Fire Marshal’s Update – May 2021

As I look across the landscape here on the thirteenth floor, my eyes appreciate seeing the leaves, green grass, flowers, and the bald eagle flying back and forth to her nest feeding her young. It reminds me that life is ever-evolving and situations come and go. This brings me to the history-making moment Sunday at the bi-monthly Fire Fighters Association of Missouri (FFAM) board of director’s board meeting. I witnessed Retired Fire Chief Kenneth Hoover step down from the helm as President of the FFAM after 28 years of service. I have had the honor to work alongside Chairman Hoover as First Vice President and Director for several years. I was a student and took notes on how to conduct a meeting, watched him maneuver through difficult topics, always being fair and guarding the integrity of the organization for the overall good of the mother organization. His passion and institutional knowledge were priceless which made him an exceptional leader during those 28 years. Chief and my friend, Thank you for your leadership, sir! Thank you for your loyalty, longevity, and commitment to leave things better than you found them in the Missouri fire service! May God continue to bless you, and your lovely wife, Mrs. Sherry.

Congratulations to Fire Chief Larry Jennings on your new appointment to lead the FFAM moving forward. I look forward to working alongside you to advocate for our firefighters and fire departments for years to come. I am excited to see what your leadership will bring to this great organization. May God bless you!

Due to COVID-19 precautions at Capitol we elected to convert Firefighters Day at the Capitol to a recorded virtual event. Our theme for this year was “Cancer Awareness.” The Division of Fire Safety would like to thank the following individuals for their assistance in making the video: Governor Mike Parson, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, DPS Director Sandy Karsten, Pastor Mike Bean, Columbia Fire Department Honor Guard, MU FRTI, Tracy Gray, Travis Johnson, Gail Hagans, Todd Mayfield, Chris Francis family, David Cheney family, Curtis Atkins Family, Jim VanDyke, Brian Zinanni, and Jeff Strawn. You can go to our division website at www.dfs.dps.mo.gov and click on 2021 Virtual Firefighter Day video and watch the presentation. We look forward to seeing everyone next year here in Jefferson City for 2022 Fire Fighters Day at the Capitol.

The 2021 legislative session is looking at the home stretch, with the session ending on May 14th. Presently funding to support firefighter training is in the budget, along with $575,000 to support workers compensation grants for our volunteer/associations across the state. Also, there has been positive traction to establish a “Voluntary Firefighter Cancer Pool” in Senate Bill 45. All of this is subject to change at any given time. If these items make it to the finish line we will be communicating through email to get the information forwarded. We will accomplish that through your fire department registration. So please if your agency has not registered for 2021 go to www.dfs.dps.mo.gov and click on FD registration and fill out the application. Thank you to everyone who has registered as we are at over 75% for the year.
We are four months away from the 5th Annual Missouri State Fire Marshal 9/11 Supporting Heroes Stair Climb. Sadly this is the 20th anniversary of the horrific day in our nation’s history 9/11/2001. Our stair climb event will be among several other activities being held Saturday, September 11, 2021, Patriot Day 2021, in Jefferson City. Some of the different events include various displays from the Pentagon, Flight 93, World Trade Center, a parade, and a 5K run/walk. Come support and help to “Never Forget” those who sacrificed it all. Funds from our stair climb will go to Supporting Heroes and the FFAM memorial foundation. To register go to www.mosfmstairclimb.org.

We have been meeting with members of the Center for Education Safety. We are wanting to focus on fire safety within our schools across our state. We would challenge you at the local level to get involved with your local school districts and help educate and advocate to practice solid fire safety and education. Meet with your local principal and administration and build a relationship to keep safe our children and grandchildren.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of our mothers. Thank you for taking on that responsibility and obligation of being a mother, May God bless you! In closing in the last issue I announced a Fire Chiefs’ Virtual Summit scheduled for May 26th. Due to several conflicts, this event will be rescheduled later this year. Stay tuned for more information as we will have an exciting summit, with topics for everyone in the fire service.

Thank you one and all for all you do, day in and day out, across our state. If I or my team at the Division of Fire Safety can be of any assistance please reach out to us at 573-751-2930. Stay safe and God Bless you.