President’s Remarks – September 2022

Greetings to all! As we wind down summer and head straight forward to fall I hope you have had time to spend with your family, friends and fellow fire service personnel. Many of you hopefully had the opportunity to get away from your normal daily grind and squeeze in some much needed relaxation time. It is important you find time to step back and “recharge” yourself every now and then. Your overall performance at work, behavior with friends and most importantly with family can certainly be enhanced if you take the time to disconnect just a bit occasionally.

As fall approaches and summer departs we are reminded the annual Missouri State Fair has come and gone. For many the Fair is the last big event for the summer as the hectic schedules of work, school, sports, farming and other family activities generally ramp up this time of year. 

Hopefully you had the opportunity to either work at or visit the Missouri State Fair Fire Department. As always the staff that volunteers their time for one or more days of service to the visitors of the Fair did a fine job and represented the FFAM and the Missouri Fire Service very well. Thank you to everyone that participated.

This year marked the 60th anniversary of the FFAM providing the fire and ems services to the Fair. Over those 60 years many things have changed and those representing FFAM have done a great job in meeting the new challenges and continuing outstanding service to all visitors. I am sure many changes will take place in the years to come, but I have no doubt the dedicated members of our Association will continue to adapt and make the Fairgrounds just a bit safer even if only for eleven days each year. 

I had the pleasure of attending the dinner held to reminisce about the past 60 years and what a treat it was to have some of the “legacy” members of the Missouri State Fair Volunteer Fire Department on hand to share stories about our early years. To look back at the meager beginnings and compare that to where we are and where we strive to be was a great opportunity. Thank you to the “legacy” members who took time out of their schedules to attend and share your memories. For those who have served in the past, are currently serving and will serve in the future you should be proud of what has been built and you have garnered the respect of many. Keep up the great work!

I also was able to attend Governor’s, Legislators’ and Judge’s Day at the Missouri State Fair Volunteer Fire Department. We were visited by the Governor, Lt. Governor and several other elected state officials. This is always an important day as it gives them a firsthand look at the services we provide during the fair and provides an opportunity to discuss the various needs of the Missouri fire service. If you do not know your local senator or representative, take the time to reach out to them and introduce yourselves. These elected officials are there to serve the citizens just as we are each in the emergency services to serve our citizens. Working together with these individuals to enhance what we do results in better service to all our citizens.

As we head in to fall, take the time to reach out to your local community and deliver a fire safety message concerning fall and winter fire risks. Work with your community members to help mitigate urban/wildland interface dangers and get the message out for home heating issues common in the upcoming winter. As a gentleman ingrained in the history of the fire service, Ben Franklin is credited as saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Speaking of prevention, Fire Safety Week/Month is coming up quickly. What a great opportunity to work with your area schools to get a positive fire safety message delivered. We generally focus on the youth when delivering our message as they seem to be a bit more receptive to the message. If we can educate them now it will pay dividends when they become adults and have more opportunities to make potentially life altering decisions with their actions or inactions. Remember the poster contest administered by our Fire Prevention Committee. If you are not familiar with the contest jump on our website and take a look.

It is never too early to start considering nominations for the awards presented by FFAM or to request educational financial assistance through our scholarship program. Nominations and applications are due February 28. Don’t put off the process and get your paperwork submitted on time. You can find more details on the FFAM website.

With our current economic conditions and supply chain issues I am sure most of you have experienced delays in securing much needed PPE, supplies and equipment. Unfortunately, this is also a time when budgets are being trimmed and serious decisions are being made about what can and cannot be purchased. During these times it is even more important for each of us to be aware of our own safety. 

Take care of the PPE you have and make sure you are cleaning it regularly. Not only will this help extend the service life, I know this is debatable due to the “wear and tear” from washing, but more importantly it can help reduce your skin contact with carcinogens often trapped in what we wear. 

Remember to be frugal in your use of supplies and take care of the equipment you have been provided. We have always heard that money doesn’t grow on trees, but if you look around new fire apparatus aren’t hanging from many branches either so be careful with what we have. Most city leaders and fire board members are much easier to work with when you can keep the spending under control, helping them to manage an often limited budget. Do your part to help your agency continue to prosper.

If any of the Board of Directors can be of assistance to you, please never hesitate to make contact. As always……Be Safe!!