Happy New Year 2021, which has taken on a new meaning to me after leaving 2020! Wow, what a roller coaster year for all of us. I would never believe in my lifetime we would lose over 300,000 fellow Americans to death. And countless others who had life-changing circumstances in less than a year. It has caused Judy and myself, and I am sure many of you, to do a self-check on what matters in the big picture of life! I am very thankful for the scientist who used their God-given talents and technology to develop a vaccine. Hopefully, you and your family will take advantage of the opportunity to take the vaccine when it becomes available. I assure you, I will!
As a fire responder within our state, we have to adjust our approach and responsibility in dealing with COVID-19. I thank each of you who assisted in getting the much-needed PPE into the departments around our state. We had some complaints, but in the end, we got it done. With the vaccine around the corner, I want to bring to light an issue. Please educate yourself on the hazards associated with the transportation of the vaccine. The carriers, Fed-Ex, UPS, and others will be transporting this across our state in dry ice packaging. A quick reference to the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG), UN-1845, gases-inert, including refrigerated liquids. Look it up and educate yourself now, not on the side of the road in the middle of the night! If your agency does not have the latest version (2020) of the ERG, contact the MERC at 573-526-9249.
As we start our new year, I feel we should take time and check on each other’s mental health. Stress from our jobs, bills, relationships, and whatever else you want to fill in can be overwhelming. I come from the old school of, “suck it up buttercup!” And I did. But, there is a better way! We have programs and teams with awesome counselors, who can aid us in dealing with our troubled minds and problems. Please take time and look out for each other. Chiefs this starts with you. You must advocate and support this throughout your departments!
In June, we created an opportunity for me to recognize your fire department members from the Division of Fire Safety when they pass away, retire, or get promoted to chief. Please take advantage of this and use the form we have provided. In 2020 we lost 2,257 years of firefighter service from our state due to death, along with 1,393 years of firefighter service due to retirements. This information is from the data I have collected from this recognition program.
Missouri Fire Service Recognition Program
The Missouri Division of Fire Safety has implemented a program designed to recognize members of the Missouri fire service in the following categories:
- Senior fire officers and other members hired/promoted to the rank of Fire Chief in the Missouri fire service
- The family of any current member or retiree death, regardless of rank
- Members retiring from the Missouri fire service regardless of rank (as determined by individual agency retirement guidelines)
- The State Fire Marshal will issue a Salute to Service certificate for presentation to the member or a member’s family, as appropriate. For a deceased member or retiree, the death does not need to be a line-of-duty-death to receive a certificate.
If you have anyone in your organization that meets the above criteria, please use the link from our website and submit the information to our office.
In closing, I look forward to what 2021 brings. We hopefully will have some exciting news to share from the training and certification division in a month or two. We also are working and anticipating to have Firefighter’s Day at the newly renovated capitol this year. Thank you for what you and your departments do day-in and day-out. I appreciate you, and I am honored to be your State Fire Marshal! If I can help you in any way, contact me at 573-751-1742.
May God bless and keep you!
J. Tim Bean
State Fire Marshal
Division of Fire Safety