It hardly seems possible that we should already be dating everything in 2023, but I guess the reality is that time just keeps moving along no matter what we have going on in our individual lives.
I encourage you to make a pledge to yourself, your family, your agency, and your community to make this year the best you can and set some goals you can work towards achieving.
Our organization is blessed to have so many talented professionals as members and although very few of us ever act with the desire to be singled out and awarded for what we do please review the FFAM awards and make a nomination before the February 28 deadline. All the information on the various awards and criteria is available on our website.
While you are reviewing those you might also take a look at the available scholarship information and even if you don’t need that educational financial assistance reach out to your fellow department members or a graduating high school student meeting the requirements and encourage them to apply. Again, the deadline to apply is February 28.
If you haven’t already marked it on your calendar, MU FRTI Winter Fire School is approaching rapidly. There is still time to register for classes so take a minute and visit their website and review the information.
There appears to be several new offerings this year so there should be a course available that you may not have taken before or that can enhance your skills. If you aren’t going to be able to attend classes, then consider maybe stopping in for the vendor exposition on Friday. You never know what item you may find to purchase, the information you may gather, or more importantly the friends you will run into that you may have not seen in weeks, months, or maybe even years. The dates are February 3-5, so check your calendars and then make the journey to Columbia.
We have all read and talked at length about the propensity of people in the fire service to be diagnosed with certain cancers and when you think about the environment we work in that really should not come as a huge surprise. As more research is completed, we are all finding out more items that are potentially contributing to this issue. Even things we have relied on for our safety, personal protective equipment to name one, are now being studied and potentially linked as a contributing factor.
This simple fact is somewhat mind-boggling as we all know we can’t perform our tasks safely without something as basic as PPE, but now we are faced with this new development. Even with the “built-in” issues of PPE, we can still all take the extra precautions of keeping our equipment well laundered and try to reduce some of the risks we can control until the manufacturers and the industry get this figured out.
In the meantime, make sure you are each getting regular cancer-related screenings and if you have not ever talked to your doctor about what you do, either as a career or volunteer firefighter, you need to have that discussion. You need to make them aware of your extra exposure and make sure they consider that risk as they perform even your routine exams and or treatment of “minor” illnesses that could have a much deeper-seated issue they are overlooking.
In almost all cases early detection gives you the best survival odds. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in any type of research or study as the scientific/medical world attempts to better understand our risks, please do so. The more information that can be gathered increase the odds we can find ways to reduce risks to not only ourselves but the future members of the fire service.
The budget committee put together another balanced budget for the organization that was approved at the December Board meeting. We hope with the proper planning and management of our expenses we can keep the FFAM financially vibrant long into the future. You can help with this moving forward. The largest portion of our operating funds is derived from membership dues. So, the correlation is pretty easy to make, those lower membership numbers mean fewer available funds, and the higher the membership numbers the higher the number of available funds. This is where you each can help. Be an ambassador for FFAM everywhere you go. When you visit a neighboring department, career, or volunteer, or maybe after that next mutual aid you provide, visit with that agency about the FFAM and what the organization stands for. Our membership dues are still very low considered with other similar organizations in and out of Missouri. The membership committee works diligently to make various benefits available for our members and works routinely to identify new opportunities that may help our members in some way. Do what you can to promote the organization and let’s work together to grow our membership numbers in 2023.
If you haven’t already seen the information, made your reservations, or registered to attend the 2023 FFAM Convention and Annual Meeting it is time to do those things.
The 2023 event will be held in Springfield June 2-4. We will be at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center and arrangements have been made for the discounted room rates to be available for three days before and after those dates. What a great opportunity to load up the entire family and make it an extended weekend and take in the sights and activities in that part of our great state while having the bonus of taking part in the FFAM Convention and Annual Meeting. Information is available on our website. I hope to see each of you in Springfield in June!
In closing, let’s all strive to do what we can to make 2023 the best year yet, grow our membership, and above all keep each other and those we serve safe! If any member of the Board or I can be of assistance please reach out, we are here to serve you-the members. Be Safe!