Welcome to Fall! What a great time of the year to get out and enjoy what our great state has to offer. Vibrant colors, abundant wildlife, state parks, local festivals, high school, and college football games, and the unofficial state “holiday” we call deer season are all here to enjoy. Take time to step away from your daily norm and push the reset button on yourself and get ready for the coming winter.
I had the pleasure of attending the Memorial Services for Missouri’s fallen firefighters in Kingdom City in October. The evening candlelight and the Sunday morning memorial service were both blessed with outstanding weather, and they were well attended. The support for the survivors and the respect shown for those fallen is always apparent and hopefully helps everyone involved better cope with these losses. Although we will always have death in the fire service, we each need to step up and do all we can to lessen the frequency of our line-of-duty deaths. Congratulations to the Fire Fighter’s Memorial Foundation and everyone that contributed in some fashion for another job well done.
Please keep in mind as the year is winding down that the FFAM offers several recognition awards and scholarships presented at the annual meeting and convention. Deadlines to make a nomination or apply for a scholarship are February 28, 2022. So get busy now as the few months between then and now will vanish before you realize. We have many deserving members who perform outstanding things throughout the year and deserve to be recognized. However, without your nomination, many of these people will go unrecognized. You can find more information on the awards and scholarships at FFAM.org.
Speaking of the annual meeting and convention. Things are moving right along in planning the 2022 event hosted by the Washington Volunteer Fire Company from May 6-8, 2022. If you have never been before or if you are an old pro at attending, please plan now to be with us in May. There will be ample opportunities to learn, network, participate in challenge contests, and conduct the annual business of the Association. You can find information at www.washmofire.org/ffam-convention-2022.html. Get your calendars marked and your reservations made, and come enjoy a weekend with fire service personnel from all across the state.
While you are marking your calendars, do not forget to start planning for MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute’s Winter Fire School (WFS). It is February 4-6, 2022, in Columbia. It is an excellent opportunity to attend a diverse array of training courses, visit with vendors from about every possible line of fire or emergency service-related products and learn from your peers, while networking and visiting with others. Watch for updates about WFS and other available training at their site: mufrti.org
The first of the year will be here before we realize it. Please note that all fire departments in the state are required to register annually with the Fire Marshal’s Office to comply with RSMo 320.271. The process is fairly simple. If you have any questions they have folks on staff that can walk you through it with ease. The information gathered through this process is helpful in many ways. It is extremely useful in the time of need should an activation of the State-Wide Mutual Aid system be required in whole or part. It is a painless process, and once you are in the system, the following year’s registrations are even easier. Head on over to this page: dfs.dps.mo.gov/programs/resources/mo-fire-dept-form-instructions.php and bookmark the form so you can complete it on time this year and for years to come. Let’s make this the best year yet for compliance and get our agencies registered. Do not forget to remind your neighbors also.
As the year is winding down we enter a time that is often difficult for many. The onset of the traditional North American holidays usually comes with fun-filled gatherings, family meals, cheer, and joyful times. Please, keep in mind not everyone in emergency services deal with this time of year the same, and many have struggles coping. There are many resources available to assist, many at no cost to those seeking help. There is no shame in needing assistance, and there should never be any kind of stigma placed by any of us on someone that needs a little extra help. Pay attention to those around you at home and in your agency, and make sure you offer help or get assistance for those in need.
Although we often talk about “everyone goes home” relating to emergency incidents it is also critical that “everyone sees tomorrow.”. Do what you can, and don’t think someone else will step up to assist someone struggling.
If you need assistance there is help available, and we are all here to support one another. So please reach out.
In closing this time, I hope the best for each of you as we close out this year and move into 2022. We will, no doubt, be faced with many challenges as an organization, state, country, and world. We can each play a small part in making things better than they were when we came along as we work towards improvements in all areas. Make sure you are doing your best in each facet of your lives and take time to enjoy your family and friends. As always, if any of the Board of Directors or I can assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us as we truly work for each one of you. Be Safe!