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Pittsburg Fire Department donates Thanksgiving meal to Safehouse

By Stephanie Potter
Pittsburg Morning Sun – November 22, 2017

Photo by Stephanie Potter

The Pittsburg Fire Department is helping Families at Safehouse Crisis Center have a traditional Thanksgiving meal by donating a turkey, ham, stuffing and more.
On Tuesday the fire station presented the food to Safehouse Crisis Center Program Director Brooke Powell and Shelter Manager Jessena Schultze.

They piled the turkey and rolls into the car for the survivors of violence at Safehouse, which will come together in the kitchen and make a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner this week.

“It’s a really neat thing,” Powell said. “We try to make it normal and special as possible, they may be away from family.

“The holidays can be difficult, we try to go beyond to make special for them.”

Schultze agreed.

“This is really great, it helps a lot,” she said.

Schultze said the fire station’s donation will help make a normal Thanksgiving dinner and coming together for the meal will help the survivors feel less isolated in their situation.

Captain Rich Wood said the fire department started the charity fund in 1998 and since then has helped people in the community, from food to Christmas toys. The charity is funded by each fire fighter, who take $60 out of their own pocket to help others.

“We like to give back to the community and help everyone have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoying having dinner like everyone else does,” he said.

 

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Fire officials say wind, dry conditions lead to grass fires

By Tiffany Lane
KSN – November 22, 2017

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If you’ve stepped outside lately, the Kansas wind has been unavoidable.

And, it has led to a wave of grass fires in the area over the last few days.

“Right now with the weather changing to wintertime and the temperatures dropping now, the grass is becoming dormant and dry,” said Lt. Jose Ocadiz, of the Wichita Fire Department. “So, basically we want to make sure that we try to prevent fires as best as possible.”

Sometimes fire crews are able to put out the fires quickly.

“Today, we were fortunate with the fire we had that it burned into a lease road and we were able to get to it quick and stop,” said Joseph Haag, El Dorado fire chief.

Ocadiz says it doesn’t take much to start a fire in these conditions.

“The most important factor, the ignition source, is that- is cigarette butts,” he said. “Just as small as a cigarette butt being thrown into the grass and as much as the wind is blowing right now can cause a small fire, go into a house and become-involve that whole block.”

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, Ocadiz says there are additional things to keep in mind while preparing a family feast.

“For deep fryers just make sure that you’re 10, 15 feet away from the house or any type of wooden structure so that you can have a safe environment for cooking outside,” he said. “And, it’s no different from barbecuing during the summer time.”

 

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Volunteer firefighters step up to keep Kansans safe

By Chris Arnold
KSN – November 22, 2017

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Firefighting is truly a service job, and here in Kansas it takes on a whole different meaning.

The U.S. Fire Administration says 80 percent of fire departments in Kansas are volunteer. The administration also says Kansas is about 10 percent above the national average when it comes to volunteer fire departments.

This means many of our brave men and women that protect and serve the public do it without getting paid.

As some longtime, dedicated firefighters edge towards retirement, it doesn’t make it any easier to find people who will step up to save.

One town in Kansas that has a volunteer department is Cedar Vale. The town of 579 people is tucked away in the southeastern part of the state in Chautauqua County.

Most people in town spend their days at work and school.

Cedar Vale School is where you can find Montra Beeler. She has worked as a Para-educator there since 2001. Beeler spends a majority of her day walking the hallways, going to different classes to lend a helping hand to the students who need it.

“I come to this end of the hall for four hours and then I go back to biology,” said Beeler.

While Beeler enjoys her job at the school, her real passion comes when she throws on her fire gear and heads out the door to fight a fire.

“Your adrenaline gets up when you get paged out to come to a fire,” said Beeler.

Beeler has been volunteering for Chautauqua Fire District 1 for six years. She said her son, Marshall, who has been a volunteer for eight years told his mom she should volunteer. He put the idea in her head after noticing she was always hanging around the fire house.

While small in stature, Beeler met the idea head on.

“Because most of them are all younger than me, they are just younger than me and just nicknamed me the momma of the firehouse,” said Beeler.

Beeler is 62 years old, lively and energetic. She says getting younger volunteers is more of challenge now, than it used to be.

“I think it is just hard to get the volunteers here and keep them, you know, we have a fluctuation kinda and there are a few of us who have been here quite a while now,” said Beeler.

Chief Steven Dale, with the Chautauqua Fire District 1 says they made a push to try to recruit some younger volunteers.

“We did have a small issue with our recruitment so we decided to start a junior firefighter program, we went to our high school and we set a couple of parameters of 15 years of age or older,” said Chief Dale.

While they were able to get a few young recruits here and there, it hasn’t totally helped combat the problem.

“Living in a small town, you have to survive, you have to work out-of-town, like I said I got 25 people on our roster but most of them are working out-of-town,” said Chief Dale.

The National Volunteer Fire Council says there are about 661 fire departments spread across the state of Kansas. Only about 40 of those are designated as career, or paid departments.

The NVFC says there are 16,000 firefighters in Kansas, 12,000 of which are volunteer. They estimate that about a third of the volunteers are above the age of 50 years old.

Living in a small community, Chief Dale says younger people graduate high school and then leave.

“It happens a lot or if they do stick around, they work out-of-town again,” said Chief Dale.

So Chief Dale says, they just roll up their sleeves.

“A lot of hard work goes into a rural, volunteer fire department,” said Chief Dale. “And when we ain’t got the money, we just put in a little bit harder work.”

As for Beeler, she says the hard work and a little bit of fun that she says she won’t stop having, just yet.

“It just kind of gets into you, just kind of grows on you,” said Beeler.

Even at 62 years old, Beeler knows it’s a service that her community still relies on.

“You have to survive on volunteers, you have to have those volunteers,” said Beeler.

Chautauqua Fire District 1 responds to about 50 to 60 fires every year. Chief Dale says that is mainly during grass burning season in the Spring.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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Cooking fires increase at Thanksgiving

Newton Kansan – November 22, 2017

Every Thanksgiving — for that matter every holiday — the Newton Fire/EMS stations are filled with men and women ready to roll if the fire alarm rings. There are no days off from tragedy.

The department still tries to make it a special day.

“A lot of times on Christmas and Thanksgiving the guys try and have their families down and try and make it a family holiday at the firehouse,” said Scott Metzler, chief of Newton Fire/EMS.

Thanksgiving is a special time, and for the fire department is a busy time.

According to the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office, cooking is, and has long been, the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries, and according to the records collected from reporting fire departments in Kansas, home cooking fires increase significantly around the times of major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter.

“It certainly is busier,” Metzler said. ”… Thanksgiving week usually goes up for us and we are seeing a bump right now.”

According to the state fire marshal, in 2014 Thanksgiving Day was the second busiest cooking fire day across the State of Kansas. Nationally, Thanksgiving was the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many fires occurring on this holiday as any average day of the year.

Overall, according to the Annual Report for the Kansas Fire Incident Reporting System, 28 percent of structure fires in 2014 started in the kitchen with a reported $4,263,469 in damage, three deaths, and 28 civilian injuries.

“With Thanksgiving being such a hectic holiday, with all the activity and guests in a home, it can be easy to get distracted and lose track of what is cooking in the oven and on the stovetop,” said Doug Jorgensen, Kansas Fire Marshal. “We encourage all Kansans to take common-sense precautions to prevent a fire tragedy on their holiday.”

The Kansas Fire Marshal also discourages the use of turkey fryers which can lead to devastating burns and the destruction of property due to the large amount and high temperature of oil used. Those who prefer fried turkey should look for grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants that sell deep-fried turkeys.

Metzler is not overly excited about turkey fryers, either. However, he said there has not been a fire in Newton started by a turkey fryer in five years — though the National Fire Protection Agency states there have been as many as 900 a year nationally.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
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Kansas Forest Service–more than just trees

November 22, 2017

When you think of the Kansas Forest Service, it’s likely that trees and programs supporting trees come to mind. Many are unaware that the KFS encompasses a multitude of programs that serve Kansans in a variety of ways. The fire management program is one of these programs that has a real impact on the safety and protection of Kansans across the state, said Eric Ward, excess property manager with the KFS.

The primary focus of the fire management program has long been to empower Kansas fire departments to serve their communities. There are around 16,000 firefighters in Kansas and at least 13,000 of those are volunteers in the state’s 486 rural fire departments. The Kansas Forest Service fire program provides training, excess property distribution, prevention materials, grant funding and consulting. All of these are aimed at helping fire departments provide the best services possible. The past two years have made it obvious that the wildfire situation in Kansas is escalating, as it has been elsewhere, and the fire program is helping rural and volunteer fire departments keep their communities safe by providing equipment and trucks, free of charge, to combat loss due to fire.

One of the ways the Kansas Forest Service is increasing fire departments’ capacity is through the Federal Excess Property Program. It serves as a conduit for fire departments to be loaned excess federal property, generally military vehicles and fire equipment that have been outfitted to serve their needs. The property remains under federal ownership and when no longer needed the equipment is returned to the forest service for reassignment or disposal.

Additionally, the program provides salvaged parts to help fire departments reduce maintenance costs and provides access to new replacement parts at a reduced cost. Nearly all Kansas fire departments are struggling to meet operational needs, Ward said, and the Federal Excess Property Program can mean the difference between having quality equipment and having no equipment at all. It’s important to note about 90 percent of Kansas is protected by volunteer fire departments. There are currently 793 pieces of large equipment and trucks across Kansas, worth $26.5 million.

The Kansas Forest Service also received a fire engine recently through the Federal Excess Property Program from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is an agency partner in wildland fire management. Engine 44 will be used in prescribed burning, training, spring wildfire support and will likely be deployable in the summer fire season to help combat fires around the country.

Ward said the Kansas Forest Service is proud to make a difference for Kansas fire departments, continually striving to be a reliable source for replacement equipment for fire departments around the state, especially in the current economic climate.

The fire management tab on the Kansas Forest Service’s website has more information on what the fire program does. For more information on the excess property programs that help keep volunteer fire departments running across the state, visit http://www.Kansasforests.org/fire_management/excessproperty.html.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

Sneak peek at 2018 Kansas firefighters calendar featuring local firefighters

FOX 4 News – November 21, 2017

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Ladies, you can skip the long lines and door busters on Friday. One of the best gifts for your girlfriends is something you can order online.

It’s the 2018 Kansas firefighters calendar.

Fox 4 had the opportunity to meet “March” and “April.” The Leawood, Kan., firefighter, Jeff Cox, and Kansas City, Kan., firefighter, Craig Maleta, said they got involved in the project because they wanted to give back to their community.

Fox 4 also decided to edit Mark Alford and Nick Vasos into the calendar. Watch the video above for the hilarious photo reveal.

If you’d like to order a calendar, click here.

No injuries after mobile home catches fire in Manhattan

By Brian Dulle
KSNT – November 21, 2017

Photo by Manhattan Fire Department

No injuries were reported after a mobile home caught fire Monday morning in Manhattan.

The Manhattan Fire Department responded at 10:05 a.m. to a report of a structure fire at 2500 Farm Bureau Road, Lot #68. When crews arrived they could see smoke and fire coming from a single wide mobile home. The fire was contained in about 15 minutes.

The mobile home is located in the Redbud Estates Manufactured Home Community. MFD said the sole occupant was not at home at the time of the fire. The total loss is estimated to be $18,000.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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