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NEW ST. CHARLES FIRE CHIEF FORMERLY HEADED LAS VEGAS DEPARTMENT

November 26, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Mark Schlinkmann mschlinkmann@post-dispatch.com 636-255-7233

ST. CHARLES - Mike Myers, who retired last year as Las Vegas' fire chief, has been hired to head the much smaller St. Charles Fire Department.

Myers, who spent 26 years with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue in various posts, succeeds Rick Daly as the St. Charles chief. Daly is retiring Dec. 12.

Mayor Sally Faith said her selection of Myers was approved last week by the City Council.

Meanwhile, Faith tapped Craig Dodson as deputy chief. Dodson, who has been battalion chief since 2007, replaces Rich Oney, who also is retiring.

Myers, the new chief, began in Las Vegas as a firefighter in 1986 and later was a paramedic, fire training officer, assistant chief and deputy chief before becoming chief in 2011.

He has a bachelor's degree in health care administration and was a volunteer for years with the Las Vegas police department's search and rescue team.

Michael Spurgeon, the St. Charles director of administration, said Myers helped increase the Las Vegas department's cardiac arrest survivability rate to 30 percent from the national norm of three to five percent.

Myers isn't the first retired big-city fire chief to take over a smaller suburban department in the metro area.

Longtime St. Louis Fire Chief Neil Svetanics, after retiring in 1999, served 12 years as the chief for the Lemay Fire Protection District in south St. Louis County.

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VIDEO: FERGUSON, MO FIRE CHIEF'S INTERVIEW LAST NIGHT DURING THE FIRES

November 25, 2014 - Chicago Fire Wire

FERGUSON - Here is a video of Ferguson, MO Fire Chief addressing the media during the height of the fires last night. Just sheds some light into how many fires there were, and the conditions the Firefighters faced. The video was posted by USA TODAY and description is posted below.

"Firefighters in Ferguson, MO were battling around 25 building fires early Tuesday morning, hours after the announcement that the grand jury would not file charges against Darren Wilson. Firefighters couldn't get to some fires because of gunfire."

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GUNFIRE, SIMULTANEOUS FIRES SLOWED RESPONSE IN FERGUSON, AUTHORITIES SAY


Photo By David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Joel Currier jcurrier@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8256

FERGUSON - Firefighters battled far more than flames and smoke during protests Monday night in Ferguson, as the work of rioters and arsonists fueled TV broadcasts and social media feeds across the nation.

A steady volley of gunfire prevented firefighters from even reaching 21 fires that raged for hours Monday night and early Tuesday, officials said, after the announcement of a grand jury's decision not to charge a Ferguson police officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

"As it relates to the firefighters, it's tragic that the things that we go to great lengths to protect were burned," said Mike Thiemann, a spokesman for Region C Fire Mutual Aid, which has readied more than 80 fire and emergency medical service agencies to respond in Ferguson.

Constant gunfire and the sheer number of simultaneous fires burning along West Florissant Avenue made for a challenging response even with more than 250 firefighters and paramedics ready to work, Thiemann said. Fire and rescue workers from St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Jefferson and Franklin counties have been tapped to help.

"Just turning around in a circle you could see five working fires," he said. "It was a busy, stressful, complicated evening, but we made it through."

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar estimated he heard gunfire more than 150 times Monday night. As a result, firefighters at times were forced to retreat for their safety. The procedure, Belmar said, is for police to ensure a fire scene is safe and free of other hazards before allowing firefighters to start their work.

For example, Belmar said, firefighters were forced to pull back Monday night from a public storage business on West Florissant Avenue at Canfield Drive. Meanwhile, other businesses, such as Beauty Town, 9163 West Florissant, were allowed to burn down because police would not allow firefighters near. Belmar said there was no standing order for firefighters not to respond Monday night, but police were trying to restore order on the streets to clear the way.

Flames engulfed or damaged various businesses, including a Dellwood auto dealership where at least a dozen cars were burned, a Conoco gas station, a Walgreens, a Little Caesars pizza shop, Sam's Meat Market, an AutoZone and a TitleMax.

"Did we let things happen?" Belmar said. "Certainly not. But please keep in mind that at certain times there's not a lot we can do about any given thing than just try to maintain."

On Tuesday, three investigators with the state fire marshal's office surveyed fire damage in Ferguson, Belmar said. No damage estimate was available Tuesday, but officials were relieved the fires caused no serious injuries.

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READY TO ASSIST

November 26, 2014 - Insurancenewsnet By Linda N. Weller, The Telegraph, Alton, Ill.

ALTON - While area police are remaining on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River during current civil unrest, firefighters from Madison County fire departments are serving as backups in Missouri.

Insurance regulations and inter-departmental agreements, though, are restricting the Illinois firefighters to only assist certain departments in North St. Louis County during the violence in Ferguson.

"The only areas we can operate in are Florissant, Spanish Lake, Black Jack and Riverview Gardens," said Chief Bernie Sebold, of the Alton Fire Department. "We cannot go to Ferguson."

The departments or fire protection districts are members of Mutual Aid Box Alarm System No. 35, which extends into Missouri.

Monday night, Alton, Glen Carbon, South Roxana and Bethalto departments each sent firefighters and a pumper to fire stations in North St. Louis County. Sebold and Chief Ralph Well, of the Glen Carbon Fire Protection District, were commanders of the pumper strike team, each man in charge of two pumpers and their manpower.

He said Alton was at the Black Jack station; Bethalto at Spanish Lake; South Roxana in Riverview Gardens Station 1; and Glen Carbon was at Riverview Gardens Station 2.

None of the Illinois firefighters, though, responded to any calls.

"We watched TV and listened to the radio," Sebold said. "We never went out of the station. Riverview Gardens had one house fire, which was unrelated to Ferguson" violence and local firefighters handled the call.

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COORDINATED EFFORT HELPED PUT OUT FIRES IN FERGUSON

September 15, 2014 - KTVI BY PATRICK CLARK

FERGUSON - Monday night over 20 businesses were set ablaze in the aftermath of the Brown grand jury ruling.

Firefighters from around north St. Louis County to help put out the fires after scenes were secured by police.

Patrick Clark show how the coordinated effort came about.

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NATIONAL GUARD PUTS OUT FIRE AT BANK IN ST. LOUIS


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

September 15, 2014 - The Times Democrat

ST. LOUIS - Members of the Missouri National Guard who were patrolling St. Louis early Tuesday in connection with the Ferguson protests are credited with putting out a small fire inside a bank.

They saw someone toss something through a window at the Bank of America at Jefferson and Gravois avenues at about 2:25 a.m. Tuesday. When they went to take a closer look, they saw a small fire inside the bank. It wasn't immediately clear what kind of device was thrown into the building.

St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby said the national guard used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Firefighters arrived and helped ventilate the building.

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BUSINESSES BURN, POLICE CARS TORCHED AS VIOLENCE 'MUCH WORSE' THAN AUGUST


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

FERGUSON - St. Louis County police said Tuesday morning at least 61 people were arrested, at least 10 businesses destroyed or damaged by fire and two police cars torched in the aftermath of the grand jury decision.

More on St. Louis Post Dispatch story and photos

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CENTRAL COUNTY 911 PREPARES TO HANDLE POSSIBLE CIVIL UNREST CALLS

November 24, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The Central County Emergency 911 Board of Directors has approved two actions designed to deal with the possible influx of calls stemming from any impending civil unrest or other emergencies.

At its Nov. 19 meeting, the board gave unanimous approval to a memorandum of understanding establishing procedures on how CCE can call on the Missouri Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (MoTERT) for help if any "natural or man-made" situations arise. The agreement enables CCE to ask for help from other MoTERT-affiliated dispatch centers if call volume increases beyond CCE's ability to handle it.

The board also has approved the hiring of part-time employees up to a maximum of 30 hours per week during the next 60 days if needed to cope with possible emergencies stemming from the county's grand jury decision on the Michael Brown shooting case.

The length of time needed to get additional people to the Ellisville-based CCE dispatch center and the possibility not enough qualified personnel will be available on short notice led Director Jane Cunningham, who represents the Monarch Fire Protection District on the CCE board, to ask for reconsideration of an earlier decision prohibiting the hiring of part-time employees.

That issue was discussed in a closed session of the CCE board last month but a motion to authorize hiring part-time employees failed to gain the required majority.

At the November meeting, Cunningham argued the board needs to do everything possible to ensure public safety. However, the motion again failed, this time on a 3-3 tie vote. Board chairman David Casey and vice chairman Tim Flora joined Cunningham in favoring the move, but directors Tom Carter, David Cobb and Ken Block opposed it.

Carter said he isn't sure part-time personnel are needed and Cobb agreed, adding there had been no new information to change his mind on the issue since the previous meeting. However, there was consensus to discuss the matter again in closed session.

Asked if the policy of hiring part-time personnel generally, as opposed to hiring specific individuals, qualified as a topic that could be discussed in closed session, Rob Schultz, CCE legal counsel, said it did because of the issue's potential impact on the dispatch center's union contract with other employees.

When the board completed its closed-door meeting and returned to open session, Schultz reported that directors had voted unanimously to approve the hiring of part-time employees up to a maximum of 30 hours per week during the next 60 days.

The apparent difference in the board's voting was because the latest action limits the part-time hiring both in terms of hours allowed per employee and the 60-day time frame. The board will reconsider the latter provision if necessary.

Mike Turner, CCE's executive director, assured the board and others at the meeting that plans are in place to handle any emergency situation that might arise. Part-time employees that may be hired will be drawn from a pool of former personnel who know the center's equipment and procedures. As a result, little or no additional training will be needed, he said.

CCE receives 911 calls for fire and emergency medical services from most of St. Louis County and dispatches equipment and personnel where needed

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ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS GOT RIDE TO SCHOOL ON FIRE TRUCK


Photo by Hazelwood Fire Department

November 24, 2014 - Hazelwood Fire Department

HAZELWOOD - Two students, Marissa Carter and Ria McGowen, from McNair Elementary School got a ride to school this morning in a City of Hazelwood fire truck. They were winners of the Fire Safety Essay Contest that the Hazelwood Fire Department did with the 5th grade teachers at McNair as part of Fire Prevention Month in October.

FOX 2 News/KPLR-TV news reporter Patrick Clark covered the event this morning and interviewed both Marissa and Ria in the school's library along with their teacher. The story will air on FOX 2 News at 5:30 p.m. today and on KPLR-TV (Ch. 11) at 7 p.m.




FIRE DISTRICT PRESENTS COMMUNITY AWARDS

November 20, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT - At today's meeting the Board of Directors recognized several local businesses and individuals that have consistently helped out the district and or community outreach programs. Some could not attend the meeting.

Handyman True Value
Sports Authority Bridgeton
Self Inflicted Tattoos
Walgreens
Hutchins Funeral Home
Mr. Kim Besserman
Mattingly's
Dave Woytus
Ultimate Defense
City of Florissant Mayor Schneider
Hendels Market
Deavers
Depaul Hospital
Florissant Home Depot

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FIRST RESPONDERS TRAIN FOR MEDIA RELATIONS DURING DISASTERS

November 20, 2014 - KPLR BY DAN GRAY

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Firefighters and emergency medical personnel are trained to respond to disasters and save lives. But often times they have to face the media while trying to do their jobs and get information out to the public.

Tuesday News 11's Dan Gray was invited to exclusively participate in a media training exercise with the Metro West Fire Protection District.

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FOUR ALARM FIRE BREAKS OUT AT BLACK JACK CONDO COMPLEX

November 19, 2014 - KTVI BY SHAWNDREA THOMAS

BLACK JACK - Shortly after 5 pm a three-alarm fire broke out at a condo complex located in the 12000 block of Chesapeake Drive in Black Jack.

Five fire districts in north St. Louis County responded to the blaze.

Tenants were evacuated with no injuries.

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COUPLE, TEENAGE SON INJURED AS FIRE ENGULFS HOME IN COMPTON HEIGHTS NEIGHBORHOOD


Photo By David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

November 18, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Valerie Schremp Hahn vhahn@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8246 and Kim Bell kbell@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8115

ST. LOUIS - A sheriff's deputy who won the Medal of Valor as a city policeman was in critical condition early Tuesday, along with his wife, after firefighters pulled them unconscious from their home in the 2000 block of Virginia Avenue on Monday night.

John Rice and his wife, Joan, both 61, suffered burns and smoke inhalation. They are in the intensive care unit at St. Louis University Medical Center. Their teenage son, Michael, is being treated for serious but not life-threatening injuries at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it may have started from a candle in a bedroom. The fire broke out at about 10:45 p.m. Monday.

The son, Michael, who is 17 and a senior at St. John Vianney High School, escaped the burning home but frantically tried to go back inside to rescue his parents. The heavy smoke forced him back, and firefighters arriving minutes later went inside to pull them out.

John Rice is a retired St. Louis police officer who now works for the St. Louis sheriff's department as a deputy and bailiff. In 1979, he won the St. Louis Police Department's highest award, the prestigious Medal of Valor, when he wounded one of two men who tried to rob him as he was riding his bicycle to work.

Joan is a freelance grant writer and worked from home. She had been diagnosed with a disease that affected her ability to walk.

St. Louis Fire Department Capt. Gregg Favre said firefighters got an initial call just before 11 p.m., presumably from someone inside the house, about a candle that had caught fire and had been extinguished. Firefighters responded to the home anyway, as is procedure to check on the situation, and within three minutes of the first call they got another call from a neighbor who saw smoke and fire coming from the building.

Firefighters found the couple in the front room. Both had suffered severe smoke inhalation and burns, Favre said.

Next-door neighbor Ann Quigley said she and her husband, Gaylerd, had already gone to bed when she heard a pop, looked out her window, and saw flames coming from the son's bedroom. She screamed for her husband to call 911, and ran outside, where she saw the teenage son, barefoot, trying to get back into his house. "He was going to go back in," she said. "He was trying to use his phone as a flashlight. Smoke was pouring out."

Quigley said Michael was yelling: "You've got to help my mom and dad."

But the smoke was too much, and she said she convinced him not to go back inside and that she brought him into her house, where they got him a coat and shoes. She said the son told her he had fallen asleep on the couch.

The couple had lived at the house for more than 20 years, neighbors said.

Another neighbor, Frank Absher, said the couple are friendly and good neighbors. "Just salt of the earth, good, working people," he said.

Smoke detectors were working, firefighters said. They could hear them go off as they entered the house.

The couple had several foster children over the years, according to Quigley and Absher. Joan wanted a child and they were finally able to adopt Michael. From that point on, almost everything they did was for him. They recently bought him a car, a Dodge Avenger, that was parked on the street in front of the home, said another neighbor, Janetta Hunter.

Hunter said she saw the son yelling outside the home. "As soon as he started hollering, the house just gushed up, blew up, with smoke," she said. "I was crying this morning all by myself when I came out here. It's so sad."

John Rice works as a baliff in probate court. He joined the department in 2006 after working with the St. Louis University campus police. Before that, he was a city policeman.

John Rice drives a scooter to work every day at the courthouse. He attends department functions wearing a kilt sometimes.

"He is an erudite individual, eccentric for a law enforcement officer, with arcane interests," said Mike Guzy, a spokesman for the St. Louis sheriff's office who also worked on the police force with Rice in the Sixth District years ago. "He is very well-read, knows a lot of interesting history."

One of John Rice's brothers is Edward Rice, who is an Auxiliary Bishop in the St. Louis Archdiocese.

Neighbors say Joan was the driving force of the family and a hard worker, despite having a disease that affects her ability to walk. Recently, her symptoms escalated and she would often need help walking and negotiating the stairs to the house, neighbors say. She continued to participate in Sunday services as a member of the choir at College Church.

Vianney had a prayer service for its seniors Tuesday morning to share the news about Michael and his family and to talk about the importance of faith and brotherhood, said Tim Dilg, principal at Vianney.

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WEST COUNTY EMS/FPD SETS GOAL FOR LONG RANGE STRATEGIC PLAN


Photo by West County EMS & Fire Protection District

November 17, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - West County EMS and Fire Protection District wants to have a draft of its 10-year strategic plan ready for review by year-end.

That's the goal the district set after the last of its public input sessions for "Blueprint 2025 - A Safer Community," the title given to the planning effort.

The public meeting series was held to gather citizen input on expectations for the district that serves Manchester, Town & Country, and portions of Winchester, Valley Park, Ballwin, Des Peres and Twin Oaks and unincorporated St. Louis County. And while the initial meeting in August drew what West County leaders viewed as a good turnout, attendance fell at later sessions.

"We reached out to the community in every way we could" by talking with community leaders, by sending out notices, on our website and through social media - because we wanted the entire process to be open and transparent," Rhodes said.

Plans call for the draft to include a number of alternatives for shaping the district's future and then asking for the public's response.

Rhodes said work on the draft is underway with the guidance of Dr. Barton Wechsler, dean of graduate programs at the University of Missouri's Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. Wechsler was hired as a consultant on the planning project.

Among the issues likely to be included in the draft is what Rhodes described as the district's community outreach.

"People want more information on hazards and potential emergency situations and how to prepare for them," he said. "And maybe we need to do more to reach out to our schools and meet with subdivision and neighborhood groups. We used to do that and we may need to consider bringing that back."

David Cobb, board chairman, agreed with Rhodes.

"I think we're also at a point where we need to be very clear with those we serve about what levels of service we can provide and what the financial implications of that are," Cobb said. "So I think it comes down to our explaining that if you want the ultimate in service, here's what it will cost to provide that. If you just want to maintain the status quo, then this is what it will cost.

At one end or the other of that range, or somewhere in between, there's a point where our taxpayers will say 'this is what we want and can afford.' We need to do our best to make sure we get that input and respond accordingly."

However, John Hoffman, a blogger who lives in Town & Country, has criticized the planning program. Among other things, Hoffman accuses members of the district's command staff of lying about local nursing homes not having emergency generators and about West County not being competitive in its salaries for firefighter-paramedics

"I don't think we have to be concerned about what one person says in a blog," Rhodes said when asked for comment on Hoffman's remarks. "He (Hoffman) is entitled to his opinion, but we haven't lied about anything."

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'BROWN' DEMONSTRATIONS POSED CHALLENGE TO FERGUSON EMS AND FIRE

November 17, 2014 - JEMS By Gary Ludwig, MS, EMT-P

ST. LOUIS - EMS providers and agencies attempt to prepare for almost anything, particularly large-scale events and mass casualty incidents (MCIs). But how do you prepare for standing by or responding to the warm or hot zones of rapidly escalating and moving riots and protests? You can prepare for auto crashes, shootings, heart attacks and even mass casualties, but large-scale civil disturbances introduce unusual and highly hazardous obstacles for EMS and fire agencies.

The Ferguson (Mo.) Fire Department (FFD) and Christian Hospital EMS (CHEMS) were confronted with these issues when riots broke out on the afternoon of Aug. 9 after Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown outside the Canfield Green apartment complex. Brown, an 18-year-old male, was shot six times. Race soon became an underlying foundation for civil disturbances and peaceful protests that lasted three weeks.

Allegedly, Brown was walking in the middle of the street with a friend when Wilson pulled up alongside him and asked the pair to move to the sidewalk. A fight reportedly broke out between Brown and Wilson and initial reports indicated Brown punched Wilson in the face and wrestled for the officer's gun.

Versions of the story vary, and there was no dash camera in the officer's cruiser that could record or document the encounter, which reportedly occurred in and around the vehicle. According to a The New York Times story detailing Wilson's testimony to a grand jury in St. Louis, Wilson's gun was discharged two times in the police car during the struggle.

Another report says Brown ran and Wilson drew his weapon after getting out of his police car in an attempt to stop Brown. Some witness statements had Brown raising his arms to surrender while Wilson shot him.

Police reports indicated Brown turned back to attack Wilson after initially running away. Wilson feared for his life, so he continued to fire his weapon until the threat was neutralized.

The grand jury is still looking into the shooting, but hasn't issued any findings or indictments yet. Regardless of what actually happened, the end result was almost three weeks of civil disobedience, looting and peaceful protests.

EMS & Fire Response

At the core of providing EMS response were FFD and CHEMS. Operating from two fire stations, FFD is the primary fire agency for the city of Ferguson. FFD does first response but not EMS transport - that service is contracted out to CHEMS.

CHEMS is a hospital-based EMS system that's the 9-1-1 provider for eight different fire protection districts and municipalities in north St. Louis County, which holds a population of approximately 250,000 residents. With 22 ambulances and approximately 108 employees, CHEMS is the third-busiest 9-1-1 provider in Missouri, answering approximately 46,000 calls annually.

A CHEMS ambulance crew was transporting a patient nearby the apartment complex when it came across the crime scene. A paramedic crew member got out to see if he could assist Brown, but realized after an assessment there was nothing he could do. The crew called for another EMS unit, waited until it arrived, and continued transporting the original patient.

Because of unrest at the scene, however, the second ambulance was ordered by the police to leave the scene and move to a staging area. The police then kept Brown's body at the scene for approximately four hours while they conducted their investigation, which further agitated crowds as the word spread.

CHEMS Chief Chris Cebollero, NREMT-P, arrived some three hours after the initial shooting as events were escalating. He immediately realized the significance of the situation as the crowd grew to the ambulance staging area.

Using his years of experience, Cebollero emphasized the seriousness of the situation to the young EMS crew and supervisor who were already at the scene. He told them situational awareness was something that should be in the forefront of their thoughts.

Cebollero began looking for another staging area that would provide better safety from the angry crowd, as well as ingress and egress for the crews. According to Cebollero, "The challenge was, where do you set up an EMS staging area when the crowds kept growing and becoming more restless while holding signs that said, "Kill the police' and, 'Stop murdering us'?"

After the body was removed from the scene, the crowds grew in size and became more disobedient, and people began throwing rocks and bottles at ambulances. In some cases, the crowds intentionally blocked fire engines and ambulances from getting to scenes.

The police came out in force the first night and formed lines in an attempt to control the crowds. The CHEMS ambulances were within 10 - 15 feet of these police lines. At this point, Cebollero feared for the safety of his crews and decided to move them to another location.

There were some injuries to police officers and demonstrators the first night. The EMS response to these individuals took about 30 minutes, since it was unsafe to send ambulances into the hot zone areas. Task force protection was required, but the police were busy trying to manage the crowds.

The second night things escalated, and destruction included the burning and looting of several buildings. Fire and EMS crews could see buildings burning from their vantage point, but couldn't respond because fear of violence against them from the crowds was too high.

Importance of Communication

Adding to the confusion during the first four days was the issue of which law enforcement agency was in charge of the operation. It was technically the Ferguson Police Department's municipality, but St. Louis County Police took over the investigation and crowd control because it's a much larger agency.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon also added to the confusion by sending the Missouri State Highway Patrol in to take control. Much of this information wasn't getting back to fire and EMS, and they couldn't develop tactical plans.

Initially, there was no unified command system in place and planning meetings didn't occur. Interoperability between police, fire and EMS was a challenge because the ability to communicate over radios between was problematic, according to Cebollero.

Ray Kemp, an EMS journalist who was on scene most nights, said, "I was getting most of the information that EMS needed for their operations by following the protestors on Twitter as they tweeted out different messages on what streets they were blocking or other activity."

After several consecutive nights of looting and structural fires, it was apparent civil disturbances weren't stopping, so a joint command post was established.As the situation escalated, CHEMS began staffing five extra ambulances each night for about eight days. All five of these ambulances were staged at the joint command post and deployed as needed.

Crew Safety

Even though most of the violent activity occurred at night, there were still areas where CHEMS wouldn't send an ambulance during the day - even on 9-1-1 calls - because of concern for the safety of EMS crews.

CHEMS did have some "force protection," whereby police officers were assigned to respond with ambulances. However, other law enforcement commitments meant this wasn't always available, and when it wasn't, Cebollero had to personally make the tough decision whether to send an ambulance.

As Cebollero describes it, "We had rocks and bottles being thrown all over the area, as well as several gunshots [being fired], and my goal was to make sure our personnel went home at the end of their shift."

Cebollero attempted to acquire body armor to further protect his personnel, but to his dismay discovered it would take six weeks or more for the vital equipment to arrive. Thankfully the St. Louis Police Academy came to his aid and loaned him 30 pieces of body armor for CHEMS personnel to wear.

Despite the added protection, some areas were just too violent to expose EMS personnel to. In several instances, CHEMS wouldn't respond to some of the warm zones and had patients brought to the command post where EMS and fire were staged. Ironically, 9-1-1 calls dropped approximately 20% during the 19-day period of unrest- not only in Ferguson, but in the areas surrounding Ferguson.

Things became so dangerous that, on at least two occasions, protestors began marching toward the command post with the potential of overrunning it. Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds, but in the event the crowd was successful, law enforcement officers gave EMS personnel batons and instructed them to "do the best they could to defend themselves." Thankfully, the police were able to stave off the crowd.

Each morning, CHEMS leaders would hold morning breakfast briefings with the EMS crews, but soon became concerned about the stress the crews were under and their mental well-being. To assist them, mental health counselors were brought in to these morning sessions.

Mutual aid from other surrounding fire districts and municipalities didn't occur until about the ninth or tenth day.

Cebollero said the surreal moment came when he saw President Barack Obama talking on television about Ferguson. "Here's a guy who talks about the economy, terrorists and other things, and now he was talking about Ferguson," Cebollero said. It was at this point where the realization of how big this event was became apparent.

Conclusion

At the end of the initial 19-day period in Ferguson, CHEMS had transported approximately 70 patients. The medical nature of the complaints ranged from gunshot and rubber bullet wounds, stabbings, and hyperventilation to heat exhaustion.

As sensationalized as this event was, Cebollero fears this will become the norm when shootings of this nature occur. He believes EMS personnel should be better prepared on situational awareness issues and that they should perform practice drills well in advance of such events.

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MISSOURI GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY, READIES NATIONAL GUARD AHEAD OF GRAND JURY ANNOUNCEMENT


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

November 17, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Virginia Young vyoung@post-dispatch.com 573-556-6181

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. - Citing "the possibility of expanded unrest," Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency and prepared to send the Missouri National Guard to help maintain order in the St. Louis region when a grand jury decision is announced in the Michael Brown case.

Nixon's executive order puts the St. Louis County Police Department in charge of security in Ferguson "in areas of protests and acts of civil disobedience, should such activities occur."

The order also establishes a unified law enforcement command consisting of the county police, the St. Louis Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol. The agencies will operate together "to keep members of the public safe and protect property while allowing citizens to exercise their constitutional rights," Nixon said in a news release.

Nixon authorized Stephen Danner, adjutant general of the National Guard, to call portions of the guard into service as needed. The order will expire in 30 days unless extended.

The governor said the national guard will provide security at command posts, fire stations and other locations, and will also take on duties that free up local officers for community policing.

In a written statement, the county police department said the national guard "will be used in a support role, therefore allowing uniformed police officers assigned to the unified command to further focus on preserving life, property and allowing all citizens to express their constitutional rights."

A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the shooting of Brown, 18, who was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. The shooting sparked months of protests.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch has said the grand jury's decision whether to charge Wilson is expected in mid- to late November.

Nixon's spokeswoman, Channing Ansley, said the governor had no detailed knowledge of when to expect the grand jury decision, other than McCulloch's public statements.

Ansley said the three agencies in the unified command would operate as "co-equals," the same way they operated during the recent weekend of resistance that drew protesters from around the country.

"It's consistent with how they've been operating...very effectively in the governor's view," she said.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the National Guard soldiers will not be on the front lines interacting with protesters, but will instead serve in a "backfill" role to guard police stations, command posts and help guard shopping centers.

"Visibility is a deterrent, and if there are crimes occurring, (the National Guard) will serve to give us an early warning for the police to respond," Dotson said.

Dotson said the governor's announcement doesn't mean a grand jury decision is imminent.

"All I know is that sometime between the middle and end of the month an announcement will be made," he said. "But you don't snap your fingers and the National Guard appears. There is a process.... and it all takes time."

Dotson also noted that police will respond donning their everyday uniforms, and will only wear riot gear should "circumstances warrant it."

"Everybody is hung up on optics, but these are all tools that we all have to let us do our job and preserve life and property," he said. "People are so worried about optics, but a riot helmet never hurt anyone. It keeps officers safe so they can keep protesters safe."

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FIERY CRASH ON PAGE SENDS WOMAN TO THE HOSPITAL

November 16, 2014 - KTVI

OVERLAND - A fiery accident in Overland Saturday night sent at least one person to a hospital. A FOX 2 viewer sent us cell phone video of the scene. It crash happened around 9:15pm at Page and Dielman near the Bucky's BP convenience store.

Witnesses say a woman was speeding down Page, lost control of her car, and hit a utility pole. Her car caught fire.

Three fire departments responded. There's no word on her condition or any other injuries.

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KIRKWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT TEAMING UP WITH MARINES AND THE MAGIC HOUSE

November 14, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch BY mathesmn

KIRKWOOD - This holiday season, The Kirkwood Fire Department is teaming up with The Magic House and Toys for Tots for a special opportunity to give back and spread cheer. The Fire Department's ambulance will be pulling into The Magic House's parking lot and doubling as Santa's sleigh as visitors stuff the empty truck with new, unwrapped, presents. These gifts will be delivered to children throughout the St. Louis area who would not have had a holiday present otherwise. Please join us as we help create the magic and joy of the holiday season for all children.

The event will run from 10:00am until 3:00pm on December 13th. The goal is to "stuff" the ambulance full of toys for those less fortunate. Marines will be on hand and there will be coloring activities for children. For those unable to make it to the event, the fire department will be collecting toys at its administration building Monday through Friday 8:30a-4:00p. The address for the fire house is 11804 Big Bend Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122.

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FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC WHO SUED OVER SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION PROMOTED TO CAPTAIN

November 13, 2014 -

CHESTERFIELD - Firefighter/Paramedic Dana Buckley was recently promoted to the rank of Captain by the Monarch Fire Protection District, on the recommendations of Assistant Fire Chief Cary Spiegel and Interim Fire Chief Chuck Marsonette. Buckley has been with the Fire District since 2001.

Captain Buckley was one of the four female firefighters who filed suit against their employer, the Monarch Fire Protection District, in 2007 over sexual discrimination. They won in court in 2010 and again on appeal in late 2011. Buckley was awarded $200,000.00 at the jury trial.

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COURT: BADLY INJURED NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY FIREFIGHTER MUST BE PAID DURING RECOVERY


Photo By David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

November 13, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich sweich@post-dispatch.com > 636-493-9674

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A firefighter who has battled the Community Fire District after suffering severe injuries while on duty eight years ago is entitled to earn her full pay while she continues to recover, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled this week.

Cindy Schuenke, now 50, worked as a firefighter and paramedic for the Community District in north St. Louis County for seven years before a fire call on March 29, 2006, changed her life and left her unable to work.

The union contract in effect at the time of Schuenke's injury provided that an employee who is unable to work because of an on-duty injury is entitled to a leave of absence for the duration of his or her recovery, her attorney Lynette Petruska said Wednesday at a news conference to discuss the latest court ruling. During that time, Schuenke was entitled to her regular pay - which in 2006 was $84,000 a year - minus any amount she got through worker's compensation.

The district fired Schuenke in July 2008, but after the news broke about her termination, the district reinstated her - meaning she was back on the payroll - in September 2008, said Petruska.

But the district changed its worker's compensation benefit in subsequent negotiations, and Schuenke was fired again in August 2009, Petruska said. A circuit court ruled that Schuenke had to be reinstated in November 2013, and that's the decision upheld in the recent court of appeals ruling.

District Attorney Neil Bruntrager, who did not handle the appeal, declined to comment about the decision, saying the district was still exploring further legal options.

Schuenke was injured in a fire at the Vinita Terrace home of Geneva Rooks, 76, the mother of a fellow firefighter. When Schuenke and her partner went inside to search for her, the floor collapsed, sending Schuenke into the basement. She got caught under debris, was burned and shocked by a broken electrical wire until she broke free and escaped out of a window. Rooks died in the fire.

PHOTOS OF SCHUENKE'S RECOVERY

Since then, Schuenke has had 96 surgeries, many of them on her left hand, which doctors wanted to amputate. Her medical bills have totaled more than $1.5 million, which has been covered by insurance.

Schuenke, who said firefighting is in her blood, said the hope of one day being able to return to the job she loved is what has kept her going.

But the reality of the situation, Petruska said, is that Schuenke is permanently disabled and will never be able to return to work.

At the news conference at Petruska's office Wednesday, Schuenke broke down several times, talking about the physical and emotional ramifications of her injuries.

"My life's changed; I was very active, always helping out somebody or playing softball, soccer, hunting, fishing," she said. "I don't do any of it any more. I can't tie a fishing line. It gets really cold out there hunting to where I can't stand it, my fingers hurt so bad."

She said she has struggled financially, and if it hadn't been for several fundraisers, she would have lost her house and car.

Petruska said the Community District has repeatedly breached a promise to take care of Schuenke.

"If we say, 'Thank for your service,' but when you're hurt we say, 'Hit the road, you're yesterday's trash, we're not going to give you what we promised you,' we're not really showing a whole lot of thanks for that service and the risk and the sacrifices that she made," Petruska said.

A worker's compensation case regarding Schuenke's level of pay is still pending against the district.

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FULL VIDEO: MISSOURI GOVERNOR OUTLINES FERGUSON PREPARATIONS
"Law enforcement planning efforts have included coordination with FIRE AND EMS SERVICES"

November 11, 2014 - KTVI BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

WELDON SPRINGS, MO. - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says law enforcement officials have been working around the clock to make sure residents and businesses will be kept safe once prosecutors announce whether a suburban St. Louis police officer will face charges for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.

A grand jury is expected to decide later this month whether to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson in Brown's Aug. 9 death.

Weeks of protests followed the shooting and officials are trying to make sure things remain calm once the grand jury decision is announced.

Nixon says looting and violence that marred mostly peaceful protests cannot be repeated.

He says the state highway patrol will work with St. Louis County and city police as one unified command. The National Guard will also be available if needed.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIREFIGHTER / PARAMEDIC

November 10, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT - The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District is accepting applications for the purpose of creating a hiring list for Firefighter/Paramedic. Applicants must be Firefighter 1 and 2 Certified by St. Louis County Fire Standards Commission. Applicants must also be Paramedic certified by the state of Missouri, must be age 21 or over and possess a valid motor operations license. Residency within the Fire District is not required. ACLS, PHTLS, PALS, or equivalent certification must be achieved within one year of hiring and retained.

Interested candidates may print an application or request an application from the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District Administration Offices located at 661 St. Ferdinand Street, Florissant, MO 63031, Mon. thru Thur. 8:00 am to 5:00 pm or Fri. 8:00 am - 3:00 pm.

The completed application, along with copies of Firefighter 1 and 2, St. Louis County Fire Academy Certificate, valid Paramedic Certificate, valid Missouri Driver's License and driving record check through the DMV, and a police background check must be received at the Florissant Valley Fire District Administrative Office by Friday, December 12th at 2:00 pm. To view and/or print: Application FF-Medic 2014.pdf

Equal Opportunity Employer

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SPECIAL GIFTS FOR A SPECIAL CHILD


Photo by Black Jack Fire Protection District

November 10, 2014 - Black Jack Fire Protection District

BLACK JACK - Christopher is a child with cancer who lives in our fire district and Cottages for Cancer Kids built an awesome firehouse for him! We helped deliver it and gave him a new leather fire helmet! After that, Christopher got to take a ride in Pumper 3710 with lights and sirens! He's an amazing kid and we are happy to help make his wish come true!

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WINDS FUEL FIRE AT ST. LOUIS RESTAURANT

November 8, 2014 - KTVI BY GEORGE SELLS

ST. LOUIS - Winds help fuel a fire at a restaurant just northwest of downtown St. Louis Saturday morning. Firefighters were called to the scene of the Hit Zone Bar & Grill at Jefferson and Dr. Martin Luther King caught fire around 9:40am.

Crews were initially battling the 1st alarm fire from the inside but were evacuated when the building began to show signs of collapse. Firefighters moved to a defensive, outside stance and were able to get the fire under control.

The St. Louis Fire Department said the fire became trapped in the ceiling of the recently renovated building, helping it to spread. Gusty winds carried smoke across downtown St. Louis.

Just last month, three people were wounded when gunshots were fired from the street into the bar.

The Hit Zone has reportedly been open for about a year.

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IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: COTTLEVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT

November 7, 2014 - KTVI BY ASHLEY JOHNSON

COTTLEVILLE - FOX 2's Randi Naughton stopped by the Cottleville Fire Department Friday morning for a demonstration that is sure to make you appreciate your local firemen more.

In addition, the Cottleville Fire Department is hosting an event called "Santa Paws" on Saturday. At this event, people can get their photo taken with Santa to help service K9s.

All proceeds of the "Santa Paws" event go to buying equipment for the STL are fire, police and task force K9s.

More Information:

Santa Paws At the Firehouse
Cottleville Firehouse
1385 Motherhead Road
Saturday, November 8th
Noon - 3pm

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NOTHING CAN DESTROY OUR PRIDE
IN SERVING YOU

By Andrew T. Stecko

3rd District Vice President, Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri Local 2665
& Shop Steward for Firefighters/Paramedics in the Monarch Fire Protection District

As a Boy Scout at age 14 I joined the Fire & Emergency Service Career Exploring Program. At college later I earned Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic licenses, plus a degree in Fire Science.

Today, I am a proud member of the Monarch Fire Protection District. Most of my colleagues in the district began their careers in similar ways. We serve 63 square miles, the largest fire protection district in St. Louis County. We chose our profession because want to serve the public and make a positive difference.

No matter what the call, day or night, weekend or holiday, Monarch firefighters and paramedics do make a positive difference in our community. We respond to 6,600 emergencies a year -- about 18 every day. We save lives and property and help people experiencing some of the worse times of their lives. We are proud of the jobs we are highly trained to do.

We care about the people we serve as we respond to every call that we receive. No, not every call is for a dire emergency. Yes, we do rescue trapped pets and diagnose faulty smoke alarms that don't stop beeping in the middle of the night. No call is ignored. Every time we are called, we are responding to someone's call for help!

And, we love our jobs. We admire many of the organizations in our community. Some people call us "heroes" yet in fact we are not. We are hard-working men and women who happen to work in a dangerous, high-risk occupation with families and responsibilities outside the workplace. Each member of our team chose to be here so we can help people as dedicated first responders.

Those are among the reasons why our team wants positive, productive relations between management and labor, yet the Monarch Board of Directors has started many fights with us. We are not proud of the Monarch Board of Directors.

The board has become a magnet for public criticism, negative media reports and taxpayer requests that its members serve with more integrity. Often in the last 16 months Monarch board leaders have attacked our team and tried to make us look like culprits when we are not the instigators. For example:

- When board leaders recently tried to void our Collective Bargaining agreement and we objected, a St. Louis County Circuit Court judge ruled NOT to void the agreement.

- When board leaders made deprecating remarks about our team that are simply wrong, we tried to set the record straight by telling the truth.

- When media reporters ask our team about activities in our district, we answer within the scope of our First Amendment rights and job responsibilities.

Yet board leaders keep trying to make our team look like the bad guys.

Board Exceeds District Budget by Spending on Lawyers and Lobbyists

Citizens need to know that the Monarch board exceeded its 2013 budget by $725,000, including legal fees of about $230,000 paid to two attorneys who contributed to the election campaigns of Board President Robin Harris and Secretary Jane Cunningham. This occurred at a time when the board vowed to cut costs.

Unlike the board, our team does not use taxpayer money from the Monarch district budget to pay for lawyers or lobbyists to represent our interests. In addition, Monarch firefighters and paramedics agreed to salary freezes in 2009 and we have not had a pay increase in nearly seven years.

In a recent letter to media, board secretary Jane Cunningham complained that Monarch firefighters and paramedics are individuals with "a high school education, paramedic's and driver's licenses (who) earn a compensation package of close to $130,000 for working 2.25 (24-hour) days per week...."

That deprecating statement is wrong. Jane Cunningham's contempt for our first response services is an insult to our community and our first response team.

The Truth: Well Educated First Responders

Our team members are each on duty 56 hours/week or 224 hours/month or 2,912 hours annually compared to the standard 40-hour work week of 2,080 hours annually. We work 44 percent more hours than the average American employee. We work 24 hour shifts and do not get holidays or weekends off.

Despite Cunningham's claim, Monarch firefighter/paramedics are well educated and highly trained. Uniformed personnel at Monarch have earned more than 80 different degrees, including Masters Degrees. Our earned certifications include expertise in 15 disciplines that include:

- Hazmat ( Terrorism )

- Technical Rescue ( Collapse, Swift Water, High/Low Angle,& Confined Space )

- Missouri License Paramedics

- Critical Care Medicine

- Advanced cardiovascular life support

- Pediatric advanced life support

- Pre hospital trauma life support

- Community CPR Instructors

- Fire & EMS Service Instructors

Monarch firefighters and paramedics are not the highest paid in St. Louis County. Each member of our team began their job earning Monarch's starting annual salary of $16.74/hour. By year five we average $27.90/hour. We agreed to accept multiple concessions to our compensation package in recent years, and we strive to control costs every day.

Yet Board President Robin Harris and Secretary Cunningham have asserted publicly that Monarch employees will retire with an astounding $6 million dollars. That claim is ridiculous. Currently an employee with 30+ years on the job will retire with no more than $600,000 from the district's Defined Contribution pension.

The kind of disparaging conduct evidenced by Jane Cunningham may be one reason why an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 28, 2014, referred to her as 'Calamity Jane,' charging Cunningham with engaging in petty politics and convoluted logic. It may be one reason why Board President Robin Harris is frequently asked by reporters to explain board management activities that so often criticized by the public.

It is well known that a Monarch fire chief, a battalion chief and an assistant chief all resigned from Monarch in the last eight months. Each later cited "board controversy" as influencing their decision to leave. The department is now under the command of an interim chief.

Firefighters and Paramedics Will Not Compromise Emergency Services

Despite controversy about the Board of Directors, Monarch firefighters and paramedics will maintain emergency services and control costs without impacting the top quality first response services that we provide 24/7. We keep our service levels at peak with constant training and education about emergency equipment and procedures.

In off-duty hours, we often raise money for charitable causes and serve as volunteers. Our recent fund drive for the Muscular Dystrophy Association raised more than $11,000. Our team's participation in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb helped raise nearly $55,000 for charity.

On October 1, we began our annual "Pink Heals" breast cancer awareness campaign that last year enabled our team to donate $10,000 to the "Life and Hope Fund" of St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield. This year our team's "Pink Heals" campaign will support the charity "No Woman Left Behind," a non-profit group that offers help to uninsured and under-insured women who need mastectomy or prosthetic products.

Yet Monarch Board Secretary Cunningham has compared Monarch firefighters and paramedics to the "mafia" and to a corrupt "cartel" that is abusing the Monarch Fire Protection District. She claims that we operate what she calls a "shadow government" in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, a truly ridiculous statement.

Mrs. Cunningham: Our firefighters and paramedics are too busy saving lives and property and raising money in our off-duty hours to run any "shadow government." Your claims are destructive and nonproductive.

Many local taxpayers and voters agree that it is time for the Monarch board's petty political agenda and criticism of firefighters and paramedics to stop. Our team wants cooperation, honesty and fairness -- not conflict.

It is time for Robin Harris and Jane Cunningham to nurture the district's budget - not spend taxpayer money on lawyers and lobbyists -- and for them to serve our community with a lot less petty politics and mud-slinging.

Our firefighters and paramedics want positive relations between management, labor and our community. But the board's self-serving political games, destructive commentary and misstatements of facts prevent that.

Our team is gratified by the expressions public support and appreciation that we receive from citizens and businesses. We invite you to contact us with suggestions about how Monarch firefighters and paramedics can serve you better.

On October 24, we distributed our 2014 Monarch Fire Protection District Resident Opinion Survey. We truly want to know local residents' opinions about fire district matters so we can address any issues and provide the best service possible. Our priorities include ensuring stability of fire suppression and paramedic services. We want to make certain Monarch residents are safe in any emergency or life threatening situation. Our survey is NOT funded by taxpayer dollars. You can see and complete the survey via this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MFPD2014. All survey responses are kept confidential.

As dedicated first responders with unwavering commitments to serve our community, we walk proudly wherever we go. Nothing and nobody can destroy our pride in serving you. Learn more about our team at http://www.monarchfirefighters.org.

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ONE MAN DEAD AFTER FIRE RIPS THROUGH HOME IN SOUTH CITY


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

November 6, 2014 - KTVI BY DANIELLE SCRUGGS AND CHRIS REGNIER,

ST. LOUIS - One man is killed after flames gut part of a home on The Hill in South St. Louis. Now investigators are trying to find out how the fire started. It happened at a single family brick home at Shaw and Edwards. Firefighters received the call about 9:40am for a fire with people trapped in the home.

When they arrived, crews got into the home and found a man 35 to 40 years old in the middle bedroom on the second floor.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities believe the man lived in the home.

Fire chief Dennis Jenkerson says it appears the fire may have started in the same room where the man's body was found. Jenkerson also says there were no smoke detectors in the house.

Nobody else was hurt.

Authorities believe a friend of the victim and that person's girlfriend were also in the home when the fire started.

They both made it out safely.

So far a cause for the fire has not been determined.

Bomb and Arson investigators have been called in but that is standard procedure whenever there is a fire death.

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FIRE DISTRICT APPROVES SAFETY MANUAL

November 4, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Dan Fox

The Monarch Fire Protection District Board of Directors approved a district safety manual at its meeting on Oct. 29, which district officials hope will improve safety for employees and, by proxy, its residents.

The manual covers several different aspects and settings of a firefighter-paramedic's job, and is split into six main sections: fire fighting, emergency medical services, training, special operations, driving and station activities.

"I think it is going to dramatically impact safety," Interim Fire Chief Chuck Marsonette (photo) said. "Now there is a guideline for firefighters to use that will coincide with their common sense. Safety is common sense and training combined. This (the manual) gives an outline of how that common sense decision making should flow."

Monarch Firefighter and official with Local IAFF 2665 Andy Stecko said anything that can make the work environment safer is a positive step forward; however, there are a few conflicts with the manual that may arise in the heat of an emergency.

"At the union, we always endorse the safest practices possible to do our jobs," Stecko said. "I think that it has some useful information, but it does conflict in a few areas with what it is that we do. We do an inherently dangerous job; it is kind of difficult to be vanilla about safety practices."

Marsonette described the manual as a "living document" and said changes will be made to it as the need arises.

"I'm very pleased with it," Monarch Board Member Jane Cunningham said. "It was a collaborative effort and I think a very fine product, according to our (workers' compensation insurance) carrier."

In each section of the manual, a list of bullet points is given, including safety practices such as "check and prepare your equipment prior to the beginning of each shift," and "wear eye protection when operating all power tools, hand tools, performing forcible entry, breaking glass, performing ventilation, extrication, etc."

The manual also contains flow charts for analyzing the cause of an accident and what to do when an injury is sustained.

"We have excellent employees," Marsonette said. I believe that with a combination of this manual and continued training, we will reduce workers' compensation costs; we will reduce injuries.

"The main thing is that I want our employees to come to work healthy and go home healthy."

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COUNTY APPROVES CONTRACT FOR NEW EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEM

November 3, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Brian Flinchpaugh

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - St. Charles County hopes to have a brand new 911 emergency response system in place by next April.

The County Council with a 6-0 vote approved on Oct. 27 a $3.467 million bid from Emergency CallWorks, Inc., of Birmingham, Alabama, to build, deploy and operate the system for seven years. Councilman Mike Elam (District 3) was absent.

Jennifer George, the county's assistant director of administration, said the county began to discuss updating its 911 system about a year ago.

Presently, the county has two separate systems - one for the city of St. Charles, and the other serving the county Sheriff's Department, Department of Dispatch and Alarm and the cities of St. Peters, O'Fallon, Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville.

After discussing the need for an updated system, the county sought bids for one unified system, selecting Emergency CallWorks as the bidder to present for council approval.

Local and county officials say the current systems need upgrades because of aging equipment and to keep up with growth in the county.

The improvements will create a single system for law enforcement, fire, ambulance and public works communications, which would help eliminate the gaps in service crated by the patchwork of systems. But paying for the system may be expensive, particularly for the county municipalities, which do not pay for providing local dispatching under the current system.

George said the present 2-percent tariff on local service rates for land-based telephone lines to fund 911, approved by county voters in 1984, cannot support the purchase and operation of an improved 911 system. In fact, in 2005 and 2014, the county loaned money from its capital improvement fund to maintain the system.

Fewer telephone users are using land lines, which the 2-percent tariff was based on. George said revenue from land lines in the county appears to be stable. However, she noted that the revenue doesn't include cellphones, which more and more people are using as their primary phone lines.

The state legislature would have to provide the authority to charge cellphone operators a fee to provide additional revenue, which hasn't happened, George said.

New software also is needed to upgrade aging equipment and allow access to new technology including video and other forms of messaging. While specific cost figures were not discussed at the council meeting, county officials were adamant that new technology, including software, is expensive.

Now, individual 911 calls are routed to individual jurisdictions or public safety answering points (PSAPS) depending upon the call's location. PSAPS then dispatch emergency providers such as police or fire departments.

St. Charles County has eight PSAPS - St. Charles, O'Fallon, St. Peters and Wentzville police departments, as well as the St. Charles County Dispatch and Alarm agency, the county Sheriff's Department and the county's Emergency Management Agency.

Individual cities represented by the PSAPS want to retain the ability to dispatch 911 calls, citing that they feel they can do it faster and more efficiently than having one dispatching agency. But George said those cities will have to provide a share of the costs for that dispatching, because not enough money is available from the tariff.

The cost of each police department individually handling 911 dispatching would be too high, she said.

While a task force including representatives from city and county emergency responders has recommended, and the county council has approved, entering into a contract with Emergency CallWorks, the county still must enter new intergovernmental agreements with St. Charles, St. Peters, Lake Saint Louis, Wentzville and O'Fallon that will set their costs. That process is expected to begin in November, George said.

Cities and the county, she noted, have discussed these costs going back to last year and cities are expected to build the added costs into their annual budgets. In the meantime, the county is extending its agreement with AT&T Missouri, the operator of its present system, for eight months in 2015 until the new system is operational. The completion date on the new system is projected to be April 24, 2015.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIRE CHIEF

November 4, 2014 - Monarch Fire Protection District

The Monarch FPD is currently searching for a Fire Chief at its HQ facility at 13725 Olive Blvd. in Chesterfield, MO. Salary will be commensurate with experience. Resumes of candidates are due no later than 4:00pm on Thursday Nov 20th, 2014.
(Click here for Application: MFPD Application)

Responsibilities Include (but are not limited to):
- Establishes, within policy guidelines, appropriate service and staffing levels.
- Coordinates, administers, and monitors fire and emergency response activities, personnel, and programs.
- Supervises and participates in the development and administration of the fire department budget.
- Directs the selection, supervision, training, development, and discipline of department personnel.
- Assumes personal command at multiple alarm fires.
- Coordinates mutual fire protection plans, emergency responses, and other department activities with surrounding jurisdictions, other departments, and organizations.
- Confers with officials and community groups and conducts public relations campaigns to present need for changes in laws and policies and to encourage fire prevention.
- Directs investigations into causes of fires and inspections of buildings for fire hazards.
- Makes final interpretation of fire and building regulations, ordinances, codes, and applicable laws to ensure compliance and consistency.
- Coordinates and prepares a variety of plans, reports, presentations, and records.
- Participates in employee relations activities related to the fire department, including providing advice and assistance for management negotiations.

Qualifications/Skills Required:
- Bachelor's Degree preferred
- 5+ Years as Staff Officer
- St. Louis County Fire Academy or willingness to attend
- 10+ years of experience in the fire service
- Other relevant experience and/or education may be considered
- Experience working in a large multi-firehouse District
- Missouri/or National registry Paramedic license required
- Ability to work odd hours as needed

Benefits for the Monarch Fire Protection District Include:
- Excellent medical, dental and vision coverage
- Fully paid life insurance (with option to purchase more)
- Paid Vacation (after 1 year)
- Sick days (8 per year)
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- 11 Paid Holidays
- Tuition reimbursement
- Pension plan

Please send resume with cover letter AND salary expectations on or before 4:00pm, Thursday November 20th, 2014 to harris.m@monarchfpd.org or to address below. Interviews are initially scheduled to be conducted in December 2014.

Monarch FPD, Attention: Human Resources Director
13725 Olive Blvd.
Chesterfield, MO 63017
The Monarch Fire Protection District is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Monarch Fire Protection District

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OFFICIALS POSTPONE CHARITY BOXING EVENT BECAUSE OF CONCERNS ABOUT FERGUSON

November 3, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Christine Byers cbyers@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8087

ST. LOUIS - Citing concerns about simmering unrest in Ferguson, sponsors have postponed this year's 28th annual Guns 'N Hoses police-fire charity boxing match, scheduled for Nov. 26.

The event, typically held on the night before Thanksgiving at the Scottrade Center, benefits Backstoppers, a nonprofit providing financial support for the families of fallen first responders. Organizers said they hoped to reschedule in the new year.

The charity's executive director, Ron Battelle, said organizers are concerned that many of the participants and attendees may be called to duty to manage possible protests after a St. Louis County grand jury decides whether to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown. Officials have said to expect an announcement in mid-November.

"To hold the event at this time could serve as distraction to the service of our first responders," said Battelle, a former chief of the St. Louis County Police Department. "The decision to postpone was made by the organization after much thought and deliberation. It takes into account the recently increased hours of first responders who attend the event."

Work, not training, must come first, Battelle said.

"We don't want to be a distraction to police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel who will be working long hours," Battelle said. "We don't want to take them away from their prime responsibility."

There also were worries that a large gathering of police officers might become a magnet for demonstrations and potential clashes.

This year's president of the organization is Robert P. McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, whose refusal to recuse himself from the Brown investigation has made him the subject of criticism. His father was a St. Louis police officer shot to death in 1964 while trying to arrest a kidnapper, and some Ferguson protesters have said that makes his involvement in the Wilson case a conflict of interest.

Last year's event drew about 17,000 people and raised $292,000. The series of boxing matches, pitting police officers against firefighters, is the Backstoppers' biggest fundraiser. It has raised about $4.4 million since 1987.

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY'S OUTDOOR SIRENS FAIL TO SOUND IN MONTHLY TEST


File photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

November 3, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - St. Louis County's sirens failed to sound in the monthly test of its outdoor warning system.

The sirens in St. Louis city went off, but the county's did not. They were supposed to sound at 11 a.m. for one minute.

Officials believed construction work on the top of the county administration building blocked the radio antenna that tells the sirens to activate. David Barney, director of the St. Louis County Emergency Communications Commission, said officials were working to get the problem fixed, likely by raising the antenna.

The sirens are supposed to warn people outdoors of tornado danger.

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LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS HAVE RECEIVED FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS

November 3, 2014 -

The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

Several local fire departments and fire districts have been awarded AFG grants this year from the 2013 grant period. They are as follows:

05-13-14 LEMAY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - $72,900.00 for Wellness Fitness Programs

06-06-14 RIVERVIEW FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - $77, 805.00 for Equipment - Personal Protective Equipment

06-13-14 CITY OF CLAYTON FIRE DEPARTMENT - $34,478.00 for Wellness Fitness Programs

06-13-14 CITY OF OLIVETTE FIRE DEPARTMENT - $110,077.00 for Personal Protective Equipment

06-20-14 HAZELWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT - $291.038.00 for Personal Protective Equipment - Training - Wellness Fitness Programs

09-19-14 FENTON FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - $197,984.00 for Personal Protective Equipment




FIVE ST. LOUIS AREA FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES SEEK TAX HIKES

November 2, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich sweich@post-dispatch.com > 636-493-9674

Voters in the St. Louis area will decide Tuesday whether to approve five tax hikes for fire and emergency services.

Four of the five measures are repeat attempts; they were posed to voters in August and failed.

The only new measure is in Maplewood, where fire officials are seeking a $6 million bond issue to replace the current firehouse and buy new equipment.

The 20-year bond issue would increase property taxes 28 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation. Taxes on a home worth $100,000 would increase by $53.20 a year.

The present station was built in 1962, and by today's standards is too small and functionally obsolete, said Chief Terry Merrell.

"We've had to design the firetrucks to fit within the space, and that limits our ability to equip the trucks," he said.

Modern firefighting devices, like a compressed air foam system, which is more effective and less damaging than water, are currently not possible because of the space constraints.

The new engine house would be built next door to the current one and would include separate sleeping quarters and restrooms to accommodate the department's 20 firefighters, which currently don't include any women.

"Right now there's just no privacy," he said. "With the changes in the fire service, that's necessary now."

It requires a four-sevenths majority to pass.

FLORISSANT VALLEY FIRE

A drop in home values since 2008 has cut revenue about $1 million annually for the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District, said Chief Scott Seppelt. In addition, medical insurance reimbursements for transporting patients have been slipping dramatically, an additional $100,000 in the last year alone.

To make ends meet, the district has been dipping into its reserves, Seppelt said, and has cut or frozen every item in the budget except training and vehicle maintenance.

The district wants to increase its property tax rate by 40 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation. Taxes on a $100,000 home would increase by $76 a year. It requires a simple majority for approval.

In August, a $7.1 million no-tax increase bond issue passed overwhelmingly to buy and equip new ambulances and firetrucks, but the tax-increase measure lost 57-43 percent. Since then the district has refinanced one of its bonds and made cuts in employees' insurance to try to stay in the black.

"Nothing has really changed; we're still in the same predicament we've been in," Seppelt said.

LINCOLN COUNTY AMBULANCE

Lincoln County Ambulance District officials say they need more ambulances and paramedics to adequately cover their 640 square miles. They are asking voters to approve a 35-cent property tax increase.

The measure would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $66.50 a year. The tax hike needs a simple majority to pass.

The increased funding would allow the district to build three new bases, buy three new ambulances and hire 18 paramedics, said Chief Administrator Ray Antonocci.

The district now runs five ambulances out of four bases, and the average response time is nearly 14 minutes. With the expansion, Antonocci said they hope to reduce response time to eight minutes.

In August, the tax proposal lost 60-40 percent. Since then, the district began to close bases on a rotating schedule to try to cut the budget shortfall.

Antonocci said the district is projecting that even with the base closures, it will be about $68,000 in the red at the end of the year.

"We do have reserves that we can go to, but if things continue year after year, those reserves obviously will be eaten away," he said.

MARYLAND HEIGHTS FIRE

Outdated facilities and equipment are the reason the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District wants to borrow $19 million over the next 20 years, said Capt. Robert Daus, public information officer for the district.

The bond issue would raise property tax rates by 24 cents for each $100 assessed valuation, so the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $45.60 more a year.

The district would issue the bonds in phases and initially use the money to rebuild the fire house on Dorsett Road, which was built in 1971. Plans are to level the current house and rebuild in the same spot, Daus said. The new structure would accommodate the coed work force and bigger fire trucks. It also would include a medical shelter, to be used in event of large disaster.

Additionally, funds would be used to renovate the district's second fire house on Schuetz Road. The district needs more storage to house things like its heavy rescue equipment, he said, which is currently kept at an off-site facility.

In August, the bond issue received nearly 55 percent of the vote but fell short of the four-sevenths, or just above 57 percent, needed for passage. Since then the district has been meeting with community groups to try to answer questions about the situation, Daus said.

WENTZVILLE FIRE

Officials in the Wentzville Fire Protection District are trying to win approval for a 25-cent property tax increase as part of a 10-year plan they say is necessary to meet the needs of the growing population of the western part of St. Charles County.

The 25-cent proposal needs a simple majority and would increase taxes on a $100,000 home by $47.50 a year.

In August, the district won approval of a $30 million bond issue to renovate two current fire stations, build two new fire stations and buy the needed apparatus. But voters rejected the tax proposal 55-44 percent, and that meant the district couldn't hire the firefighters to staff the new houses.

Assistant Chief John Schneider said the district has been experiencing rapid growth - about 21 new subdivisions have been planned in the past 12 months - and it is trying to stay up with the need. In some of the formerly rural areas, response times are in excess of 15 minutes, and the additional stations and manpower would get that figure closer to the national average of four minutes, he said.

Also, the district hopes that the additional coverage would help to lower the district's Insurance Service Office rating, which could translate to a savings on homeowners' insurance premiums.

"If it's defeated overwhelmingly again, we're going to have to take it back to the drawing board and just do what we're doing and keep our equipment up to top standards," Schneider said.

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PARACHUTIST IS RESCUED FROM RADIO TOWER IN SOUTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY


Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

October 31, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Valerie Schremp Hahn vhahn@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8246

MEHLVILLE - Firefighters rescued a parachutist who got stuck on the guy wires of a radio tower in south St. Louis County late Thursday.

Authorities got the call about 9:30 p.m. He was pulled to safety by rescuers from the Mehlville Fire Protection District about 11:45 p.m.

The man was about 155 feet high and about 20 feet from the tower, in the 5400 block of Butler Hill Road, said Brian Hendricks, chief of the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

"It appears this was a BASE jump that went wrong," Hendricks said.

BASE jumping is when someone climbs a cliff or fixed object - like a building, tower or bridge" and parachutes off it.

A firefighter climbed the tower and passed the parachutist an anchor to hold him in place. The chutist was then able release himself from his parachute. He was then lowered to the ground.

A small group of neighbors who gathered at the scene applauded after the man was safely on the ground.

The chutist appeared to be in his mid-20s. He had a cellphone with him and was talking with rescuers on the ground. He walked to an ambulance before being taken away.

The chutist was in distress because of suspension trauma, but he was able to follow rescuers' directions.

It was not known how high the man had climbed before he jumped and got tangled.

The Mehlville district has had its own high angle rope rescue team for years, Hendricks said, and trains for such events.

"It worked incredibly," Hendricks said. "It couldn't have gone any better for us."

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MAN DIES AFTER BEING PULLED FROM HOUSE FIRE


Photo by KTVI

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Fire Department officials say a man died after firefighters pulled him from his burning home Thursday.

The fire started just before 1 p.m. in the 4400 block of Neosho. Neighbors spotted flames and called 911. When fire crews arrived, they pulled the man from the home. He was taken to an area hospital were he was later pronounced dead. He was the only one home at the time.

Neighbors say he was married.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC

October 30, 2014 - Ladue Fire Department

LADUE - The City of Ladue Fire Department is accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/Paramedic. Applicants must possess a current Missouri State EMT-P license and Firefighter I and II certification through the St. Louis County Fire Academy.

Applications may be downloaded from the web-site or are available for pick-up at Fire Station #1 located at 9213 Clayton Road. Applications will be accepted until 4:00 PM on November 14th, 2014 and shall be returned to Station #1.

An application can be downloaded below:

Fire Department Job Opportunity/Firefighter Paramedic




GROUP SUPPORTING PROPERTY TAX INCREASE WENTZVILLE ACCUSED OF MISLEADING VOTERS

October 29, 2014 - KMOV by Ray Preston / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

WENTZVILLE, MO. - A News 4 viewer claims the union representing Wentzville firefighters is using incorrect information to persuade voters to support a property tax hike.

The viewer said the flyers claim insurance rates on homes will drop if voters support Proposition S. If passed, Proposition S would increase the annual tax on a home worth $200,000 by $95. The proposition is on the ballot because Wentzville voters previously approved a bond issue to build two new fire stations, but they also voted down a separate property tax increase to pay for the new stations' staff.

"I don't think the insurance is going to go down, it will go up just like everything else," said resident Charles Viehman.

A firefighters' union representative said the union cites a reliable source.

"We met with several different agents and several different agents said insurance rates will go down," said Dave Marlo with Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri.

Marlo said insurance rates will do down because the Insurance Services Office or ISO that does risk assessment for the insurance industry will improve the area's rating.

"We've done numerous studies on where these future stations need to go and if we can put a firehouse within five miles of your house your ISO rating is greatly impacted by it," Marlo said.Some supporters said lower insurance rates do not play into their decision to vote "yes" on the proposition.

"Personally I don't care if they do or not. I'd like them to go down but I still think what little increase it's going to be for each individual family is well worth it," said resident Gail Wolfe.The insurance industry said there many factors that determine rates.

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FIRE DISTRICT BALLOT ISSUES - NOVEMBER 4th ELECTION

FLORISSANT VALLEY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
SIMPLE MAJORITY REQUIRED
PROPOSITION A
Shall the Board of Directors of the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District be authorized to levy an additional tax of not more than forty cents on the one hundred dollars of assessed valuation to provide funds for the support of the district and to maintain the present level of ambulance and fire services?

Summary: The district wants authority to increase its property tax rate by 40 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Officials say because of lower home values, the district has had difficulty dealing with increased costs. Without a tax increase, they say, response times and the quality of service could decline. If passed, taxes on a $100,000 home would increase by $76 a year. Voters in August rejected a similar proposition.

MARYLAND HEIGHTS FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT - BOND ELECTION
FOUR-SEVENTHS MAJORITY REQUIRED
PROPOSITION B
Shall the Maryland Heights Fire Protection District issue bonds in the amount of Nineteen Million Dollars ($19,000,000) for the purpose of purchasing real property, constructing, equipping and maintaining fire stations and purchasing and equipping ambulances and fire protection and fire-fighting apparatus and auxiliary equipment therefor to carry out the objects and purposes of the District?

Summary: The district wants to borrow $19 million to build and maintain fire stations and replace fire trucks, ambulances, rescue vehicles and other equipment. Among the projects is replacing the fire station at 12828 Dorsett Road and renovating the station at 2600 Schuetz Road. If passed, the property tax rate would increase by 24 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The owner of a home worth $100,000 would pay an additional $45.60 per year. Voters rejected a similar proposition in the August primary.

WENTZVILLE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT
SIMPLE MAJORITY REQUIRED.
PROPOSITION S
Shall the Wentzville Fire Protection District hire firefighters to staff your voter approved Fire Stations which will assist in reducing emergency response times as well as potentially lowering your home owner insurance ratings, by levying twenty five cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation?

Summary: The district wants to increase the property tax rate by 25 cents per $100 assessed valuation. If passed, the annual tax on a home worth $200,000 would increase by $95. District officials say the tax increase is needed to meet increasing demand and maintain response times in the fast-growing district by hiring additional firefighters to staff two new fire stations and to hire a training officer. This is a repeat attempt at passing the tax hike, which was rejected by voters in August. At the same election, they passed a bond issue providing money to build the two new fire stations.





EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY - FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC

October 29, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District is accepting applications for the purpose of creating a hiring list for Firefighter/Paramedic. Applicants must be Firefighter 1 and 2 Certified by St. Louis County Fire Standards Commission. Applicants must also be Paramedic certified by the state of Missouri, must be age 21 or over and possess a valid motor operations license. Residency within the Fire District is not required. ACLS, PHTLS, PALS, or equivalent certification must be achieved within one year of hiring and retained.

Interested candidates may print an application from our website - www.fvpd.com or request an application from the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District Administration Offices located at 661 St. Ferdinand Street, Florissant, MO 63031, Mon. thru Thur. 8:00 am to 5:00 pm or Fri. 8:00 am - 3:00 pm.

The completed application, along with copies of Firefighter 1 and 2, St. Louis County Fire Academy Certificate, valid Paramedic Certificate, valid Missouri Driver's License and driving record check through the DMV, and a police background check must be received at the Florissant Valley Fire District Administrative Office by Friday, December 12th at 2:00 p.m. Equal Opportunity Employer

Florissant Valley Fire Protection District web site

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TWO-ALARM FIRE DESTROYS NORTH CITY BUSINESS


Photo by KSDK

October 28, 2014 - KSDK By Brandie Piper, KSDK

ST. LOUIS - A north St. Louis business went up in flames late Monday night.

St. Louis firefighters were called to the 5000 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive shortly before 11 p.m. for a two-alarm fire in a two-story brick commercial building.

The St. Louis Fire Department says approximately 60 firefighters helped fight the fire, which was heavy on the first floor. They used three aerial master streams to get the fire under control.

Nobody was injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Video by FirstAlarmphotos Stl



DEBATE CONTINUES ON DISPATCH CENTER'S FUTURE AFTER CONTENTIOUS YEAR

October 27, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Jim Erickson

ELLISVILLE - It has been just over a year since Central County Emergency 911 expanded its Ellisville dispatching facility to handle dispatch services for former users of North Central Fire Alarm last October and South County Fire Alarm last July - and what a year it has been.

The 2013 expansion was to handle fire and emergency medical calls from two dispatch centers in north and south county - operations that closed due to financial problems. The sudden growth occurred under major time pressures that magnified past differences and split the center's board, whose members represent the six first responder agencies, primarily in West County, that own CCE.

In rapid order, as 2013 ended and 2014 began:

- Three CCE owners - the Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights and West County Fire Protection Districts -told the St. Louis County Emergency Communications Commission they were interested in having their dispatch services handled by the county's new communications center. Subsequent resolutions from all three warned they would withdraw from CCE if the center's internal differences weren't resolved.

- In apparent response, Metro West FPD announced its intention to withdraw as a CCE owner and become simply a user of its services. (Metro West has since withdrawn that plan.)

- The ECC tabled a nearly $1 million grant request from CCE to offset its expansion costs.

- The ECC said it will equip and staff its new center to handle fire and emergency medical calls in addition to 911 calls for law enforcement.

Fast forward to late this summer when the CCE board unanimously agreed to negotiate with county officials on a possible consolidation of the emergency call handling function. The action quickly was interpreted as meaning a sale of CCE was imminent. But a major group from CCE now is asking for a slower, more analytical approach for any decision that would close the center.

Chiefs of seven of the eight South County agencies that joined CCE last year have signed two letters with that request. Chiefs from Metro West and the Monarch FPD also signed the second letter, which was a major item of discussion at a special meeting Oct. 16 at the dispatch center's Ellisville headquarters.

Among other things, the chiefs said an analysis shows the county center on average takes much longer to handle emergency calls than CCE personnel. Resulting delays in dispatching first responders, as well as uncertainty about fees the county will charge for its services, are among the reasons why CCE should continue to operate until those and other issues are resolved, the chiefs said.

County officials have said the new dispatch center can and will meet the service level CCE provides and at a reasonable cost. That cost will depend on the number of agencies choosing the county for dispatch services, but no one now knows how many will do so.

Monarch Director Jane Cunningham, who chaired the Oct. 16 meeting, identified what she described as the "two elephants in the room": How to find out if the county can provide service equal to or better than CCE and how its user-owners will vote when it comes to deciding CCE's ultimate fate.

Theoretically, she said, the three districts that already have expressed interest in having the county provide their dispatching could simply make that move when the new center is ready to provide those services. However, with the Meramec Ambulance District's withdrawal as a CCE owner Jan 1 due to budgetary reasons, the three also could opt to use their majority position on the resulting five-member board to close CCE, Cunningham theorized. That action effectively would force all of the Ellisville center's 34 current users to the county as their dispatch provider.

The three districts interested in moving to the county center have cited governance issues and other internal disputes on the CCE board as major factors influencing their decision. But the nine chiefs who signed the most recent letter said they are willing to work with the board to address those issues, as well as any operational and ownership questions, "in order to facilitate the continuance of CCE."

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MISTRIAL DECLARED IN HAZELWOOD MURDER CASE


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

October 24, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

CLAYTON - A mistrial has been declared in the murder trial of a Hazelwood man.

The trial for Jeremy Henderson has been reset for Feb. 23 before St. Louis County Circuit Judge Joseph Walsh III. Henderson, 20, is accused in the death of Mike Mansfield, who was found dead in his Hazelwood apartment building that was set on fire on Aug. 4, 2012.

A trial started Tuesday but no witnesses were called before the judge granted a mistrial. The mistrial came because a civil lawyer had taken depositions of some witnesses, and the defense attorney and prosecutor didn't have access to that information, said Paul Fox, St. Louis County's director of judicial administration.

The defense asked for the mistrial. Fox said the continuance will give both sides a chance to review the depositions.

Henderson was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson about a week after Mansfield's death. Henderson lives in the 5300 block of Ville Angela Lane. According to court documents, Henderson told police that others poured gasoline in the apartment building's hallways and near the door of their intended victim. Mansfield wasn't the target.

Henderson told police he saw one of the other people light a match and set the gasoline-soaked carpet on fire. The court documents didn't offer a motive. Police say they got a tip that Henderson was involved.

Mansfield, 48, lived in an apartment building at 5230 Villa Rosa Lane. Several other people, including an infant, were stranded on the third and highest floor of the 10-unit building until rescuers arrived, firefighters said.

Mansfield was a gas station attendant for his landlord, family said. He also fixed and cleaned fish tanks for Tanks A Lot Aquarium Service. He had two sons, Andy and Alex.

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FIREFIGHTERS CONDUCTING SURVEY OF THEIR RESIDENTS

October 24, 2014 - Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

CHESTERFIELD - The Monarch Fire Protection Fire District Firefighters and Paramedics mailed a survey to select residents of the Fire District. Their letter to the residents reads as follows:

To all residents of the Monarch Fire Protection District:

The survey that you may have received in the mail is from the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics who work for you, the residents of Monarch Fire Protection District. We value this process so much that we are funding this through non-tax payer dollars.

We sought out a local, professional and highly recommended business to gather your opinions on various fire-district related items. The firm, Berry Organizational & Leadership Development (BOLD) LLC, randomly selected 3,500 residents to receive the survey by mail, with this selection being representative of the entire community we serve. To allow for full transparency, the scope of the project and survey tool can be viewed for you to make up your own mind on whether to complete the survey, that is not biased towards or against any political agenda. We truly want to know our residents' opinions on various fire-related matters to determine how to respond to future matters, which include the stability of your fire and paramedic-related services, and as always, to make sure Monarch residents are safe if they are ever in an emergency or life threatening situation.

We respectfully ask the residents of The Monarch Fire Protection District to review and complete the survey at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MFPD2014.

An incentive for survey completion is a well-founded method to increase response rate, which we value for this project. We can ensure you that the results we will be receiving will not reveal any personally identifiable information by BOLD, LLC.

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FLORISSANT INTRODUCES "VITAL BOARD" PROGRAM FOR CITIZENS

October 24, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

FLORISSANT, MO. - The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District has launched a new "Vital Board" program for the citizens of the District as shown in the video. Citizens can participate by contacting the Fire District at any of their stations.

Florissant Valley Fire Protection District Facebook

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VIDEO OF AREA FIREFIGHTERS TRAINING FOR DANGEROUS SITUATIONS

October 22, 2014 - KTVI

MEHLVILLE, MO. - Firefighters from Mehlville, Affton and Lemay are training for dangerous situations.

This is video of a training exercise they performed Wednesday morning. The firefighters practiced removing victims from three types of accidents. Car versus car, car versus school bus and car versus dump truck. All situations the firefighters say they need to be prepared for.

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KIWANIS CLUB HONORS FIREFIGHTER

Pictured, from left, are: Capt. Dan Rosenthal, Deputy Chief Tim Dempsey, Pvt. Tim Block and Deputy Chief Dan Furrer.

October 22, 2014 - Call Newspapers

MEHLVILLE - Capt. Dan Rosenthal of the Mehlville Fire Protection District recently was honored as Officer of the Quarter by the Kiwanis Club of South County. He was selected for the honor on the basis of his longtime service to the community and the outstanding work he does with Strike Team 3 and the district's Boat and Rope teams.

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LADUE OKS PURCHASE OF BODY ARMOR FOR FIREFIGHTERS

October 21, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

LADUE - The Ladue City Council unanimously approved on Monday the purchase of body armor for firefighters.

The council agreed to spend up to $8,800 to buy the gear from Ed Roehr Inc.

"With recent civil unrest in the area, it's come to my attention that body armor will be necessary for firefighters - these vests will be kept on our trucks," Ladue Fire Chief John Bailot (photo) said.

Bailot also announced the reopening of fire station No. 2 at 9991 Clayton Road, after a year-long reconstruction, will be marked by a dedication ceremony and public tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

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FORMER FIRE OFFICIAL IS CANDIDATE FOR ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE

October 20, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Dan Fox

ST. LOUIS COUNTY -

Getting to know the next St. Louis County Executive

With the Nov. 4 General Election fast approaching, West Newsmagazine interviewed candidates for the St. Louis County Executive race to present each candidate's qualifications, interests and stances or opinions on critical issues facing the county. Constitution candidate Joe Passanise, Libertarian candidate Theodis Brown and Republican candidate Rick Stream responded; however, Democrat candidate Steve Stenger did not respond to repeated requests to participate.











THEDOS BROWN

Discussing experience

Typically, the first thing a person does when applying for a new job is submit a resume, so West Newsmagazine asked each candidate, "What are your qualifications and past experiences?"

Brown has worked in the community and as a first responder. A graduate of the St. Louis Police academy, Brown was elected to the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees in 2014. He has worked as the chief of police and the fire marshal for Kinloch, and as a St. Ferdinand Township Committeeman. He noted that he is listed in the International Biographical Centre's Outstanding People of the 21st Century, and in the 30th edition of Who's Who in American Law.

He recommended that voters choose him "because of my proven style of leadership, and my special talents and skills as a veteran seasoned CEO and manager over both public and private entities of some the largest and smallest agencies of both public and private organizations, and because of a work history unmatched by any other candidate."

Responding to the unrest in Ferguson

The impact of the shooting of Mike Brown and subsequent protests in the Ferguson are still being felt throughout the city, and conversations about how the issue will affect the county executive race have been swirling since the shooting took place. Recent events may have shifted the perspective of North County voters in regard to their choice for county executive. West Newsmagazine asked each of the candidates to share their reaction to the events in Ferguson.

"Ferguson is wake-up call; we have work to do in police-community relations issues," Brown said.

The question of a city-county merger

While the events in Ferguson have dominated headlines since early August, there are other issues that the new county executive will need to tackle. One of these is the proposed city-county merger, over which debate has been occurring for years. While there is no formal plan for a city-county merger on the table, opinions about the prospect of consolidation have run rampant of late, so what do the candidates have to say?

Brown said he has an action plan that would divide St. Louis County into two sections, with a "northside" and a "southside."

He also would like to create a new Castle Point County, as well as a new Castle Point Fire District/Ambulance District.

"First of all, we need to streamline county government to better serve our political subdivision because St. Louis County is too large," Brown said.

Setting personal priorities

Each candidate has their own to-do list to tackle if elected, but what are they most interested in working on?

Brown said his first priority is to "sweep with a new broom."

"The first thing to do is to replace old managers with my department heads of choice for my new administration as my appointees," Brown said. "(I would) disband county incompetent public works department... (and) seek to have a county sheriff office elected again."

FOR RESPONSE OF OTHER CANDIDATES CLICK HERE

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COUNTY UPGRADE OF 911 SYSTEM WOULD COST MUNICIPALITIES

October 20, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network By: Brian Flinchpaugh

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - St. Charles County is getting closer to improving the county's 911 emergency response system.

But municipalities are facing picking up more of the cost of that improved system because existing funding sources can't pay for it.

The St. Charles County Council heard a progress report regarding efforts to rebuild the system at their Oct. 14 meeting - improvements that may take until 2015 to finish.

Jennifer George, the county's assistant director of administration, said the county has sought bids for a single 911 system for the county.

Presently the county has two separate systems - one for the city of St. Charles, the other, serving the county sheriff's department, department of dispatch and alarm and the cities of St. Peters, O'Fallon, Lake Saint Louis and Wentzville.

Three vendors submitted bids, with Emergency Callworks, Inc., chosen by the county to submit to the council for consideration, she said. At the meeting, the council did give a first reading to a bill approving a contract with Emergency Callworks.

George said once some issues are resolved, the bid will go before the council for a final decision.

Meanwhile, George said the county has to extend its agreement with the operator of the present system, AT&T-Missouri, for eight months in 2015 until the new system is operational.

George said the county also must enter new intergovernmental agreements with St. Charles, St. Peters, Lake Saint Louis, Wentzville and O'Fallon to share the cost of the 911 system.

"They never had to pay for the 911 system in the past," she said.

The present 2 percent tariff on local service rates to fund 911, approved by county voters in 1984, cannot support the purchase and operation of an improved 911 system, she said. Cities and the county have discussed these costs for the last several years, which remain to be finalized, she said.

Fewer telephone users are using land lines, and software needed to upgrade the system is expensive, local officials say.

The 911 issue follows closely a separate issue involving upgrading emergency communications between emergency providers that involved building 12 new radio towers throughout the county.

The towers are part of an effort throughout the St. Louis area to upgrade emergency communications for first responders as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.

The improvements will create a single, unified system for law enforcement, fire, ambulance and public works communications to help eliminate the gaps in service from a patchwork of systems.

A 1/4-cent sales tax was approved by county voters in 2009 to fund the changes. The system would also tie the county with other counties throughout the St. Louis area and is supported by emergency providers and local officials.

Some extra maintenance and other costs may be borne by municipalities and other emergency providers and are being discussed by county and city officials this month.

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DEDICATION OF RE-CONSTRUCTED LADUE STATION NO. 2

October 18, 2014 - Ladue Fire Department PRESS RELEASE

LADUE, MO. -The City of Ladue announces the re-opening of fire station #2 located at 9991 Clayton Road after a 12-month construction period. Mayor Nancy Spewak, City Council Members, Board of Fire & Police Commissioners, and Fire Chief John Bailot proudly present Ladue Fire Station #2 to the community on Saturday October 25th 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Following the 10:00 AM dedication ceremony, the new fire station will be open for tours guided by the Ladue firefighters.

The original fire station #2, located on the same lot, was built in 1950 and served the western half of the community until it was demolished in October of 2013 to make way for the new building. Construction began in December 2013 for a two-story, two-bay fire station with the requisite function areas on the main floor and firefighter quarters on the second.

A few highlights of the new building are, individual (shared) bunkrooms for the firefighters who work a 48-hour shift instead of the dated communal open-bunkroom style; a traditional fire pole for the firefighters to use to get to the main floor when responding to emergencies; a training room that will serve for firefighter training use as well as programs such as community CPR provided by the department, storage spaces, and modern communications and technology.

The building was planned and designed for the fire department to efficiently respond to all types of emergencies in the community and meet the needs of today as well as growth to meet the needs of the future for decades to come. Construction services were provided by Layneco Construction Services, design by Chiodini Associates, and construction management by Landmark Contract Management.




WEST COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT APPROVES MEDICAL AGREEMENT

October 20, 2014 - Newsmagazine Network

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The West County EMS and Fire Protection District has approved an agreement with Mercy Hospital to oversee its emergency medical service response efforts.

Under terms of the medical direction agreement with Mercy, West County will pay the hospital $2 for each of the approximately 3,000 calls for emergency medical service that it answers annually. The hospital provides oversight of actions by the district's paramedics when they respond to the calls.

Mercy personnel have provided oversight to West County in the past but the agreement marks the first time reimbursement provisions have been included in a formal agreement. District officials said other emergency medical service providers have similar arrangements with hospitals they use to provide oversight.

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HOME SIGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED AFTER FIRE IN LAKE ST. LOUIS


Photo by KMOV

October 19, 2014 - KMOV

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - Firefighters said a home in Lake St. Louis suffered substantial damage after a fire broke out Sunday evening.

Firefighters told News 4 the fire broke out in the 500 block of Keswick Avenue around 5:00 p.m. Three people were inside at the time, but nobody was injured.

Other details were not known.

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HEADLINES BY DEPARTMENT
AFFTON FIRE DISTRICT
BERKELEY FIRE DEPARTMENT
BLACK JACK FIRE DISTRICT
BRENTWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT
CENTRAL COUNTY 911
CENTRAL COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT
CHRISTIAN HOSPITAL EMS
CLAYTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
COMMUNITY FIRE DISTRICT
COTTLEVILLE FIRE DISTRICT
CRESTWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT
CREVE COEUR FIRE DISTRICT
EUREKA FIRE DISTRICT
FENTON FIRE DISTRICT
FERGUSON FIRE DEPARTMENT
FLORISSANT VALLEY FIRE DISTRICT
FRONTENAC FIRE DEPARTMENT
GENDALE FIRE DEPARTMENT
HAZELWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT
JENNINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT
KINLOCH FIRE DISTRICT
KIRKWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT
LEMAY FIRE DISTRICT
LAKE ST. LOUIS FIRE DISTRICT
LOCAL 2665
MAPLEWOOD FIRE DEPARMENT
MARYLAND HEIGHTS FIRE DISTRICT
MEHLVILLE FIRE DISTRICT
METRO NORTH FIRE DISTRICT
METRO WEST FIRE DISTRICT
MID COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT
MONARCH FIRE DISTRICT
NORTHEAST FIRE & FIRE DISTRICT
O'FALLON FIRE DISTRICT
OLIVETTE FIRE DEPARTMENT
PATTONVILLE FIRE DISTRICT
RICHMOND HEIGHTS FIRE DEPARTMENT
RIVERVIEW FIRE DISTRICT
ROBERTSON FIRE DISTRICT
ROCKHILL FIRE DEPARTMENT
SAINT LOUIS FIRE DEPARTMENT
SAINT LOUIS COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
SAINT CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE DISTRICT
SAINT CHARLES FIRE DEPARTMENT
SHREWSBURY FIRE DEPARTMENT
SPANISH LAKE FIRE DISTRICT
UNIVERSITY CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT
WEBSTER GROVES FIRE DEPARTMENT
WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT
WEST COUNTY EMS & FIRE DISTRICT
WEST OVERLAND FIRE DISTRICT