The fall season is upon us. The leaves are beginning to fall, the wind has been gusting at times, some of us are thinking of pumpkin spice drinks and even some of us are already planning for the holidays. Whew, where did the year go?
This month I was asked to do a presentation along with Eric Hartman with the fire marshal’s office on the statewide mutual aid system for the 911 community. This event was held October 9-11, in Kansas City at the Embassy Suites by the Kansas City Airport. This event was well attended with sixty-nine 911 dispatchers across our great state, mainly from rural agencies. We did a 1-hour presentation on how the system works and who they need to call if they need resources for their scene. Eric and I found out that a lot of agencies had no idea this even existed and just realized that they just use the mutual aid they have locally, or they had no idea that some resources were even available in their county, like how many tankers and brush trucks were available. So I figured I would do my article this month on the statewide mutual aid system and who we need to call if we need resources. This has been pretty consistent recently with all the grass fires we have had across our great state.
I work in the Region A dispatch center at the Lees Summit Fire Department, I see first-hand how this system works daily. On October 22, Fort Osage Fire Protection District was working a grass fire near the Buckner area. They had been on the scene for a bit when the wind shifted on them, before they knew it, two of their firemen were in trouble and fire was all around them. Their brush truck was on fire and the firemen were running for their lives. MAYDAY was called as the two firemen were burnt. Fort Osage asked for two ambulances, due to their local mutual aid being on other calls, their ambulances were coming from further out. One firefighter was transported to Centerpoint Hospital in Independence, by Lee Summit Fire and the other was transported by Sni Valley Fire to the burn unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City Kansas. At one point Pettis County Fire was en route from Sedalia to assist with two brush trucks and a tanker or tender as other resources were not available at closer agencies due to grass fires.
The very next day we saw mutual aid at its best. Cooper County Fire had a large grass fire near the town of Wooldridge, the fire destroyed the town. They requested statewide mutual aid to help with this grass fire. The result. Cooper County had 50 departments respond from Regions A, B, C, and F. They lost 4,000 acres, and 25 structures and no one was hurt. The Red Cross was helping the victims of the fire.
On October 23rd Kansas City Fire requested statewide mutual aid. They had a commercial structure fire at a mulch recycling plant at Interstate 470 and Raytown Rd. The fire had jumped the interstate and caused a large grass fire on the north side of the highway threatening numerous structures. The result was that 14 departments responded to either help with the structure fire or the grass fire. In the middle of this call, Kansas City also had an apartment fire with one victim rescued. Mutual resources were sent from Lees Summit to assist with this fire.
In an article in this magazine, Statewide Mutual Coordinator Eric Hartman will share thoughts on these fires and will also have information on who you or your dispatch center needs to call to activate the statewide mutual aid.
I have to say that I am proud to see the Missouri fire service come together in a time of need, whether we are volunteers or full-time, the same mission is accomplished and everyone comes home.
I will end my article by saying Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to our members. If the FFAM can be of any assistance to you or your department, please reach out. We are here to serve you. I can be reached at email@example.com or my cell at 660-229-4525. Be safe my brothers and sisters. Until next time.