Archive for February, 2014

Dumpster fire in North Topeka damages two nearby houses

By Samantha Foster
Topeka Capital Journal – Feb. 28, 2014

Firefighters stand Friday night in front of a dumpster where a fire started, destroying the dumpster's contents before spreading to the roof of 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road, on the left, and slightly damaging the home on the right.

Firefighters stand Friday night in front of a dumpster where a fire started, destroying the dumpster’s contents before spreading to the roof of 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road, on the left, and slightly damaging the home on the right.

A fire that began in a dumpster outside a North Topeka residence Friday night spread to the house and damaged the outside of another home, a fire official said.

Fire crews were called about 6:40 p.m. to the blaze at 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road.

At the scene, Capt. Kelly Adams said a family had been cleaning out the house after a relative’s death. The family moved items into a large green dumpster outside, he said.

Although no one had been at the home since about 4:30 p.m., Adams said, something inside the dumpster ignited, destroying everything in the dumpster before flames spread to the roof of the house.

The dumpster filled the space between 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road and the house immediately to its east.

Adams said the house at 944 N.W. Lower Silver Lake Road sustained damage to its roof, which was blackened, but the fire didn’t penetrate very far into the structure.

The house to the east sustained paint damage, and a couple of its windows broke because of the heat from the fire, Adams said.

No injuries were reported.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

One hurt in rollover crash in southwest Wichita

KAKE – Feb. 28, 2014


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A 17-year-old male has been hurt in a rollover crash in southwest Wichita.

It happened around 4:15 Friday afternoon, just north of 31st Street South and Seneca.

Witnesses said a driver was weaving in and out of traffic before losing control and rolling over. Fire crews extricated the driver from the car, and his injuries are not-considered life-threatening.

Authorities said that speed was a factor in this accident.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Training Day: Shawnee firefighters hone ice-rescue skills

Shawnee Dispatch – Feb. 28, 2014

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With highs well below freezing, Shawnee firefighters are taking advantage of the chilly winter weather to hone their ice-rescue training skills.

During the past several weeks, firefighters have been out at Shawnee Mission Park Lake practicing possible ice-rescue scenarios.

Sal Scarpa, Shawnee’s deputy fire chief, said because of the various water features located around the city, the fire department trains all operations personnel in ice rescue.

“There is always a concern about people falling through the ice because of the curiosity that some folks have with wanting to walk across a frozen body of water,” he said. “The challenge, of course, is that ice can be very deceiving. What looks like thick ice that can support the weight of a person in one area may be deceptively thin in another area.”

While firefighters don the latest equipment and gear to insulate them from the effects of the cold water, Scarpa said, everyone involved in the training gets cold.

While the training conditions are less than ideal, Scarpa said the training is invaluable as all operations personnel receive instruction and practice on various life-saving techniques.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

City to assume control of EMS

By Rebecca McCutcheon
Winfield Courier – Feb. 28, 2014

William Newton Hospital leadership met with Winfield city commissioners Thursday to request formally that the city take over management of Winfield Area Emergency Medical Service from the hospital. The change will go into effect July 1.

William Newton Hospital CEO Ben Quinton and WNH board of trustees president Tom Herlocker spoke to commissioners.

According to Herlocker, the hospital board will work with the commission and the city any way it can to make the transition as smooth as possible. The WAEMS garage at WNH will remain available to the city to house WAEMS vehicles, Herlocker said.

The transition will make WAEMS operations more efficient and ensure the service remains financially viable, while continuing to provide excellent emergency care, according to a joint press release issued by hospital and city officials. Hospital management, WAEMS and city leaders will keep working together to ensure a seamless transition of services.

Mayor Greg Thompson said preparing to take on WAEMS management has been challenging, but he thinks the city is at a point where it can make the transition successfully.

City manager Warren Porter said the overriding concern for city staff, hospital staff and the governing bodies of both entities is maintaining the quality of emergency medical service care.

“There will be a lot of change and discomfort at times, but the goal is that the patient won’t know the difference,” Porter said.

“It makes a lot of sense to do this, and we appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with Warren and his team working on this together,” said Quinton.

Once services are consolidated, WAEMS will be housed in the Winfield Fire Department building. All current Winfield firefighters are also EMT-certified. The city will also retain as many WAEMS paramedics as possible. The service will be overseen temporarily by Winfield Fire Chief Alan Stoll until a medical coordinator position can be established within the fire department to manage EMS, according to a previous Courier article.

Officials have been working to get the city proper credentials to operate an EMS service, including licensing by the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services and authorization to handle Medicaid and Medicare payments. Porter said in a previous Courier article that obtaining these authorizations should not be a problem for the city.

One issue with consolidation is staffing, including encouraging current paramedics to work for the city and making sure their pay and benefits as city employees mesh with what they have previously received. Another issue is finding space for ambulances and equipment, since there is not enough room at the fire department for the entire WAEMS fleet.

Most likely one ambulance would be located at the fire station and one at the hospital, with the remaining two in storage as they are now, Porter said previously. A possible firehouse expansion would have to be part of a long-term plan, as it is still too early to determine if one is needed, Porter said earlier.

Funding for WAEMS is provided by both the City of Winfield and Cowley County. The county gives the money to the city and the city gives it to EMS. The city is required to have an ambulance service.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Commission hears EMS report

By Cliff Ralstin
Humboldt Union – Feb. 20, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 28, 2014

Allen County Commissioners heard a positive report on how the merger between the former county ran and Iola Fire Department/EMS ambulance services is going Tuesday, Feb. 18. Director Ryan Sell said things were going well with the merger.

Sell presented a detailed report on one Iola ambulance, Med 35, to demonstrate the reporting system and to show how things have progressed since the merger.

He noted Med 35 had handled 157 calls with the second Iola ambulance responding to 38 calls and the third unit going to five calls during January of this year. The third unit responds only when all other units in the county are on calls.

Sell said Iola had responded to 200 calls so far this year while the Humboldt based unit had gone on 60 calls and the Moran unit had been dispatched 55 times.

He also said a rotation of personnel between stations has been established with all employees having worked in all locations. “Everybody’s worked everywhere,” he told commissioners.

Nine former county employees have transitioned into the countywide department with 75% of basic firefighting training being completed. Sell said once basic training is completed the trainees will be issued bunker gear and be able to respond to fire calls. The department is still two employees short of a full staff.

When asked about maintaining a Type I service, Sell said, “we have a 24/7 Type I in all three cities”.

Out of county transfers was another point that many outside of Iola city limits questioned prior to the merger. He said the same transfer schedule prior to the merger was being used but discussions were taking place on a new method of rotation in which the first run of the day would rotate between cities.

It was stated that Iola is averaging eight medical calls per day with an average of 2.5 hours per call from callout to the conclusion of reporting.

He also discussed quality control measures within the department covering a multi layered review system that has new checks and balances built into the process.

Near the end of the report Iola City Administrator Carl Slaugh said Iola has projected a loss of $413,000 for the 2014 year. He said the Iola council was reviewing the situation.

It was asked if start up costs attributed to the merger was a factor in the number. Sell said roughly $30,000 was set aside for merger costs but those numbers were not figured into the numbers Slaugh was quoting.

Slaugh did say the merger was going well and gave kudos to Sell for making the transition as seamless as possible. Sell will be making monthly reports to the commission.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Gary Edward Hurlbut


McDonald fire dinner success

Rawlins County Square Deal – Feb. 27, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – Feb. 28, 2014

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The McDonald Fire Department had a freewill offering dinner Feb. 20 at the fire building in McDonald. Members of RFD #3 and the McDonald City Fire Department served guests biscuits and gravy, desserts and drinks. Rural Fire Chief Dan Hubbard said about 150 people were served at the dinner and the initial estimate of funds raised is $11,300. The money will be used toward educational classes for the firemen as well as new equipment. The sausage for the gravy was donated by Gordon Crowdis and the biscuits were donated by Judy Fisher. Top photo–Albert and Annie Antholz are served by Ron Bell, Heath Antholz and Randy Miller. Bottom left photo–Charlie Poore eats dinner as David Bannister serves him his drink. Bottom right photo–Daniel Hubbard and Hallee Antholz enjoy ice cream and cake. Hubbard said they were really pleased with the turnout and appreciated the community’s support.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster