Archive for May, 2014

Fire training seminar in Parsons, KS focuses on the basics

By Jordan Aubey
KOAM – May 30, 2014


parsons fire 5302014

More than one hundred firefighters are in Parsons, Kansas today and tomorrow for a refresher course in safety and efficiency. Many of the lessons focus on simple concepts that are often overlooked during stressful times.

One instructor says some of the basics may not come so “basic” anymore.

“Because of smoke detectors and fire prevention, it’s kept fires down. Which is good! So there’s less occurrence than say, back in the ’70’s, of house fires. So we have to be ready for it, because it doesn’t happen as often,” says Chad Cox, an instructor at the Parsons event and a firefighter in Wichita, Kansas.

Jordan McClinpick has been a firefighter in Mulberry, Kansas for three months.

“Last week, we had two different structure fires. But other than that, we get a call once a month. Sometimes twice a month,” says McClinpick.

“They’re not afforded the luxury of they pull up and all they have to do is pull the hose line and they’re done. A lot of these smaller departments, they have to drive the engine there, they have to pull the hose line, they have to get the door forced, they have to throw ladders,” says Cox.

Firefighters have many tasks, and some of them may look basic, at first. McClinpick practiced the right way to carry and extend a ladder. Any firefighter can do it alone, but McClinpick was told by an instructor to face another firefighter who was carrying the same ladder.

“It’s all teamwork. You count on each other. Communication and teamwork,” says McClinpick.

One teamwork goes down…

“It’s not good,” says McClinpick.

Firefighters also learned about the power of collaboration.

“Things that have worked well for us in Wichita, we share that, and it’s up to the student to take the things that we’re showing them and apply it to their own department,” says Cox.

There’s a technique for removing a lock from a door for an emergency, instead of breaking the door down. Sometimes it’s safer for firefighters. It Also means less property damage. But not all firefighters have proper training for this. And without being open to new ideas…

“It can hinder your operations and hurt your team, as well,” says Pittsburg firefighter Cody Hobbs.

So instead…

“We have to work smarter, not harder,” says Cox.

It’s a notion with a powerful spark.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Man dies in Old Town elevator accident

KAKE – May 30, 2014

A man is dead following a service elevator accident Friday morning in Old Town.

Emergency crews were called to the 100 block of North Rock Island shortly before 10:30 a.m. That’s where Key Construction is in the process of renovating a building in the area, converting it into apartments.

According to Wichita Police, two workers were riding in an open-door, pulley-style service elevator. A construction worker was pulling the rope, lifting the elevator. While it was going up, one of the men fell inside the elevator and suffered a head injury.

The man in his 40s was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was hurt.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

No one injured in morning residence fire

By Richard Gwin
Lawrence Journal World – May 30, 2014

Photo by Richard Gwin.

Photo by Richard Gwin.

No one was injured in a two-alarm home fire at 2545 Ousdahl Road this morning, according to Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief Eve Tolefree.

Firefighters responded to an 8:25 a.m. call of a garage fire and saw heavy black smoke from several blocks away from the home, Tolefree said. A second alarm was requested. Firefighters had the fire, in a split-level, wood-frame residence, under control by 8:54 a.m., Tolefree said.

The Douglas County Chapter of the American Red Cross is helping the displaced occupants of the home.

The cause of the fire and estimate of damages is under investigation, Tolefree said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Annual Firefighters Run/Walk to raise money for MDA

Great Bend Tribune – May 30, 2014

The 12th annual Firefighters for MDA Run and Fun Walk will take place Saturday, June 7, at Great Bend Fire Station No. 1, 1205 Williams St. Registration opens at 7 a.m.; 5K and 10K runs are at 8 a.m. and the 1.8-mile Fun Walk starts at 8:15 a.m.
This annual event raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. One hundred percent of the proceeds with go to the MDA Ark Valley Chapter, Firefighter Mark Orth said.
Early registration has closed, but entries are still being accepted and people can enter at the event. Cost is $20 for the runs and $15 for the walk.
Awards will be given to the first-place overall male and female in each run. Awards will also be given to the top three male and female runners in each age group for the 5K and 10K. Age groups will be in 10-year increments.
Entrants will receive a T-shirt if available.
Email questions to or, or call 620-793-4140.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

County contracts for new warning system

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – May 30, 2014

County emergency officials have been working recently to put the finishing touches on an agreement with CodeRED, which will provide the new warning system to the county.

Bourbon County Emergency Manager Will Wallis said the project to implement the new system is in the “very, very early stages.”

“It’s a 14-day give or take process on their (CodeRED) end once the contract is signed,” Wallis said. “The contract was signed last Friday. We still have a portion they’re going to sign tomorrow (Friday).”

Wallis said Deputy Emergency Manager Shane Walker and Fort Scott Fire Chief Paul Ballou conducted most of the research on a new notification system prior to Wallis coming on board with the county earlier this year.

“It’s a 24/7, 365-day-a-year system,” Wallis said. “We have the ability to implement an unlimited amount of texting, use of social media and voice messages. It will be provided to every person with a phone system, even someone who is traveling through the county.”

Ballou said “anything or anyone with an IP (internet protocol) address can receive notifications” through the new system. He also talked about the new system’s potential benefits.

“It’s a mass notification,” he said. “People get concerned during severe weather. For example, if we were to lose dispatch, if for some reason it went down, we would still be able to utilize this and get notifications out to people and let them know what’s going on.”

Another advantage, Ballou said, is that the new system should draw more people than use the county’s current notification system, called IRIS.

“There’s not a tenth of the population in the county on the current system; this will hopefully allow more people to access it,” Ballou said.

Ballou said the “emergency side” of the new system will run out of the current dispatch center. There is also a “non-emergency side” to the new system that can be used for such communications as contacting employees of various departments.

Wallis said the new system could also result in saving taxpayer money. For example, during a snow storm in the county, the alert system could be used to notify county crews by cell phone to not show up for work if the storm is not as bad as anticipated and only one or two workers are needed.

“You can do a lot with it, or very little,” he said. “The sky’s the limit on all the notifications this thing can be used for.”

Ballou said Walker manages the county’s current system, which Ballou said is “not a real user-friendly type system.”

“You have to go in and type the names and numbers sent out and delete information if you want to take it out,” he said. “With CodeRED, everything is already loaded in there.”

Wallis agreed, saying the current system “doesn’t have the speed or user-friendly capability.”

“We want to get the most bang for our buck,” he said.

Wallis said CodeRED will work “similar to but not the same as an Amber Alert system.” The system can be used to warn of approaching storms, or a lost child – even if the child hasn’t been abducted.

“Any cell phones, land lines — there’s a lot of capabilities,” he said. “There’s a 24/7 technical support. We’ll have the capability to do weather warnings. It will be segmented and categorized by area in the county.”

Wallis said the county has signed a three-year contract for the system at a cost of $10,000 per year. Money to fund the new system will come from a combination of grant money received through the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, and portions of various county department budgets, including emergency management, IT, and roads and bridges.

“Which is basically nothing if it saves one person’s life,” he said. “We’re signed up for three years locked in. We do have a clause that the county attorney said should be in the contract, which means if the grant were to disappear tomorrow, we could walk away from the contract.”

Wallis added, “The price will stay the same forever. It will be re-upped every three years, which negotiations can be conducted at that time. It will be the same price, same contract, same services. We have command and control over what’s sent and who is able to send what. It’s for the benefit of the entire community and county.”

Wallis said he thinks other local entities will get on board with the system once they see it in action. Plus the cost could be divided up between more entities that get involved, bringing the cost for each entity down.

“The city is involved currently and I’m sure will buy in as time goes on, once they see the benefit to this program and see the working components,” he said. “I think they’ll buy into it. The same with schools. The schools have a program they currently use. And the more people involved, the less it will cost to have a better system.”

Another benefit, Wallis said, is the new system will allow farmers with cell phones who are out in the field plowing or planting to receive notifications of incoming severe weather – something that can’t be done with the current system. It will also provide a series of updates on power outages and other emergencies.

“A farmer who is out in his tractor will get the message that a tornado has been sighted or a funnel cloud has touched down,” he said. “The current situation is limited all the way around. A lot of things will be transmitted quickly.”

Set up and training on the new notification system will take place once the company providing the service has established a timeline. Experts on the system will give a presentation first and then county officials will be walked through use of the new system, Wallis said.

“If there’s ever been a smart way to spend money to help the general population of Bourbon County, this is it,” he said. “It keeps people in the loop. There is nothing in my eye that is negative about this.”

Ballou also said there will be a period of testing of the new system and “everyone will be notified before the test.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Kenny St.Clair



Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Woman airlifted from car accident in south Lawrence

By Elliot Hughes
Lawrence Journal World – May 29, 2014

lawrence fire 5292014

Emergency crews airlifted a woman with serious injuries to a Kansas City-area hospital Thursday evening following a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of West 27th Street and Sawgrass Drive.

The scene of a car accident at W. 27th Street and Sawgrass Drive.

Lyle Schwartz, a Lawrence-Douglas County fire-medical division chief, said the woman was taken to Kansas University Medical Center. He said four other individuals were transported by ground to Lawrence Memorial Hospital with non-serious injuries.

Exactly what time the accident occurred is unclear, although it happened sometime before 5:45 p.m. A narrative of how the crash unfolded was not immediately available.

Sgt. Laurie Powell, a Lawrence Police Department spokesperson, said the airlifted victim is in her 40s. A helicopter picked up the victim on the front lawn of Sunflower Elementary School on Inverness Drive.

Sawgrass and West 27th form a three-way intersection. Both vehicles involved rested in the westbound lane of West 27th after the accident. The two front wheels of a white Toyota Corrolla, facing south, were up over the curb.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster