Hello firefighter, EMS, and dispatch brothers and sisters throughout the state! I would like to introduce myself as the new Assistant Director for District 14, up in the northwest corner of the state. My name is Kyler Oliver and I am a full-time paramedic with the Noel T. Adams Memorial Ambulance District in Bethany, Missouri, as well as the Andrew County Ambulance District and West Platte Fire Department. I am also a volunteer firefighter with the Rosendale Fire Protection District. I have been involved in emergency services since 2012 when I became a junior firefighter with the Savannah Volunteer Fire Protection District in Savannah, Missouri, where I currently live. I was first introduced to the Fire Fighter’s Association of Missouri at the Missouri State Fair Volunteer Fire Department in 2012 and I still currently serve with them as a dispatcher and paramedic. I am a fourth-generation firefighter and many members of my family have served starting with my Great-Grandfather.
One of the things that I love seeing every year when I go see all of my brothers and sisters is the different apparatus that are donated throughout the State of Missouri. One reason that I enjoy this is because I get to see the different slogans and sayings that these departments have adopted over the years. One slogan specifically that has resonated with me over the years is, “Neighbors helping Neighbors,” which Southern Stone Fire Protection District has on the sides of their apparatus. Now that may seem like a simple saying, but I would like to ask you and myself this question, “How are we going to help our neighbors?” Or better yet, “What are we going to do to help our neighbors?” How do we achieve this goal?
Many emergency services departments throughout the state do an exceptional job of achieving this goal, but all of us can always keep improving and strive for more! From the junior firefighter, new dispatcher, or new EMT up to the chief officer and board of directors, we must ask ourselves, “What can we do to help our neighbors?” Examples such as participating in training with neighboring departments or requesting training, finding different funding sources to improve the equipment that we respond to calls with, taking pride in our equipment and department, and holding each other to a higher standard all help in achieving this goal. When we respond to calls to service, we have a duty to help our neighbors, after all, that is what we signed up for! Sometimes it is a hard realization. Change is not always easy to come by and it will always be a work in process, however, if we are going to achieve the mission of the fire service, “To Protect Lives and Property” we must again keep asking ourselves the question, “How can I help my neighbor?”
I hope that as a member of my small rural department, I can do what I can to come up with the answer to this question, and as your new assistant director up in northwest Missouri, I can help progress our Missouri fire service to also be able to answer the question when someone asks what we are doing to help our neighbors.