Archive for August, 2017

Chief of EMS provides resources for firefighters, EMTs

By Erin Mathews
Salina Journal – August 22, 2017

NAME: Shane Pearson

AGE: 46

TITLE: Division chief of Emergency Medical Services for the Salina Fire Department

YEARS ON THE JOB: 26 in emergency services, more than 16 in Salina

Shortly after Shane Pearson graduated from high school in Osage City, the chief of his hometown’s volunteer fire department, John Earhart, was appointed by Gov. Mike Hayden to serve as state fire marshal. Pearson’s mother had served as Earhart’s secretary, and the relationship with Earhart led Pearson to an interest in emergency medical services and firefighting.

Pearson served in the Osage City Fire Department, then became an EMT for an ambulance service that served Osage and Shawnee counties. After becoming a paramedic, Pearson took a position with the Coffey County EMS in Burlington before moving to the Salina Fire Department. He left for 16 months to work for a helicopter EMS service in Hutchinson and Emporia, but he missed the Salina Fire Department and returned. In 2013, he was promoted to his present position.

Pearson now has his own governor-appointed position on the Kansas Board of EMS and serves as second vice president of the Kansas State Firefighters Association.

What’s your most common call?

It’s falls — falls from standing or sitting positions. That is not just in Salina — that’s almost a nationwide thing. As the baby boomers get older, that is literally one of the most common emergencies that we respond to. Big long-distance falls are very few and far between. These are slip and trip-type falls: tripping over a rug, slipping on something on the ground, trying to go from a sitting to standing position, unlevel ground, maybe being unsteady on your feet, getting in or out of the bathtub.

In recent years there was a protocol change in how a layperson performs CPR. Do you think enough people know about that change?

Probably not. We tried to have a big free communitywide CPR event. It was on Facebook, social media and everywhere to try to get a rough headcount. We were going to use the 4-H Building and set up as many CPR mannequins as we could and just do like flash mob, 10 to 15 minutes at a time, and run people through on compressions-only CPR. Unfortunately, we only had about 10 people sign up so we canceled it. We’re still trying to get the word out to everyone that it’s compressions only for layperson CPR. The American Heart Association doesn’t even advocate that you provide breaths anymore. That’s the biggest change — that and how fast you compress. The heart association recommends on average 110 compressions per minute. Basically, if you go to the beat of the song “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees, you are right at 110 compressions per minute. On an adult it’s 2 to 2 1/2 inches compression on the chest.

What do you like best about your job?

Probably the biggest thing is it’s not routine — especially for the guys on shift, but even for me. I look at myself as more of a resource person now to get the equipment, the tools, the education, the training that the guys on shift that actually run the calls on a day-in, day-out basis need to do their job more efficiently, quickly, safer with the best technology and knowledge out there.

Emergency services employees also periodically have to see some pretty bad stuff, don’t they? Is it your job to make sure they get whatever support is necessary in that way?

Not just my job. It’s the entire command staff from the fire chief to the battalion chiefs, the training chief and myself. We talk to them. If they’re having problems with things, we make sure they get the support they need, whether that’s utilizing confidential counseling services or talking to me or talking to one of the other guys who has experienced that before. Post-traumatic stress has become very prevalent in emergency services as a whole.

For years it was looked at negatively. If you were having problems and sought out help, it was looked at as being weak. That culture is changing nationwide. It’s important to seek help sooner rather than later to extend your career and make sure you retire healthy. From the day a new recruit firefighter comes to work here, managing difficult calls is highly encouraged versus locking it away and letting it continue to build up over time.

Do you feel like you work with a lot of heroes?

I think we’ve got a lot of guys who are very caring and compassionate and put the citizens’ safety and well-being before their own. If that’s the definition of a hero then yeah, I think so.


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

Burnt toast triggers fire alarm

Emporia Gazette – August 22, 2017

A fire alarm at La Quita Inn and Suites was tripped when someone was preparing breakfast Tuesday morning.

Shortly before 8:45 a.m., the Emporia Fire Department was called to the hotel for the report a fire alarm was going off. Dispatch learned the alarm was set off by a piece of burnt toast while firefighters were en route.

When firefighters arrived, they confirmed burnt toast was indeed the culprit.


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

Driver drowns after vehicle hydroplanes off of U.S. Highway 69

By Brian McCauley
Miami County Republic – August 22, 2017

A Pleasanton man drowned early Tuesday morning after the vehicle he was driving hydroplaned off of U.S. Highway 69 and plunged into deep rushing water in southeast Miami County.

According to a Miami County Sheriff’s Office news release, a sheriff’s deputy observed a passenger car traveling north on U.S. Highway 69 at 363rd Street at about 4:50 a.m. Tuesday morning. The vehicle drove through high standing water and then hydroplaned off the highway into deep rushing water in the east ditch.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Miami County Emergency Medical Services, Louisburg Fire Department, Osawatomie Water Rescue, Johnson County Water Rescue, Overland Park Water Rescue and Drexel Fire Department responded to the scene.

The vehicle was located about 45 minutes later about 150 yards south of where it originally went into the water, but it was found unoccupied.

First responders conducted a search of the area, and at 7:20 a.m. they recovered the body of Robert Dean Schoenhals, 56, of Pleasanton. He was located about 75 yards from his vehicle and pronounced deceased at the scene. There were no other passengers in the vehicle.

Heavy overnight downpours caused extensive flooding Tuesday morning in Miami County and throughout the Kansas City metro area. Portions of U.S. Highways 169 and 69, as well as Kansas Highway 68, were all closed at times Tuesday morning due to flooding.


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

Overland Park family with 4 kids, 3 adults flees to roof, waits for water to recede

By Michelle Pekarsky
FOX 4 – August 22, 2017

A family fled to the roof of their home at 155th and Kenneth in Overland Park Tuesday morning, as the Blue River rose and the water surrounded them.

Jason Rhodes, Overland Park Fire Dept., spokesperson said the family of seven is trapped on the roof. Crews are in contact with them by phone. There are four children, three adults and their pets.

“They are safe and calm,” Rhodes said. “Because they are not in eminent danger and the water levels around them are receding, crews will allow those water levels to drop to safer levels before evacuating the family.”

The Blue River flows from the Missouri River into south Kansas City and into Overland Park.

“Emergency responders are closely monitoring the Blue River which is estimated to crest in areas around noon today, specifically the area near 85th & Hickman Rd,” said Stacey Graves, Kansas City, Mo. police spokesperson. “Any bridges that experienced water overages and/or water approaching underneath will remain closed until they have been inspected.


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

Rescue crews find woman swept away in flooding

KSN – August 22, 2017

A northeast Kansas woman was found alive after being swept away by floodwaters Tuesday morning.

The incident happened in Jefferson County at Wild Horse Rd. & 62nd St. near Ninemile Creek. Officials received a call at 1:39 a.m. from a man who was with the woman. He told authorities that they got stuck in the creek. Water started to creep up forcing them to get out and stand on top of the car.

Keith Jeffers with emergency management said that man and woman were taking pictures of the creek when the whole situation happened. The car flipped, went under, and both the woman, and the car were taken away by the flood waters.

The woman was found in the 2000 block of 259th Street, about two miles where the man was located. The man is being treated for water exposure with hypothermia symptoms. Officials said the women refused medical attention and was being taken back to her home.

Multiple agencies from Jefferson and Leavenworth counties were a part of the search. The Kansas Highway Patrol sent a helicopter with infrared to search for her. Rescue crews and dogs came from Manhattan, Olathe, and Wichita to assist. Jefferson County Emergency Management said the car is still missing.


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

NW Kansas man dies in pickup rollover crash

Hays Post – August 22, 2017

A Kansas man died in an accident just before 8 p.m. Monday in Rawlins County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 driven by Demetrius Edward Tomlin, 23, Atwood was southbound on County Road 19 three miles west and two miles south of Atwood.

The pickup left the roadway into the east ditch. The driver overcorrected, the pickup rolled into the west ditch and came to rest on its top facing south.

Tomlin was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to the KHP.


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

No smoke detector: 2 escape Kansas house fire

Hays Post – August 21, 2017

Photo by Hutchinson Fire Department

Fire officials are investigating the cause of a Friday night house fire.

Just after 9:30 p.m., the Hutchinson Fire Department responded to 336 South Lorraine for a report of a house on fire, according to a media release.

Arriving units encountered heavy fire and smoke coming from the single-story home. Crews then proceeded with an aggressive interior attack.

Battalion Chief Rex Albright says that due to a quick response, crews were able to contain the fire to the front portion of the home.

Two people were home at the time of the incident and both were able to escape with no injuries. There wasn’t a working smoke detector in the home.

The home is deemed uninhabitable and the fire remains under investigation.


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

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