I am sure you were as surprised as I with the announcement that MUFRTI Director Gary Wilson had
tendered his resignation effective July 30th. We all know how difficult it can be to make career
changing decisions and I understand the many issues Gary must have considered before reaching
such a decision.
Missouri’s fire service, myself included, has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with
Gary. Gary’s dedication, talent, professionalism and proactive attitude have impacted the fire service
in this state in a positive manner. It has truly been a pleasure to have worked with Gary over the
years. Overland Park Fire Department has gained an outstanding training chief and soon will realize
what an asset they have recruited. I and the entire Division staff wish Gary all the best in his new
In keeping with the theme of training, I am pleased to announce that House Bill 1509 passed during
this legislative session. The Division’s intent on initiating this bill was to further validate the training
and certification programs offered by the Division. State certification will continue to remain a
voluntary program, however, the demand for certification has increased and many departments utilize
the state certification process as a promotional requirement. Within this bill the Division will have the
authority to promulgate rules and regulations pertaining to the state certification process. Individually,
fire fighters will see minimal impact as a result of this legislation as it relates to the Division’s testing
and certification process.
I encourage individuals seeking certification, instructors and evaluators, to review the Division’s
certification policies before taking written or practical skills exams. There is nothing more frustrating
for a student than to have completed the course and prerequisite requirements, only to be informed
they are ineligible because an evaluator, assistant evaluator or instructor, does not meet the
certification requirements. It is extremely important that the certification program maintains its integrity
and credibility. The process requires the Division to strictly follow guidelines as outlined by the
International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. The Division’s most current Policy and Procedures
Manual and certification booklets are posted on our website.
During the last week of June, Governor Blunt signed department budget bills which included the
restoration of $100,000 in firefighter training (House Bill 230) that was cut from the budget last year.
This additional appropriation, along with approximately $130,000 from the “fire education fund”,
money collected through the Division’s fireworks program, will be available beginning July 1st.
Recently, these funds were awarded through training contracts with MUFRTI, Real World Firefighting,
Missouri Emergency Training Specialists, Mineral Area College and Local Emergency Training
Specialists. Please visit the Division’s website for a current list of training courses being offered by
these vendors. You are also encouraged to contact MUFRTI training coordinators to request classes
in your area.
In June, I had the honor of presenting two very special life saving awards. Neosho Fire Chief Greg
Hickman and Neosho Police Sergeant Steven Douglas were recognized for their heroic actions at a
vehicle accident in May which saved the life of a 10 year old boy. In the accident, the vehicle in which
the boy was riding came to rest upside down in a local creek. The boy, still wearing a seat belt, was
under water. Both selflessly entered the water and were successfully able to free the child and
remove him from the vehicle. Immediately, CPR was initiated by both Chief Hickman and Sgt.
Douglas. Their efforts were successful in reviving the child. Chief Hickman and Sgt. Thompson were
presented with a Division Life Safety Certificate of Appreciation and are to be commended for their
life saving actions.
Congratulations to Kansas City Fire Department Assistant Chief Fire Marshal James Duddy, who was
recently awarded Kansas City’s Distinguished Public Safety Award. Jim was presented the award at
the 2006 Public Service Recognition Award Ceremony for his 50 years of service to Kansas City Fire
The second annual International Firefighter Safety Stand Down was held this past month. The
purpose and intent of the stand down was to raise firefighter awareness and call attention to the
unacceptable number of deaths and injuries experienced by the fire service. Vehicle safety was the
focus this year due to the fact that statistics reflect almost 25% of all firefighter fatalities are a result of
vehicle accidents. To reduce these numbers you are encouraged to review your department’s seat
belt policy, regularly inspect seat belts for defects, review the department’s operations policy to
include emergency and non-emergency response, and perform a street/road familiarization drill.
Preliminary indication from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is that Missouri will be receiving
$42.8 million for state and local homeland security initiatives during the 2006 fiscal year. This amount
is less than Missouri received in 2005 and expectations are that homeland security dollars will
continue to shrink in the future. With this trend, it is more important now than ever before for Missouri
to seek avenues to more effectively utilize grant awards. To accomplish this, State Emergency
Management Agency and Department of Public Safety formed several workgroups that involved
varied disciplines to conduct needs assessment and establish priorities. Efforts of these workgroups
were key to eight of fifteen Missouri’s justifications being in the top 15% of the 586 proposals
submitted to DHS. I want to thank the fire service representatives from various areas of the state
who volunteered their time to participate in this effort.
Within the next month a state endorsed basic youth fire prevention program will be available through
the Division. In August, several Train the Trainer programs will be offered throughout the state. The
intent is to not only involve the fire service, but to solicit other disciplines such as mental health,
juvenile justice personnel and law enforcement to form local coalitions that can address juvenile fire
play/setting in their area.
To establish a state juvenile intervention program, I requested assistance from key individuals who
currently operate such programs. These individuals provided the Division with invaluable input and
direction on the development of a state program. I want to thank Mary Emge (O’Fallon Fire Protection
District), Gary Rieth (Burns Recovered Support Group), Cindy Harrell (Sedalia Police Department),
Tom Wade (Independence Fire Department), Chris Bachman (Mid-County Fire Protection District),
Neal Harmon (Sedalia Fire Department) and Linda Hansen (Burns Recovered Support Group) for
The state program will provide the essential key components of a youth fire prevention program.
Those attending TTT’s will receive the program on CD and will have access to the Division’s resource
library to support their local efforts. Again, this program is simply a foundation containing essential
components that can be further customized to fit your needs. Funding for this effort is being provided
by a $6,000 grant through the National Association of State Fire Marshals. For more information on
how you can become involved in this effort, please contact the Division.
One goal of this effort is to provide parents an avenue to seek assistance before tragedy strikes.
Parents, who recognize their child exhibiting fire play behaviors, must have access to a program that
removes the fear of this being perceived as “criminal behavior” or involves them in the juvenile court
system. This program will fit that need.
Have a safe and enjoyable summer!