Archive for October, 2015

Fire plug colors have a meaning

By Dale Hogg
Great Bend Tribune – October 30, 2015

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The color of the tops, or bonnets, of each of the city’s 500-plus red fire plugs has a story to tell.
“We have color-coded all fire hydrants based on water outflow,” said Charlie Suchy, utility superintendent. This flow ranges from 1,500 down to 500 gallons per minute, and the different colors denote that – from blue to green to orange and down to red.
A hydrant is considered minimal if it spews less than 500 gallons of water a minute. “We like to see orange, green or blue,” Suchy said. The ideal classification for a fire hydrant is 1,500 gallons or more.
But, just because a hydrant is red does not mean firefighters can’t battle a blaze successfully, it just gives them the available flow so they can adjust accordingly.
Great Bend has 10 water wells inside the city with 580 hydrants, Suchy said. The city uses only three wells under normal conditions and that is enough to feed the city’s 90-mile closed loop of water lines.
By state law, a municipality must maintain system-wide water pressure of at least 20 pounds per square inch. But, in the event of a fire or other large water use, that pressure can drop.
So, “we have the capability to turn on additional wells if needed when additional flows are needed,” he said. Many will kick in automatically.
In addition, the city is in the process of installing variable-frequency drive controllers on all its wells, These VFDs will allow the city to maintain a more consistent water pressure.
There are also two water wells and a water tower at the Great Bend Municipal Airport with 60 hydrants, including the Expo area. But, Suchy said, this system is separate from the city proper.
In 2011 Suchy’s department painted all fire hydrants red, keeping in mind the goal to color code all fire hydrants in 2012.
Now, crews are out touching up the paint.
All color coding is according to the National Fire Protection Association standards and the four colors are standard colors for bonnets to indicate the hydrant’s available flow at 20 psi. “We have a lot of inquiries from citizens wanting to landscape around the fire hydrant or paint their own colors,” he said. “Please remember the color coding procedures the city uses, and when landscaping.”
Also, the fire department requires and needs full access. The hydrant needs at least three feet of clear area around it and “be in full visual view.”
All maintenance of the hydrants is handled by the Water Department and include flushing, inspection/inventory, repair, and replacement as needed.

Accident injures 2 near Bunker Hill

By Mike Corn
Hays Daily News – October 30, 2015

Photos by Mike Corn. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Mike Corn. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

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Two people were injured, one seriously, when the pickup they were in went into a ditch Thursday on a county road approximately 3 miles east of Bunker Hill.

The driver of the pickup was identified by the Kansas Highway Patrol as Sarah A. Herald, 37, Russell.

She was taken to Russell Regional Hospital by ambulance and later transported to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. She was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the KHP.

A passenger in the vehicle, Don R. Bushel Jr., 32, Dorrance, also was injured and taken to the Russell hospital. He also was not wearing a seat belt.

According to the KHP, the pickup was eastbound on a county road east of Bunker Hill.

Due to speed, the KHP said, the driver failed to negotiate a curve in the road, going into the north ditch and rolling several times. The vehicle came to rest on its passenger side facing northwest.

The KHP was aided by the Russell County Sheriff’s Office, the Russell Fire Department and its rescue squad, as well as the Russell County ambulance.

Shorman retires from 31 years

By Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder
McPherson Sentinel – October 30, 2015

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Gene Shorman retired from 31 years of service to the McPherson Fire Department on Oct. 28.
“Some people asked if I’d need my pager surgically removed since it’s been on my belt so long,” Shorman laughed. “Firefighting was how I could best serve the department and that’s what I’ve been ever since.”
Before 1983, Shorman had never considered fire service.
“Some people grow up dreaming to be a firefighter and that was not my goal, but when my folks lost their farmhouse to fire that got me thinking,” Shorman said. “Then a friend applied to join the fire department and all those life circumstances pointed me in this direction. I kept showing up, so the chief said: ‘If he’s going to be this interested, lets hire him’ and they hired me in August of 1984.”
Shorman learned the trade through hands-on training and classes available to employees. He explained that his previous experience with loss in a fire has helped him serve the community better.
“When I’m in a fire situation, I know what the people are going through since I’ve been there,” Shorman said. “I’ll miss interacting with the public. We’re servants of the community and I always enjoy getting to visit with people when they come to the station or when I’m showing equipment on station tours to schools.”
Shorman is also retiring from his job at Dillon’s after 26 years. Now that he’s not running on fire calls, Shorman will have more time to explore his hobbies of photography and metal detecting, and of course, spending time with his wife.
“That’ll be an adjustment for both of us,” Shorman laughed. “The community has been very supportive of my retirement. People say congratulations while I’m out and about and say they appreciate the service.”

Combine total loss after early morning fire in El Dorado

By Hali Rowland
KWCH – October 30, 2015

Photos by El Dorado Fire Department

Photos by El Dorado Fire Department

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The El Dorado fire department responded to a combine fire early Friday morning according to their website.

It happened near the area of Bluestem and SE 20th in Butler County.

Firefighters say the combine involved in the fire is a total loss and a semi-truck and trailer parked nearby also have heat damage.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

KSN Investigates: EMS response times

Video & Article

Fire chief’s Mayo Clinic heart surgery cancelled

Gardner News – October 29, 2015

Mayo Clinic surgeons canceled Rob Kirk’s scheduled cardiac ablation last week. Kirk, Johnson County Consolidated Fire District No. 1 Chief, has Sarcoidosis. He was scheduled to undergo a heart surgery last week. According to a Facebook page dedicated to Kirk’s Sacoidosis fight, surgeons determined that the surgery risks outweighed the benefits of the surgery. Kirk will now meet with doctors to try to get on an experimental drug. Sarcoidosis is an auto immune disease that causes inflammatory cells to grow in different parts of the body, most often it affects the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes and skin. Kirk has Sarcoidosis in his lungs and in his heart. Doctors diagnosed Kirk with the disease after doing heart scans last fall.

Township firefighters add EMS equipment

Bonner Springs Chieftain – October 29, 2015

The Reno and Sherman township fire departments in Leavenworth County have implemented a new medical program in their response areas.

The fire departments report that the program began more than a year ago with the development of medical protocols which allow for first responders to treat a multitude of medical emergencies and traumatic injuries.

New medical bags for first responder vehicles and personnels were purchased with grant funds. They give first responders the ability to go directly to the scene of severely ill or injured patients to begin treatment. Previously, firefighters were dependent on fire trucks arriving before lifesaving equipment was available.

First responders now have Lifepak 12 Heart Monitor/Defibrillators, which help personnel determine if someon is having an active heart attack in addition providing a shock for hearts that have stopped. They also carry tourniquets and hemostatic gauze to stop severe bleeding.

Additional equipment include IV access capability for lifesaving medications and advanced airway equipment to place a breathing tube.

The Sherman Township is just south of State Avenue/Highway 24-40 and west of Bonner Springs. The Reno Township is to the west of Sherman and south of Tonganoxie, covering the southwest corner of the county.