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OFF-DUTY ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE THREE PEOPLE FROM BURNING CAR (story below)

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KIRKWOOD PREPARES TO ASK VOTERS FOR SALES TAX FOR FIRE, EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKERS

December 21, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

KIRKWOOD - The Kirkwood City Council had the first reading last week of a bill to ask voters on April 7 to approve a 0.25 percent sales tax for fire and emergency medical services.

It is scheduled for a final vote on Jan. 8.

Passage of the initiative would bring the Kirkwood Fire Department about $1.1 million a year in new revenue.

Seventeen cities in St. Louis County with municipal fire departments are allowed to use sales taxes to fund their departments. Only Kirkwood and Glendale haven't approved the taxes.

Kirkwood public information officer Beth von Behren said that since 2008, Kirkwood city expenditures have been growing faster than revenues. They now outstrip revenues.

Meanwhile, the percentage of the budget taken up by fire and police increased from 52 percent in fiscal year 2008 to 60 percent in fiscal year 2014.

This is one way to deal with this situation, von Behren said.

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OFF-DUTY ST. LOUIS FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE THREE PEOPLE FROM BURNING CAR


Firefighters Frank Carter (left), Licole McKinney and Vincent Smith (right) pose with Fire Capt. James Green (rear). Smith holds a sweater they used to put out the flames on three car crash victims. Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 20, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Denise Hollinshed

ST. LOUIS - Three off-duty St. Louis firefighters heading to their jobs saw a vehicle on fire and managed to pull three people from the flames Saturday morning.

The victims were on fire, and the firefighters used a sweater to swat out the flames before giving the driver CPR.

The three victims were in a car that crashed at 7:15 a.m. at North Broadway and Humboldt Avenue, according to St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby.

The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed on Broadway when the driver lost control and struck a pole, causing the vehicle's engine to burst into flames, he said. The three occupants were unconscious and trapped.

The three firefighters, traveling in three different vehicles, were on Broadway headed to work when they came upon the wreckage along with other motorists.

Two of the firefighters, Licole McKinney and Vincent Smith, work out of Engine House No. 33, at North Broadway and Halls Ferry Road. The third firefighter, Frank Carter, works out of Engine House No. 20, at Broadway and Prescott Avenue.

Mosby said the three quickly jumped out of their vehicles went into action. Several of the civilians were enlisted to help, with one directed to call 911 and another to get something to break the car's windows.

The three firefighters pulled the victims from the burning car, with McKinney burning her hand in the process. They put out the flames and started CPR on the driver, who was in cardiac arrest.

All three victims were transported to a hospital. The driver, 25, was listed in critical but stable condition; the female passenger was listed in critical condition; and the third man, 24, was listed as in serious but stable condition.

Mosby said McKinney felt helpless when she first arrived on the scene because she did not have the tools firefighters normally would use to rescue a victim from a vehicle. He said she and the others quickly overcame that and improvised.

"I have no doubt in my mind that if the firefighters had not been there, they would have burned to death," he said. "By the time our truck would have gotten there, it wouldn't have been good at all."

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FIRE DISTRICT NAMES NEW FIRE CHIEF

December 19, 2014

CHESTERFIELD - KMOX radio is reporting that the Monarch Fire Protection District has named Interim Fire Chief Charles 'Chuck' Marsonette as the new Fire Chief of the District.

According to the Fire District web site, Chief Marsonette has a diverse public safety background with 23 years of experience in fire, emergency medical services, and law enforcement. Most recently, he worked with a local healthcare company in reducing employee injuries, worker's compensation, and risk management for the aviation and safety division. In addition, Chief Marsonette has an extensive knowledge of incident command and emergency planning/management. Chief Marsonette remains a law enforcement officer with a local jurisdiction on a part time basis.

Chief Marsonette understands the importance of public safety and has the leadership skills and experience needed to lead in an effective and efficient manner. His focus will be to manage operations to ensure the community continues to receive high quality fire and emergency services.

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CENTRAL COUNTY EMERGENCY 911 RECAPS ITS EFFORTS IN RESPONDING TO FERGUSON'S NEEDS

December 19, 2014 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Personnel from Central County Emergency 911 brought their "A game" to help deal with the recent civil unrest that followed the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting death.

That description of how the dispatch center's employees performed came from Michael Turner, CCE's executive director, in a review of actions taken to handle the expected higher volume of calls for fire and emergency medical services.

At the Dec. 18 CCE Board of Directors meeting, Turner provided a detailed look at actions the agency took in the wake of planning efforts that began a month before the grand jury's decision was announced.

The preparations involved key emergency personnel from North County and the region, as well as the CCE staff. Among other things, plans included setting up and equipping a "forward command post" inside a secure brick building in Jennings where steel plates were placed across the structure's front wall to provide a bullet-resistant environment.

CCE personnel transferred gear from the agency's mobile communications command vehicle and installed it and other needed equipment to make the Jennings location operational.

CCE employees and additional personnel obtained through the Missouri Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (MoTERT) worked 12-hour shifts during the November unrest to handle the higher 911 call volume and to staff the Jennings location.

Turner said CCE's computer-aided dispatching software worked with no reported problems. A review of the center's recording equipment also showed no calls were missed and no service was denied during the unrest, he added.

In addition, sleeping accommodations, meal arrangements and training were arranged for MoTERT dispatchers.

Turners report was greeted with accolades from the board and applause from audience members at the meeting. The board unanimously approved a motion to draft and frame a resolution of commendation to the CCE staff.

Jane Cunningham, a director representing the Monarch Fire Protection District on the CCE board, said she hopes a local restaurant or caterer will volunteer to provide a meal event as a reward to the dispatch center's personnel.

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FIRST RESPONDERS: DITCH THE SPINE BOARD

December 15, 2014 - MEDPAGE TODAY
By Melissa Kroll, MD, Hawnwan Phillip Moy, MD, and Evan Schwarz MD

ST. LOUIS - (Excerpts from article) It's the middle of the night when the paramedics roll into the ED with a pedestrian that was struck by a car. The patient reports that the car came around the corner and hit his leg. He remembers everything about the accident and complains only of his leg hurting. He appears to have an open, compound fracture to his leg, which was splinted in the field. In addition, the paramedics inform you that, on his initial exam, he did not have any midline neck tenderness or any pain with full range of motion. However, secondary to his distracting injury, a C-collar and backboard were placed on the patient. After the paramedics leave, you're left wondering what the evidence is on C-collar immobilization, and if it was really necessary to place a collar and backboard on this patient without any neck or back pain.

While the data to support spinal immobilization are weak, there is an increasing amount of evidence noting potential risks and morbidity associated with spinal immobilization. Spinal immobilization has been used to prevent aggravating spinal cord injury. However, in a controversial study done by Hauswald et al., non-immobilized patients in Malaysia had better neurological outcomes than similar injury-matched patients who were immobilized in New Mexico (OR 2.03). While these studies were conducted in vastly different countries, the overall notion that secondary injury to the cord due to transport is rare because the forces exerted during transport are weak compared with that required to injure the spinal cord may still hold true. Other studies have shown increased mortality (OR 2.06-2.77) in patients with penetrating trauma and spinal immobilization, most likely because it takes time (approximately 5 minutes, at best) to place a patient into full immobilization, which delays resuscitation and getting the patient into an operating room.

Placing a patient in spinal immobilization can adversely affect breathing and airway management. One study conducted on healthy volunteers showed that placing a patient on a backboard restricts respiration, with older patients having a greater degree of restriction. It is not difficult to imagine that the restriction can have a significant impact on patients with respiratory distress or in those patients with baseline pulmonary disease. Spinal immobilization also can make airway management more difficult, as it is often much more difficult to intubate a patient in a C-collar. In addition, patients not requiring airway management are at an increased risk of aspiration from vomiting.

In addition, pressure ulcers are very painful complications from spinal immobilization. Pressure ulcers begin forming within 30 minutes of immobilization. This is particularly troubling as another study demonstrated that the average time a patient spends on a backboard is approximately an hour. The process of immobilization has been shown to cause increased pain scores in healthy volunteers, so even those without midline spinal tenderness in the field may have tenderness on arrival to the emergency department.

While the evidence supporting spinal immobilization is minimal, especially in patients who are awake and have no neurologic symptoms, the preserved consequence of causing additional spinal cord injury is so severe that randomized, controlled studies on this topic are rare and difficult to do. However, there is increasing evidence of potential harm with full spinal immobilization. In response to the research, the St. Louis Fire Department-Emergency Medical Services Division, American Medical Response/Abbott EMS, and Clayton Fire Department removed backboards from their protocol in September 2014, although C-collar and C-spine stabilization still remain a part of their pre-hospital care.

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INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TOOL UTILIZED FOR PLANNING SURROUNDING GRAND JURY ANNOUNCEMENT

December 16, 2014 - EMS1.COM

CLAYTON - An incident management tool produced by Incident Response Technologies, Inc. (IRT), allowed the city of Clayton, Missouri to prepare for and respond to demonstrations, protests and incidents surrounding the grand jury announcement of the Ferguson case. As Clayton is the seat of St. Louis County, the announcement was made from the County's justice center, making Clayton an anticipated location for demonstrations organized by various groups.

The Rhodium® Incident Management Suite, a cloud-based software, was utilized by the Clayton Fire and Police Departments to coordinate with roughly 60 other agencies in St. Louis County including those responsible for the protection and management of critical infrastructure such as local law enforcement and the Missouri National Guard. Given the possibility of widespread, on-going demonstrations following the grand jury announcement, the Clayton Fire and Police Departments worked closely with IRT to create plans and detailed maps for demonstrations, spontaneous protests and various contingency plans within Rhodium®.

Multiple incident action plans (IAPs) were prepared within Rhodium® and were first used in table-top exercises prior to the grand jury announcement. With the IAPs and robust mapping features in Rhodium®, the system allowed multiple agencies to visualize contingencies by location and incident type during the planning the phase.

The IAPs and contingency plans for the first two operational periods were pre-planned, and once activated, crews were able to roll these plans into subsequent operational periods creating simplified, effective and efficient work flows in the following days.

"These are first class IAPs," said Chief Mark Thorp with the Missouri Region C Incident Support Team. "These went out to the EOC, and a lot of guys at the EOC are on Type 2 and Type 3 teams, and they're recognizing these high quality IAPs."

Once the grand jury announcement was made at the justice center, incident commanders with Clayton Fire and Police Departments had the ability to activate the IAPs and comprehensively manage emergency response within the City of Clayton and its surrounding communities. Rhodium® provided the commanders with the ability to coordinate movements, assignments, locations and actions taken by responders through the region, to include events happening in Ferguson, eight miles away.

Rhodium® allows field commanders and EOCs in a variety of emergency situations to immediately and accurately order, track and assign resources using tablets, smartphones and computers. Clayton Fire used Rhodium® to create 15 mapping layers to track and display both contingency plans and current operational information that were continuously updated to show the locations of road closures, staging areas, protest locations, suspicious activities, alarm locations, arrest locations and other tactical information.

Clayton Fire utilized Rhodium® in three command staff briefings each day to display current resource status, and plan future operations. The use of Rhodium® contributed to a well-organized response in Clayton and helped the city prevent any major incidents from developing.

Since the City of Clayton was a new customer and had not implemented Rhodium® into its operations yet, IRT provided a technical team for five days of on-site operations throughout the incident to help manage the Rhodium® system. The IRT team was able to assist the City of Clayton with Rhodium® prior to the incident, as well as during and after by training responders, coordinating general IT support for other systems and hardware, and actively developing custom functionality to meet the unique needs of this major event.

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MONARCH FIRE BATTALION CHIEF FIRED, AND DOESN'T KNOW WHY


Photo by Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

December 16, 2014 - KMOX

CHESTERFIELD - A 35-year veteran of the Monarch Fire Protection District has been fired, and he doesn't know why.

Sean Porter rose through the ranks during his career with Monarch - being named Battalion Chief in April of 2012.

But last Friday, according to a news release from the Firefighters Union Local 2665, Porter was called into a closed Monarch board meeting and asked to recount the procedures of the process that led to his promotion.

After the meeting, he was called into Interim Chief's office and asked to resign. When Porter refused to resign, he was fired.

Porter says he was told board members wanted him to resign, but that it had nothing to do with his job performance.

Union vice president and shop steward for Monarch Andy Stecko says the firing is an attempt to destroy the morale of their firefighter and paramedic team.

Porter says he is shocked by the firing, stating he has never been officially reprimanded and has no discipline problems in his personnel file.

Porter says his next move will be guided by legal counsel.

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BATTALION CHIEF FIRED BY BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Photo by Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

December 12, 2014 - Monarch Firefighters Community Outreach

CHESTERFIELD - Monarch Firefighters report that Sean Porter, a decorated Battalion Chief of the Monarch Fire Protection District has been fired tonight at a meeting of the Monarch Fire Board. No official reason was given.

There has been no official statement from the Monarch Fire Protection District Board on the termination of the Battalion Chief.

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MAPLEWOOD OFFICIALS GET PEEK AT DESIGN PLAN FOR FIRE STATION

December 12, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

MAPLEWOOD - Officials got their first look Tuesday night at the city's proposed $6 million firehouse.

The firehouse is being designed by JEMA, an architectural firm specializing in designing fire and police stations.

The design, which John Mueller of JEMA called "transitional" in appearance, features a 20,000-square-foot, two-story building with two sections joined by a central spine. Facing Manchester Road will be a three-vehicle drive-through apparatus bay with large windows. The back section of the building will actually be the main entrance and will house administrative offices, a training room and a fitness center.

Proposed materials are brick and stone echoing the look of the Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School behind the building. The building will also have accents of the copper found in the City Hall building.

The building will be constructed just west of the existing firehouse on a site bordered by Manchester on the south, Bredell Avenue on the west and an access road behind City Hall on the north.

Mueller said the "postage stamp-sized site" posed several challenges, including the fact that the tract, like the one City Hall is on, is sloped. Like City Hall, the new building will have a "Manchester level" and a "pool level," a reference to the municipal swimming pool behind the building.

While officials have committed to building a "sustainable" building, Councilman Barry Greenberg asked if the city would be willing to spend the additional money to have the building certified by the U. S. Green Building Council that it has met specific requirements. Estimates are certification would cost the city about $60,000.

City Manager Martin J. Corcoran said it would be a good move for the city. "You are establishing for the rest of the community how you view energy efficiency, and if you ask the sustainability commission, they'll go nuts if you don't do it," he said.

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ST. LOUIS RAMS MAKE DONATION TO THE BACKSTOPPERS


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

December 11, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Christine Byers cbyers@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8087

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Rams presented a $50,000 donation before Thursday night's game to The Backstoppers Inc., a charity that helps fallen police. The move comes after five players displayed a pre-game "hands up" gesture last month that offended many officers.

The team gave an equal amount to Reinvest North County to help small businesses and schools in Ferguson.

Rams officials notified the Backstoppers group's executive director, Ron Battelle, on Wednesday but did not tell him the contribution's amount. The Backstoppers provides financial assistance to families of police officers, firefighters and EMS workers killed in the line of duty.

Battelle said the football team has supported the nonprofit before by donating portions of ticket sales during games and holding a fundraising softball game, but a cash donation before a game is something new.

He would not speculate on the team's motives. "This is great news for our families, and that's where my focus is, and if it will help them, I'm all for it," Battelle said.

Kevin Demoff, Rams executive vice president of football operations, said: "We're proud to be able to continue to work on the effort with both Ferguson and law enforcement. This is the beginning of what we hope will be a very good partnership with both moving forward."

The "hands up" gesture has been used by protesters upset over the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by then-Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white.

Rams tight end Jared Cook and wide receivers Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt and Chris Givens used the gesture as they came onto the field before the Nov. 30 game against Oakland. Britt and running back Tre Mason struck a "hands up" pose after Mason's 35-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the first quarter of that game.

Several of the Rams players involved said it should not be interpreted as taking sides in the issue of whether Wilson was justified to shoot Brown.

But some police officers and law enforcement supporters were strongly critical of the gestures.

Since that game, Rams officials have had internal discussions about ways they could show support for St. Louis area law enforcement.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association's business manager, Jeff Roorda, and city Police Chief Sam Dotson have met with Rams officials. The team's executive vice president of football operations, Kevin Demoff, made a conciliatory call to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

Gabe Crocker, president of the St. Louis County Police Association, had called the five players' gesture "classless."

Crocker said The Backstoppers donation "is a good first step to repairing the damage that was done several weeks ago." He said, "The players' actions had a profoundly negative impact on public safety personnel and their supporters throughout the community."

"I still would not expect many public safety folks to be lining up for tickets."

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FIREFIGHTERS SAY GOVERNOR DIDN'T PROTECT THEM

September 15, 2014 - KSDK By Farrah Fazal, KSDK

FERGUSON - The flames burned for hours on the night of November 24th. it was the night Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced the grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

Firefighters trying to battle those blazes said, "When the emergency calls came in during the protests on November 24, Governor Nixon failed to deliver on his promise to protect the community and firefighters with National Guard troops. Governor Nixon's failure meant firefighters were not dispatched in many circumstances to save businesses and homes in locations where protests turned violent with increased danger. Where firefighters were dispatched to do their jobs, in a number of cases they were attacked and gun fire was present at the scene, and they had to abandon their hose lines and equipment to take cover."

The president of the International Association of Firefighters Mark Woolbright was not available to do an on-camera interview with us but he said, "Governor Nixon turned his back on fire fighters when it mattered most - when they were needed to help save areas of the Ferguson and adjoining communities from further damage. It turned out that the governor's words were nothing more than empty promises and pathetic political posturing of the worst kind. As a result, fire fighters were often found in unsecured and dangerous positions. Because of such, the normal risk of firefighting was taken to an all new heightened level. It was extremely unfortunate the Ferguson community citizens and business owners of Ferguson were left with little or no fire protection, leaving nothing more than ashes and tears from their measurable loss."

At least 25 businesses were on fire that night. Senator Jamilah Nasheed is on the Government Accountability Committee of the state Legislature, which meets on Thursday. She said she will ask the other members to investigate the governor's decision on that day and where the National Guard was while criminals were lighting homes, businesses and cars on fire.

Statement from the governor's office--

The Governor appreciates the bravery and dedication of the hundreds of law enforcement officers, guardsmen and fire fighters who worked tirelessly to protect the public in a very difficult, dangerous and volatile situation in Ferguson that night.

From the beginning, the plan developed and executed by the unified command was to have the Guard stationed in support roles at places like fire houses, police stations and power substations so that experienced law enforcement officers could be out policing protest areas. That night, more than 700 guardsmen were deployed to nearly 100 locations around the St. Louis region, including at the Ferguson Command Post. There were also nearly 500 law enforcement officers, including 150 state troopers, in Ferguson.

The Governor has said repeatedly that the violence and destruction seen that night was unacceptable and that he will be working with those businesses every step of the way to help them rebuild. But the fact that no citizens, law enforcement officers or fire fighters lost their lives is a testament to the hard work and professionalism of the men and women who worked day and night to protect the public.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY PARAMEDIC ALLEGES DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF HIS MILITARY SERVICE

December 10, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - A paramedic for the county ambulance district has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the district repeatedly discriminated against him while he served as a Navy reservist and a member of the Illinois National Guard.

Matthew Lindewirth, a 17-year veteran of the district, also said he was denied pay, promotions and light duty after he was injured while transporting classified information in Africa.

The suit names current and former members of the district board as well as the current CEO Taz Meyer.

In a written statement, the district said it "strongly denied" the allegations.

"St. Charles County Ambulance District strongly supports our veterans, and proudly employs numerous current and former military personnel," the statement said. "Likewise, the employment policies of the district are supportive of the men and women who have served our nation."

Lindewirth's suit said his mistreatment included being harassed when he pointed out district violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act of 1994. He was forced to apologize to then-CEO Ken Koch and the board for challenging district policy by reporting it to the Department of Defense, the suit claims.

In addition, the lawsuit claims Koch told two other employees who were in the military at the time that "everything" was going to be taken away from them because of Lindewirth's actions. This led to arguments between Lindewirth and other employees as well as the berating of Lindewirth, according to the lawsuit.

Lindewirth claims he was not paid the differential between his military pay and his paramedic pay, despite other employees getting that money. In addition, the district failed to pay his retirement benefits for six years while he was on military duty. While deployed another time, it canceled his insurance, sick time and vacation, the suit says.

After Lindewirth injured both arms in Africa in 2012, he had to have three operations, and the district tried to force him to take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act, which would not have provided him enough time to recover, according to the suit.

In addition, when Lindewirth returned, the district refused to place him on light duty and as a result, his recovery allegedly was compromised.

"Members of the military like Lindenwirth risk all, and when they come back they shouldn't have to deal with employers that can't even follow the law," said Lindenwrth's attorney, Lynette Petruska.

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FIRE DISTRICT EARNS AWARD FOR FINANCIAL REPORTING


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 10, 2014 - Call News

MEHLVILLE - The Mehlville Fire Protection District recently earned a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its 2013 financial statements.

This is the 16th consecutive year the district has received this recognition.

"... This is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by our government and our management ...," Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond told the Board of Directors last month. "... I just wanted to share that information with the board that we had received a glowing review from the association and it represents to the taxpayers the good job we do with transparency and sharing with them the financial update of our organization."

The fire district's 2013 financial statements have been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the nonprofit association's program, according to a news release.

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ATF RECEIVES SOME LEADS INTO FERGUSON ARSON

December 9, 2014 - KMOX By Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)

FERGUSON - The feds report they are getting some leads from a reward offered to help solve a rash of arson the night the Ferguson grand jury decision was announced.

With more than 20 fires set that night, including one at the Flood Christian Church in Ferguson, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reports it has received several videos from businesses in the area and via the tips line.

"And all of that is very beneficial," says John Ham, spokesman with ATF.

"Even if it's just word of mouth, that somebody has started one of these fires, or was associated with one of these fires in any way, that's information that we would be interested in having," he says.

The reward for information leading to an arrest is $10,000.

The number to call with tips is 1-888-ATF-FIRE.

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FIREFIGHTER PROMOTIONS


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 9, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - Congratulations to those recently promoted by the St. Louis Fire Department. (Left to right) Steve Fritsch to Captain, Wayne Luster to Battalion Chief and Mike Richardson to Communications Manager.

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GUNS 'N HOSES FUNDRAISER RESCHEDULED FOR JAN. 30


Joe Stevens of the Overland Police Department (left) tries to hold off Paul Birchfield of the St. Louis Fire Department during the 27th Annual Guns 'N Hoses boxing event, held at Scottrade Center on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Birchfield won the fight. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

December 8, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Christine Byers cbyers@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8087

ST. LOUIS - The region's top fundraiser for fallen first responders, postponed from Thanksgiving Eve because of unrest in Ferguson, has been reset for Jan. 30.

Budweiser Guns 'N Hoses - which pits police officers against firefighters in boxing and mixed martial arts - will go on about two months late at the Scottrade Center, organizers said.

The annual event has been on Thanksgiving Eve for 27 years, but organizers were concerned that participants would be weary from working long hours of extra duty. It is the largest fundraiser for The Backstoppers, Inc., a nonprofit that provides financial support to families of the region's police officers, firefighters and EMS workers killed in the line of duty.

When news of the postponement spread, donations to The Backstoppers soared. Someone launched a Facebook page challenging bars and lounges to charge $1 admission at their doors to benefit the nonprofit, and online contributions jumped, said Ron Battelle, the executive director.

About 60 bars and lounges participated in the Thanksgiving Eve challenge. Coupled with the online donations, Battelle said, the organization has collected about $10,000 in unexpected help.

"It has certainly helped in the cash flow situation," he said.

This year's event will honor Hematite Fire Protection District firefighter Clarence Watson (left) and Louisiana, Mo., Police Chief Richard Hughes (right). Both died of heart attacks shortly after finishing busy shifts.

"This is our one time of year that we get to honor our fallen heroes and recognize all the fine police, fire and EMS officers out there who are working really hard," Battelle said.

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FIREFIGHTERS SUPPORTING THE DREAM FACTORY


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

December 8, 2014 - St. Louis Fire Department

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Fire Department supporting The Dream Factory - "Making a Child's Dream Come True!" Area firefighters shopped for holiday gifts with sixty excited children! A special thanks to Dillard's and their associates!

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REWARDS OFFERED FOR FERGUSON, DELLWOOD ARSONS

December 8, 2014 - KTVI BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

FERGUSON - The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering rewards up to $10,000 for information leading to arrests in the intentional fires set after the grand jury announcement in the Ferguson police shooting.

The ATF announced the rewards Friday. The agency singled out the arson at Flood Christian Church in nearby Country Club Hills. The father of police shooting victim Michael Brown Jr. was baptized at the church one day before the November 24 grand jury announcement.

Bomb and arson units from St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis, as well as investigators from the Missouri Highway Patrol, are assisting the investigation.

Federal investigators ask members of the public with video or photographic evidence or other information to email them at Fergusonfires(at)ATF.gov

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NEGOTIATIONS TO CONTINUE WITH FIREFIGHTERS

November 14, 2014 - South County Times by Eileen P. Duggan

CRESTWOOD - The Crestwood Board of Aldermen on Oct. 28 approved a six-month bridge agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2665, representing Crestwood fire personnel.

But the board postponed the second reading of a bill that would amend the city's code regarding collective bargaining.

The bridge agreement extends the city and the firefighters' three-year memorandum of understanding, which ended Sept. 30, until March 31. The extension gives the parties time to negotiate a new contract. All terms of the 2011-2014 contract will remain in force. If a new agreement is not approved by March 31, firefighters would be offered the same economic enhancements, such as wages or leave benefits, extended to other city employees.

The collective bargaining ordinance would add to chapter 2 of the municipal code a five-page section 2-147 describing the collective bargaining process with union groups.

The board voted 8-0 to approve the bill on first reading after very little discussion, but one alderman voted against an immediate second reading. The second reading is postponed to the next meeting, Nov. 28.

The collective bargaining process would involve a team appointed by the board of aldermen to negotiate with a recognized labor organization. The bill sets forth a process to recognize any previously unrecognized labor organizations for the purposes of negotiation.

Currently, Crestwood firefighters are the only employee group represented by a labor union, the International Association of Fire Firefighters Local 2665. The proposed code change addresses the procedure should any other employee group wish to join a union.

On Sept. 23, the IAFF Local 2665 representative addressed the board of aldermen to complain that city officials had failed to schedule bargaining talks, even though the contract was near expiration. Kurt Becker, IAFF's 4th District vice president, alleged that city officials had responded only once in writing to six written communications asking that they set dates for bargaining discussions.

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FIREFIGHTERS SAY GOV. NIXON PUT THEM IN DANGER AFTER GRAND JURY DECISION

December 5, 2014 - KTVI BY CHRIS HAYES

FERGUSON - A fire fighter union says lack of leadership put fire fighters at risk on the night of the Darren Wilson grand jury decision. They say it resulted in some businesses burning while fire fighters watched powerlessly. The International Association of Fire Fighters released a statement saying Missouri Governor Jay Nixon turned his back on fire fighters when they needed him most.

On the night of November 24th, they had the manpower to fight fires, but no protection from National Guardsmen. IAFF representative Mark Woolbright, who's also a firefighter said, "We were led to believe there would be some kind of protection and barrier around us to do the work and to do the job we were sent there to do." He added, "This job is dangerous enough without having to worry about bullets flying around you or over you."

Woolbright says they were often forced to abandon equipment and drop hose lines to avoid gunfire. He said, "It's very disappointing, because we have ownership in the community." IAFF released a statement saying in part, "It turned out that the Governor's words were nothing more than empty promises and pathetic political posturing of the worst kind. As a result, fire fighters were often found in unsecured and dangerous positions."

During an interview Thursday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon defended his decision to keep National Guard out of North County November 24th and also defended his decision not to call the Guard when businesses began burning. I asked, "Why not send rapid response? (Nixon) Later, as we saw the number of shots, the fires, the choice became really clear, what was first, property or life? And in that situation, without a doubt, the right choice and the right plan was to - unfortunately there was property loss and we`ll work hard to make sure that's rebuilt - but it's also important to know that over the last 120 days, we haven't had a single life lost.'

Woolbright said fire fighters never heard about plans to let property burn. He added, "Many of the decisions either weren't enacted on or there was a change of plan at the very last minute and therefore it seemed to be a total blotched effort."

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MAN SOUGHT FOR SETTING BUSINESS ON FIRE IN FERGUSON THE NIGHT OF GRAND JURY'S DECISION


Police released this image of a suspect wanted for setting fire to a Ferguson business on December 5, 2014.

September 15, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

FERGUSON - St. Louis County police released surveillance photos Friday of a man wanted for starting a fire at a business in Ferguson the night of the grand jury's decision.

Police say the man is wanted for starting a fire at Ferguson Market, at 9101 West Florissant Avenue after the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson on Nov. 24.

The photos show the man in the market holding what police believe is an accelerant. He started a fire, police say, but an unknown woman put out the blaze.

The market was looted and damaged that night, but remains standing. Several other businesses in the area were not as lucky; some burned to the ground.

Authorities asked anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.

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FERGUSON UNREST EXPOSES NEED FOR BALLISTIC VESTS FOR FIREFIGHTERS

December 5, 2014 - Kirkwood Times by Dennis Hannon

SHREWSBURY - The turmoil in Ferguson has had an impact on the Shrewsbury Fire Department budget. On Tuesday the board of aldermen approved an emergency purchase of ballistic vests for firefighters.

The vests were in the budget for next year, but the purchase was pushed up because firefighters had been called to duty during the riots in Ferguson, Fire Chief Bill Fox said.

While never shot at directly, Shrewsbury's firefighters were exposed to gunfire in August when called to back up departments involved in the first riot in Ferguson, Fox said.

"They were at the command post when it came under attack," Fox said. "There were shots fired," though no one at the headquarters was injured, he said.

During the second round of Ferguson riots Nov. 24, Shrewsbury sent an eight-man contingent of firefighters, Fox said. However, they were fortunate to be stationed in Clayton, where the Missouri National Guard maintained calm.

The department bought 10 vests for its 18 firefighters, Fox said.

"We bought enough to cover people who are on duty," he said.

The $6,100 purchase will put a crimp in the department's capital equipment budget next year, but "the safety of our men must come first," Fox told the board.

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CENTRAL COUNTY EMERGENCY 911 DISPATCH CENTER HIT WITH LAWSUIT

November 17, 2014 - West Newsmagazine By: Jim Erickson

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A consultant, whose agreement with Central County Emergency 911 was terminated more than a year ago, has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was the target of libelous statements and breach of contract.

Specifically named in the lawsuit filed by Colleen Dealey are Timothy Flora and other members of the CCE Board of Directors as well as Mike Turner, the dispatch center's executive director. Dealey is seeking $40,800, costs, attorney fees and other relief on each of the action's three counts and punitive damages from Flora, Turner and CCE on two of the counts involving libel and conspiracy to commit libel.

The lawsuit recounts Dealey's work with the dispatch center beginning in October 2012 when she was hired to provide technical expertise as CCE expanded its operations. The first contract was extended twice, the second time in June 2013 for an additional six months. However, the CCE board terminated Dealey's consulting contract just three months later.

The termination came after a number of events described in the lawsuit including:

- Flora's efforts to provide information to the board suggesting that Dealey hadn't disclosed a conflict of interest from her ownership of a software development company with Ernie Rhodes, chief of the West County EMS and Fire Protection District. According to the lawsuit, Flora also accused Dealey of receiving kickbacks from CCE vendors through the software company and for billing CCE for more than her contract specified.

- Flora's asking for and then receiving a forensic copy of the hard drive from Dealey's laptop computer. The copy included not only Dealey's billing records and various reports but also confidential medical and other personal information from EMS calls handled by the various agencies dispatched by CCE.

- The discovery that a person employed at the center during Dealey's tenure used CCE facilities to host websites with adult content and the failure of Turner to inform the CCE board on a timely basis, even though Dealey says she advised him to do so.

- Dealey and Turner differing on a number of issues, including lack of accountability and network security, overspending on the expansion effort and Turner's alleged inability to provide the CCE board with accurate information on important matters.

Asked about the lawsuit's allegations, Turner declined to comment, but Flora issued a statement saying: "Ms. Dealey's lawsuit is totally without merit. She is asking (CCE) to pay her for work she never performed. Right now she is hoping that the CCE board of directors will choose to pay her to avoid the costs of litigation. If the board declines to pay her, we expect her to withdraw her claims. We plan to file a counterclaim against Ms. Dealey, and I fully expect that she will dismiss her claims before she has to testify under oath."

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MEDIC DESCRIBES ANGER, HEARTBREAK OF FERGUSON RIOTS

December 4, 2014 - EMS1.COM

FERGUSON - Christian Hospital EMS paramedic Katie Keeter shares some of her thoughts and experiences while working in Ferguson, Mo. during the riots and protests since August 2014.

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SPANISH LAKE FIREFIGHTER RETIRES AFTER 42 YEARS OF SERVICE


Mark is shown with his two sons, Nick (right) and Steven (center). Steven is a firefighter with the St. Louis Fire Department and Nick is a firefighter with the Ferguson Fire Department.

December 3, 2014

SPANISH LAKE - Steven 'Mark' Lodes has retired from the Spanish Lake Fire Protection District effective on December 2nd, 2014. Mark retired as a firefighter/engineer with the Fire District, where he has served for the last 42 years.

Mark has said "Now I can really spend as much time as I want in the deer stand and duck blind as I've always wanted to".

Congratulations to Mark Lodes on his retirement and long service to the Spanish Lake Community.

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FIRE DISTRICT TO UTILIZE ADVANCED UV-C DISINFECTION

December 2, 2014 - Florissant Valley Fire Protection District

ST. LOUIS - The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District recently became one of the few fire districts in the St. Louis area to utilize UV-C disinfection as an additional layer of disinfection.

The fire district purchased three EDU-435 UV-C Disinfection Lamps, one for each firehouse. These lamps will be used to help disinfect vehicles and spaces around the firehouse, protecting both personnel and the public from exposure to contagious organisms.

Advanced UV-C disinfection provides 99.999% to 99.999999% disinfection and kills virtually all known bacteria, virus, mold, protozoa and yeast. Used in conjunction with topical disinfection, this technology will drastically reduce the risk of disease to those patients transported in the ambulance, as well as those who visit the firehouses for business and tours.

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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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ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE DISTRICT REOPENS SHUTTERED STATION

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

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - The St. Charles County Ambulance District reopened its station in Cottleville Saturday - a move made possible by voters' approval of an 11-cent property tax increase in April, officials said.

The station, located near St. Charles Community College at 130 Weiss Road, had been closed for over a year due to staff shortages caused by budget shortfalls.

The ambulance station will be staffed 24 hours a day by two paramedics, but is capable of housing an additional crew if needed in the future.

Established in 1974, St. Charles County Ambulance District provides pre-hospital care and transportation for residents in all municipalities and unincorporated areas of St. Charles County. District paramedics respond to more than 30,000 calls annually.

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