Fire Marshal’s Update – May 2020

Greetings from the (vacant) thirteenth floor. This is my first greeting, from a vacant office, as all of the Division’s office staff are working from the safety of their homes. My hope is that you and your loved ones are adjusting to our new normal. We here at the Division of Fire Safety want to express our appreciation to each and every fire, EMS, police, health care provider, and all essential workers, who have been in the trenches day in and day out holding the front lines. May God continue to keep and protect and bless you!

The Division family would like to send our condolences and sympathy to the Kansas City Fire Department for the line-of-duty-death of Billy Birmingham. Billy was an emergency medical technician who chose to work on the fronts lines during this pandemic, and contracted COVID-19 and succumbed to the disease. Thank you for your twenty-two years of service Billy. Rest in peace.

I want to say, “Thank You,” to the 847 fire departments who have been patient and worked alongside us as we try and assist you in getting personal protection equipment (PPE) during the pandemic. I will add, this event is a prime example of why filling out your fire department registration at the first of each year is critical! Filling out the department’s registration as completely as possible is extremely important! This information is how we make decisions during emergencies and events across our state.
We regret the many issues the coronavirus has created with firefighter classes, and certified firefighter testing for many of you. We know moving forward when the direction is given to resume business, things will quickly become crazy. Training Deputy Chief Becky Trapani reported we have 2,800 registered to take tests. We are in discussions on how we will accommodate your needs for testing. Please be patient and work with us. At this time we feel we will begin some structured testing June 1. At the time of this article, there will not be any testing conducted on the thirteenth floor until further notice. Our plans are to conduct testing within each troop region across the state moving forward to help you stay local. If you have an expired certificate we will work through these situations and take care of everyone. Again please be patient with our training team. If you have issues getting an answer, feel free to contact me by email at tim.bean@dfs.dps.mo.gov or call 573-751-1742 or message me on Facebook.

We feel the economic strain the State budget will be experiencing. Funding will be very lean for the free firefighter education training classes for the 2021 budget year. We will be transparent as possible going forward. We want to thank the departments who are continuing your educational platform. Smarter firefighters are safer firefighters!

I would like to congratulate Eric Hartman on being appointed as the State Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator. He has replaced Matt Luetkemeyer who I selected as the Assistant State Fire Marshal. Eric brings over twenty-five years of fire service experience, recently retiring from Columbia Fire Department. We look forward to Eric picking up where Matt left off!

Farewell to DeeDee Edwards who officially retired on April 30. DeeDee worked over thirteen years for the Division of Fire Safety. She has been a great asset and the first line of contact to many of you for state testing. She always brought a pleasant, kind, and helpful attitude day in and day out. We wish her a great retirement and success with her new chapter in life, “Thanks DeeDee!” God Bless you.

In closing, thanks for all each one of you do to keep our state safe, responding to other’s needs for help, waking up and being the best boots on the ground, and leaving things better than you found them. Keep the Faith!

J. Tim Bean
State Fire Marshal
Division of Fire Safety