling, and something I felt it was time for,” Warren said.
He most looks forward to interacting with the public and getting to know the community in his new job.
Training requirements for fire marshals include passing a certification exam. Warren is also a member of the Kansas Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Warren said his background helps with his new job because when called out to an incident, firefighters often find out what people could have done to help prevent the fire.
“Now, I can take my knowledge and make sure mistakes are not made and help prevent losses,” Warren said.
Another thing he likes about being on the administrative side of firefighting is getting to spend more time with family and going home at the same time every night, although after 18 years of shift work, it “feels weird” to be driving home at 5 p.m.
Warren said his wife, Crystal, likes having him at home every night.
The Warrens live in Winfield and have three children.
Winfield Fire/EMS Chief Alan Stoll said Warren helped perform fire marshal duties while the position was open and has developed very good fire-investigation skills over the years.
“I think he’ll do a great job for the city and for our department,” Stoll said.
Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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