Archive for July, 2014

KSFFA Regional Fire School hosted by Harvey County Emergency Services Association

KSFFA Regional Fire School
Hosted by Harvey County Emergency Services Association
August 1-2, 2014
Location: Fire Station (near Hwy 50) – Burrton, KS

Friday – August 1st – 6 p.m.

1.  Vehicle Fires – Full Bunker Gear & SCBA required
2.  Oil Tank Battery Fires
3.  NFIRS Reports

Saturday – August 2nd – 8 a.m.

1.  Engine Company Ops for Small Departments
2.  Basic Skills – Ventilation, Ladders, Hose Lays, SCBA, Forcible Entry – Full Bunker Gear & SCBA required
3.  Water Rescue – This class is approved for BEMS Continuing Education Hours
4.  FRA Mini Clinic

Saturday – August 2nd – 1 p.m.

1.  Engine Company ops for Small Depts. (cont.)
2.  Basic Skills – cont.
3.  Firefighter Rehab – This class is approved for BEMS Continuing Education Hours
4.  CAFS Systems

Saturday – August 2nd – 6 p.m.

1.  Fire Grounds – Burn Trailer – Full Bunker Gear & SCBA required

Contact Info: Chief Jim VanSchaick, Halstead, 316-835-2606 or 620-340-3048 or , Chief Jon Robert, Burrton CFD #5 620-960-0223 or Asst. Chief Rusty Walters, Burrton CFD #5 620-899-1407

All classes are free of charge. Fit testing with port-a-count machine will be at this school. If you need Firefighter 1 or 2 testing you will have to pre-register through Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute.


Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Osage City apartment damaged in fire

By Jeremy Gaston
Osage City Herald Chronicle – July 31, 2014

osage city fire 7312014

Firefighters responded to a structure fire at 11:27 a.m. Thursday morning at Morningside Apartments.

The fire was contained to Apartment A-1, located at 1000 Main St., in Osage City. There was no damage to the three adjacent apartments in the unit.

According to the Osage City Police Department, the fire was accidentally started in a vacant apartment by maintenance workers. No one was injured in the fire.

A resident that lived in the building was not home at the time of the fire and will be moved to another apartment in the complex.

Osage City Police Department, Osage County Fire District No. 2, Osage County Fire District No. 5, Osage County Fire District No. 6, Osage County EMS, Osage County Sheriff’s Office, Osage City Electric Department and the Osage City Utility Department responded to the call.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Crews respond to report of fire at Spirit Aerosystems

KAKE – July 31, 2014

Firefighters were dispatched to Spirit Aerosystems for the second time this week.

Crews were called to Spirit shortly before 11:30 a.m. for the report of a fire inside a trash compactor. The situation was reported under control within minutes.

Spirit Aerosystems said seven workers were evacuated from the building as a precaution.

On Tuesday afternoon, firefighters responded to another small fire at Spirit, near a titanium milling machine. In that incident, about 50 people were displaced from their work area due to smoke but no one was hurt.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

County grapples with rural EMS issue

James Jordan
Wellington Daily News – July 31, 2014

The Sumner County Commission has grappled with the question of how to provide emergency services to rural areas of the county. Ideas such as a county-wide system have been discussed, but so far no solutions have been found.

Currently the county has a complex formula it uses, bases on runs, population and other services, to determine how much to pay each individual agency.
Since Wellington and Mulvane are larger, they get most of that money.

In 2013 the county spent $655,000 on EMS for the county, and $440,000 of that went to the two cities.

Now the problem is getting worse because they cannot find volunteers to man the stations, and county officials are looking for answers.

County Commissioner Steve Warner took it on as a project when he was elected four years ago, and he is still working.
He would like to see each area of the county have its own tax base, much like fire districts do.

“I have been trying to find out if we can give each EMS its own taxing authority. They can adjust it themselves and be accountable,” Warner said.

He has asked the state’s attorney general if this can be done a few times but has not gotten an answer.

“We don’t even know if we can legally do it, but it seems the fairest thing,” he said.

Both Warner and commissioner Cliff Bales said the current system is flawed, but there does not seem to be a better way immediately available.

“No one is doing anything wrong out there. We know there is inequity, none of us likes it,” Warner said of the current system.
Most departments need to have hired staff, but few can afford that.
“The day of the volunteer is about over. Cultural changes and with the economy, people don’t have the spare time they used to have,” Warner said.

Most of the departments have run for years with volunteers, but those people are getting older and fewer younger people are volunteering.

As it has risen to crisis levels, other towns like Argonia an Belle Plaine have come to the county for help, and though the commission has tried, not many solutions have been found.
Currently it is Conway Springs that is nearing that state.
They get about $15,000 from the county to cover a large area, and that drives up their costs.

Conway Springs EMS director Jim Brozovich said his department should get a bigger piece of the pie from the county and he would like to see the system changed.

“They have been talking about a county-wide system for 20 years. It is a cost issue. The city can’t raise the mil levy enough to make up for it,” he said.

Brozovich said the Conway Springs EMS has a budget of around $90,000 for the year, and they may consider not continuing the contract with the county.

It would not hurt them that much financially to lose that money, and would cut their costs dramatically.

Conway Springs held a town meeting recently, and only a few people showed up.

The city did approve some part time EMS paid personnel, but staffing it with all paid workers is not feasible.
Brozovich said the city and the EMS officials are trying to figure out what to do, and how to keep services going. They may approach the county at some point.

When they do. Commissioner Warren hopes he will have gotten a ruling from the state.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Rural EMS departments struggle to survive

By James Jordan
Wellington Daily News – July 31, 2014

When there is an emergency minutes, or even seconds, can be a matter of life or death. In cities like Wellington, a four-minute response time by an ambulance is common, but in the rural areas of the county it can take a lot longer.

Several EMS services operate around the county, and they can provide fast responses to emergencies, but some of those agencies are struggling to take care of calls in more rural areas.

Conway Springs is the latest to struggle. Other towns like Argonia and Belle Plaine have already had to make some hard decisions.
The problem is having enough people to staff the facility, or be available to make calls, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“We are in danger of losing our EMS license due to a lack of volunteers and staffing,” Conway Springs paramedic Dawn Cornejo said.

She said they held a meeting in Conway Springs recently, and very few people showed up.

Conway Springs EMS training officer Billie Nickell said state rules require they be able to get an ambulance “out of the barn” in five minutes after receiving a call. They originally had a requirement that emergency personnel live in town, but finding qualified people made that impractical.

For years, since its inception, Conway Springs has operated with volunteers, but it is harder to find people wiling or able to do so. The city did recently approve hiring EMS help for 12 hours per week.
“More than half our volunteers are more than 50 years old. We have one that is 68. Some of us have been doing this 20 years,” Nickell said.

Conway Springs has two paramedics, Cornjeo and director Jim Brozovich, both of whom also work with Sedgwick County EMS.
It is not just the city that they cover though. Nickell pointed out they cover 247 square miles of Sumner County. They get some money from the county for that, but it is not enough to provide staffing levels needed to make up for the shortfall of vounteers.
They also have two ambulances to maintain, and it costs just as much to maintain one in Conway Springs as anywhere else, Nickell explained.

Conway Springs City Clerk Kathy Barklay said the greatest problem is the shrinking number of volunteers. At the public meeting recently, she told the group if they went to a paid service it would nearly double tax bills in the city.

“I can’t imagine not having EMS. We always know we can call 911 and someone will be there. It wou­­ld be devastating to our town if we lost that,” Barkley said.

EMS director Brozovich said they may end up hiring one full time person, and with some paid part time help, the may be able to keep the system running.

Brozovich works for the Sedgwick County EMS during the day and helps out at other times in Conway Springs.

Another problem he has is servicing rural areas of the county. The county gives money to each city to pay for these services, but Wellington and Mulvane get 70 percent or more of that amount.
The City of Conway Springs will also pay for the training for anyone who will sign a contract and work for the city as a volunteer for a specified amount of time. Brozovich said that has worked out well in some situations.

Brozovich believes Conway Springs can scrape by for now, but it may have to consider some radical steps, such as ending its contract with the county to do rural calls.

Brozovich said the Conway Springs EMS has an operating budget of $92,000, and that does not include personnel. He wants to see the county work on its formula for distributing funds, which he thinks could help them cover the rural areas.

Nickell and Barklay have seen other towns struggle, and hopes Conway Springs doesn’t follow suit.

“We took on Belle Plaine service when they lost theirs for awhile. We had a few calls where there were not good results because of response time,” Nickell said.
Belle Plaine lost its service for a time, but is now utilizing a paid service.

It now has two people at the station at all times, two EMT’s and a full time director. The only concession they have had to make is not requiring them to live in the city limits, deputy city clerk Stephanie Howlett said.

Argonia did lost its EMS status, and now has first responders who can answer some calls. They are served by Norwich now for big emergencies.

“They can handle small emergencies. It depends on the day and who is in town,” city official Mindy Mages said.
She said so far it has not been an issue, and Norwich responds in 15 minutes or so.

“We get more calls that you might think, usually its shortness of breath, heat exhaustion or something like that. We have a lot of older individuals too,” she added.

Wellington EMS director Tim Hay said he thinks financing is a secondary issue to the staffing issue.
“People are older that volunteer. We have a newer culture now, there is just not as much volunteerism,” he said.

Hay said a county-wide system has been discussed at times over the years, and that may happen eventually.
“Something will have to happen,” he said.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

RV Fire

Arkansas City Traveler – July 31, 2014


Arkansas City firefighter-paramedic Nick Jindra and Lt. Jon Clawson fight a RV fire on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at 31729 61st Road.

The engine compartment along with the front half of the RV was already fully engulfed in flames when the fire department arrived.

The recreational vehicle was being backed up into the driveway after a long trip when the fire started. No one was injured.

Video by Donita Clausen.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Sedgwick Co. firefighters fight job cuts in $421M budget for 2015

By Annette Lawless
KAKE – July 30, 2014

Sedgwick County firefighters are tackling a new battle: keeping their jobs.

Wednesday morning, some firefighters from Fire District 1 asked that the county reinstate the positions for the proposed 2015 budget.

“We’re not a cost center within the Sedgwick County budget. We’re a fire district and we’re a value-added service,’ said Dave Thompson, a 17-year firefighter with the county and representative with the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan said it’s a tough reality, but eliminating the jobs has helped reduce about $400,000 of its proposed $17.6 million plan for the fire department.

“Despite that savings, the fire district will run a deficit in 2015 and that’s unacceptable,” he said. “This is a consequence of how much services are provided and how high the taxes are. If you’re not going to raise revenues, then service has to be diminished.”

In the past four-and-a-half years, departments have seen significant change, Buchanan said. About 300 positions were eliminated throughout the county — a result of a $59 million loss in revenues from the state.

“This commission’s got a strong commitment to keep this community safe, but we’ve got to do it as responsible a price as possible,” said commissioner Karl Peterjohn.

Commissioner Tim Norton echoed the sentiment and said the county should re-examine areas with a higher call emergency call volume.

Thompson said he understood the reality of budget cuts, but suggests the county consider an alternative.

“It might be time to look at management when it comes to cutting these positions rather than cutting the firefighters, where the rubber meets the road,” he said.

“That’s nonsense,” Buchanan responded. “You need a command structure in absolute emergency situations and that’s an easy thing to talk about but a terrible difficult thing to do.”

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster