Archive for June, 2016

A Gift Not A Present – The Bereavement Uniform Program


Bereavement Uniform Program

Honoring those who have dedicated their lives to the service of their fellow man is a true measure of the greatness of our profession. The Fire Service has a unique opportunity to ensure that every firefighter is honored and remembered for their service through the Lighthouse Bereavement Uniform Program. I encourage all Kansas Fire Departments to ‘link up’, take advantage of the service and support the endeavor. It is up to us to provide every comfort to the families of those who served and honor our brothers and sisters who departed this earth to a higher calling. JL Ellis, Past Pres. KSFFA

The Lighthouse has done its job and the Bereavement Uniform Program (BUP) is up, running and available in all 50 states.

KSFFA Past President JL Ellis and Sec. Steve Hirsch have done their jobs and put the BUP in front of the Kansas Fire Service community.

Now, the time has come for you and your fire department to step up and join the effort to make the Bereavement Uniform Program permanent and self-sustaining in Kansas.

If you are from a department that has a Class A Dress program, you are a ‘have department’ and your job is to make sure your department and your neighboring departments with surplus dress uniforms donate them and ‘keep the KS pipeline full’.

If you are from a fire department or have retired firefighters without dress uniforms you are a ‘recipient department’ and your ‘job’ is to link the BUP to your department’s website and/or Facebook page. Linking will provide program awareness, easy access, a level of anonymity and will take the ‘need to ask’ out of the equation.

Don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity to provide every ‘passing’ KS firefighter, active or retired with a Class A in which to answer their ‘last call’.
It’s free. It’s easy. It’s right.

Email me at to find out more.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Two workers dead in accident at Wichita business w/video

KSN – June 30, 2016

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Emergency crews are on the scene of a workplace accident in the 6200 block of South Ridge Road, where dispatchers confirm two people have died.

Dispatchers tell us two workers fell from a bucket truck at OxyChem. The company is located near 63rd Street South and Ridge Road.

The first responders said the patients were not breathing and tried to resuscitate the patients, but those efforts were not successful.

According to the plant’s website, OxyChem Wichita manufactures a number of chemicals, including sodium chlorite, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, hydrogen chloride and others.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Firefighters come to Wacky Wednesday

By Chance Hoener
Pittsburg Morning Sun – June 30, 2016

Firefighter Tom Vacca talks to children about his gear during Wacky Wednesday at the Crawford County Historical Museum. Photo by Chance Hoener.

Firefighter Tom Vacca talks to children about his gear during Wacky Wednesday at the Crawford County Historical Museum. Photo by Chance Hoener.

Pittsburg firefighters stopped by Wacky Wednesday at the Crawford County Historical Museum to teach children about their job and fire safety.

Captain Brian Main and Firefighter Tom Vacca demonstrated how to escape a burning building and how their gear works. Children at Wacky Wednesday also got to see the inside of a fire truck and ask questions about fire safety.

Jordan Lemon is an early childhood education instructor and helped develop the curriculum for Wacky Wednesdays. She serves as the lead teacher at the museum. She said firefighters came to the preschool where she works this year and it is good for children to be comfortable with firefighters.

“A lot of the preschoolers were scared,” Lemon said. “It’s good for the children to see them put on the gear and be able to talk to them and touch them.”

Main also said he wants to teach children about firefighter gear so they will not be afraid if they were to be in a fire.

The Wacky Wednesday program began June 8, and will run through July 27. The program is from 11 a.m. to noon and is free. Each week has a different theme.

“We like to bring in the community to show our appreciation,” Museum Director Amanda Minton said. “The community and volunteers helped us get the doors back open.”

Wacky Wednesdays include a snack, interactive music, crafts and storytime, as well as demonstrations such as the one from firefighters. Next week’s theme will be oceans.

“We started with three kids and now we’re up to 15,” Minton said. “So we’ve done pretty good, and we hope to keep growing.”


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Firefighters step up to meet challenge

By Jennifer Walleman
Fort Leavenworth Lamp – June 30, 2016

Fire Lt. Chris Coughlin races to put on his gear during a relay race. Photos by Prudence Siebert.

Fire Lt. Chris Coughlin races to put on his gear during a relay race. Photos by Prudence Siebert.

Fire Lt. Chris Coughlin races to put on his gear while Lt. Stephen Kidwell observes and helps keep time during a relay race.

Fire Lt. Chris Coughlin races to put on his gear while Lt. Stephen Kidwell observes and helps keep time during a relay race.

Firefighter William Stone climbs up and down a ladder three times, supported by Lt. Chris Coughlin, while Fire Inspector Jamison Amparan and Lt. Stephen Kidwell keep time and firefighter Courtney Risser readies to begin the hose drag portion of the relay race.

Firefighter William Stone climbs up and down a ladder three times, supported by Lt. Chris Coughlin, while Fire Inspector Jamison Amparan and Lt. Stephen Kidwell keep time and firefighter Courtney Risser readies to begin the hose drag portion of the relay race.

Fort Leavenworth Fire and Emergency Services observed Safety Stand Down Week June 19-25 at Fire Station No. 2 on Biddle Boulevard.

Safety Stand Down is a joint initiative between the National Volunteer Fire Council and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. This year’s theme was “The First Five Minutes: Stretching the Initial Hose Line, Putting Water on the Fire.”

“What they mean by the first five minutes is structural firefighting and what you are supposed to be doing in the first five minutes on scene safety-wise, scene size-up, what water you should be using, specific nozzles, tactics that you should be utilizing, your 360 size-up, how to read smoke, locating the scene of the fire before you even make entrance, things of that nature,” said Edgar Guerra, assistant chief of training.

Activities revolved around that theme with both personal and professional training for firefighters who were still ready to respond to emergency calls.

“Safety stand down is that,” Guerra said. “The whole week is about looking in on ourselves, evaluating ourselves and our safety culture and learning from that and seeing what we can do better. There’s always room for improvement.”

The first two days involved two classes offered by Army Community Service on stress in the fire service and tactics to help alleviate it and financial readiness.

“One of our biggest things is stress so that’s one of the things we hit on this year was how to alleviate stress,” Guerra said.

The third day, Guerra concentrated on the importance of the first five minutes on the scene and used training videos from a series of experiments between the New York Fire Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Underwriters Laboratories that involved setting fire to 20 abandoned townhouses on Governors Island, N.Y., lining them with detection equipment and gases, monitoring the flow of the fire, and testing tactics for managing it. The third day also featured a class taught by Christian Howell, assistant chief of fire prevention, on safety culture in the fire department, which included fighting complacency.

On the fourth and fifth days, teams competed in the Firefighter Challenge where they participated in six different common service activities including a structural firefighter relay and activities that tested their knowledge and skills on driving and operating a pumper and EMS, hazardous materials, wildland and rescue responses.

During the relay, firefighters raced each other in a variety of tasks including putting on firefighting gear and self-contained breathing apparatus; shouldering, carrying placing and climbing up and down a 14-foot roof ladder; hammering a hydro sled, which is a device that mimics ventilating a roof with an ax; dragging a rolled hose 100 feet, and carrying a 180-pound dummy.

Guerra said the challenge was a fun activity that included tasks they work on every day.

“The challenge is just beating their fellow guys,” Guerra said.

The final day was the emergency vehicle operations course where firefighters took turns driving the fire trucks through cones, refreshing their training on the dimensions of the truck, turning radiuses and more.

“That is so important because these trucks are so big, the risk is high driving on these small roads,” Guerra said. “Fort Leavenworth has some of the most narrow and small roads you’ll ever drive on. These trucks are not smaller, they are bigger and just as big as any fire department in the nation. It’s tough. We try to train a lot in the vehicles. Every safety stand down we are always looking for ways to do the vehicle operations course.”

Firefighter William Stone participated in the ladder portion of the Firefighter Challenge. Stone has been with the department for a little more than a month and previously was a firefighter in Greece for the U.S. Navy.

He said the first five minutes of a call are crucial for firefighters.

“For us, that’s when we have the best chance of saving lives inside the building and making access and doing our job,” Stone said. “The quicker we can get into the building and the quicker we can get there to see what we have with our size-up, the quicker we can take actions to either save life or property within the building.”

Firefighter Nick Jerrel has only been with the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department for a month but has been working as a firefighter for the last 11 years. He said every day on the job provides something different.

“Every call is unique,” Jerrel said. “They are all different in their own respect.”

Jerrel said that Safety Stand Down Week was an opportunity to reiterate information and skills better preparing them for emergency situations. The department received several calls during the week’s training.

“That’s the job,” he said. “That’s why you do it, right?”


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Missing child found safe

By Brian Sanders
Holton Recorder – June 30, 2016

jackson co fire 6302016

Nearly five hours of searching for a 3-year-old girl and her dog reported missing on Monday morning in western Jackson County ended in success for the girl’s family, according to Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse.

“It was kind of a terrifying situation when you have a child go missing like that, not knowing exactly what happened,” Morse said. “We had to treat the situation like the girl was definitely in danger.”

Sheriff’s officers were notified of the missing girl, whose first name was listed as Camber and who lives with her mother at a residence north of Delia, at about 9:30 a.m. Monday and responded to the scene, Morse said. Initial reports stated that earlier in the day, the mother noticed Camber was asleep, and she went back to sleep.

“The mother reported waking up and finding her child missing, along with the family’s German shepherd,” he said.

The report set off an extensive search of the area of 166th and E roads for Camber and her dog Skyler that involved several area emergency personnel, agencies and volunteers, all totaling more than 100 people. Morse said volunteers participating searched on horseback, on foot and on all-terrain and utility vehicles.

The Kansas Highway Patrol and Life Star contributed air support to the search, Morse said. Search dogs were also brought in to help locate Camber, including a dog and handler from the Kansas Search and Rescue Group and later deputies and game wardens from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks with their own search dogs.

“We had a really great turnout of volunteers, local people who came to assist and other law enforcement agencies who provided their resources to us,” Morse said. “We had more resources coming from across the state if we needed them.”

At about 2 p.m. that day, Camber was located about two miles away from home.

“The child was found approximately one-quarter mile west of a dead end on 166th Road in a pasture, lying in the grass underneath a tree with her dog,” Morse said.

Following a reunion with her mother, Camber was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, Morse said.

Other agencies participating in the search included Holton’s police and fire departments; fire departments from Delia, Hoyt, Mayetta, Netawaka, Soldier and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation; Potawatomi tribal police; Jackson County EMS; sheriff’s officers from Atchison, Brown, Pottawatomie and Riley counties; and the Wamego Police Department.

“It was nice to have such a great response,” Morse said. “Everybody was very helpful.”

Morse also said the underlying reason why Camber wandered off, setting off the search, was unclear.

“I don’t know if there was a real motivating factor, other than she was bored, mom was asleep, and she decided to go for a walk and got lost,” he said.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Man killed when mower falls on top of him w/video

KAKE – June 30, 2016

wichita fire 6302016


A Wichita business owner was crushed and killed by a lawnmower Wednesday. Police say the 63-year-old victim was working on the machine when it fell on top of him.

“He was a very loving person,” said neighbor Carolyn Phillips. “He loved God.”

Wichita police say the death appears to be an accident. The victim died behind a house in the 2800 block of North Terrace earlier in the day and the victim’s wife found the body.

“I can’t even imagine what his wife must be going through,” said Phillips.

The man owned and operated A True Cut Above Lawn Care and mowed many neighborhood lawns. Wichita police say they’ll continue to investigate to find out why the lawnmower fell.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

Guests evacuated after sprinkler pipe fails at Hays hotel

Hays Post – June 30, 2016

At 5:29 PM on Wednesday, June 29, the City of Hays Fire Department, assisted by the Hays Police Department was dispatched to an automatic fire alarm at the Best Western Butterfield Inn, 1010 East 41st Street. On arrival, firefighters found that a fire sprinkler pipe in the attic of the hotel had failed causing a large volume of water flow into the hotel.

Firefighters immediately began work to stop the loss to the property and control the hazards caused by the uncontrolled flow of water. The fire sprinkler system was shut down and efforts were made to reduce the weight of the water on the upper floor to prevent collapse. Guests were evacuated and electrical power was shut down to reduce the danger. A room by room search was conducted to make sure all persons were safe and no one needed assistance. The damage extended through large areas of the building.

All available off-duty firefighters were called back to staff additional fire trucks to assist at the scene and maintain protection throughout the city. Assistance was also requested from the Ellis County Fire Department to help with this work. During this emergency, firefighters responded to one other coincident emergency call.

The City of Hays Police Department maintained traffic control and a safe perimeter. Police officers worked with the hotel staff to provide security for unprotected personal property until the owners could be located. An inspector from the City of Hays Planning, Inspection and Enforcement Division also responded to help assess the damage and coordinate necessary follow-up action to make sure the building was safe.

Fire crews left the scene at 7:35 PM.

The City of Hays Fire Department thanks the staff and guests of the Best Western Butterfield Inn for their calm cooperation.

The cause of the fire sprinkler pipe failure was not immediately apparent. Fire sprinkler systems have a record of high reliability and such failures are rare. Automatic fire sprinkler systems are necessary to protect life and property in large buildings where manual firefighting is not practical or large numbers of people gather. Individual fire sprinklers are activated by the high heat of a fire in the immediate area. Typically only one or two fire sprinklers activate to control a fire. When activated, fire sprinkler systems also sound an alarm to alert building occupants to the danger and call the fire department to respond without delay. With the exception of explosions and similar catastrophic events, there has never been a large loss of life fire in a building protected by an automatic fire sprinkler system.


Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster