President’s Remarks – July 2022

Greetings and welcome to Missouri weather. Just when it was looking like mild weather would hold on for longer than normal… the good ole Missouri heat and humidity is making a resurgence and acts like we may have finally made it to summer-like weather. 

I will take this opportunity to touch on summer safety, not just related to the fire service duties we all share, but for all activities, stay hydrated! I don’t know of many “experts” who have gone on record advising us not to keep hydrated with the correct types of liquids as a method of combating the effects of working or even playing in the heat. Make sure you dress appropriately for the activity you will be involved in and if you are in full PPE it is paramount that you take regular breaks and allow your body an opportunity to cool. Working in extreme temperatures can often amplify other existing health conditions so make sure you are keeping an eye on your overall health and be careful.

The Washington Volunteer Fire Company served as host to our Convention and Annual Meeting this past May and did a fantastic job. I cannot thank everyone involved in the planning and execution of such a smooth event enough for a job well done. Some old traditions returned this year and served as a reminder of the rich history this area of the state has with hosting FFAM events. If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend, watch for upcoming announcements for next year’s event and join us as we continue shaping the future of the Missouri fire service.

Also in May, the annual Memorial Services were held in Kingdom City to honor those members of the Missouri fire service that are no longer with us. This solemn, but supportive ceremony was well attended and we were fortunate to have outstanding weather for the activities Saturday night and Sunday morning. The foundation members once again did an excellent job of planning and presenting the ceremony and provided guidance and assistance to those in attendance. This group works tirelessly all year to make sure all are recognized. Thank you foundation members for all you do.

As you are likely aware with the onset of the heat and humidity the Missouri State Fair must be just around the corner. Hopefully, you got your application to serve with the Missouri State Fair Fire Department submitted on time and you will be able to provide service to the visitors of the fair this year. This unique department, which forms for only eleven days each year, provides vital fire and medical services and has kindled many long-term friendships, and provides an opportunity for those working to receive additional training. For those members serving this is an excellent opportunity for you to showcase your skills gained at your home agency and allows visitors to the fair to witness the outstanding abilities of the Missouri fire service. If you have the opportunity to be in Sedalia during the fair make sure you stop by the fire station and visit with the hard-working men and women voluntarily serving.

In almost every publication relating to the fire service, you will likely find an article detailing how volunteer departments are suffering personnel shortages, but most recently it appears full-time paid agencies are starting to feel the pinch of fewer applicants. We can all take an active role in trying to reverse this trend even when we realize our members and potential members have busy lives. In many ways, the amount of “busy” has not changed over the years dramatically, but how we each apply our time appears to be where things have shifted. If we keep in mind that commitments like family, outside employment, farming, vacations, and a million other things are tugging at our time wallet and work to make the fire service as attractive as we possibly can, free of petty issues, negative environments, cliques, and other similar items, I think we can recruit more new members and retain many of those we have. We all need to do our part to get this right as our communities are depending on us.

In closing, I encourage each of your agencies to remain or become as visible in your community as you can. Taking part or “appearing” at the many community events during the summer especially is a great way to garner community support. During these warm months, those attending events are more likely to be willing to engage and interact with you so seize these moments to promote your agency, your services, and your community. When you are at an event, don’t stand back and hope people will stop by your area, step off the path and engage those in attendance. Once you get a “crowd” hanging out around you others will come even if they don’t know why. It just seems most folks are drawn to a gathering of other people just out of curiosity, so reach out and create your own crowd. If any of the Board of Directors or I can be of service please make contact as we are here to serve the FFAM members and in turn serve our communities and the Missouri Fire Service. Be Safe!