The Fire Fighters Association of Missouri has named The Chillicothe Fire Department as “Department Of The Year” for 2016.
The FFAM serves 7, 533 members and 367 fire departments. The award was presented to the department at the FFAM 62 annual convention held at Tan Tara resort.
The Chillicothe Fire Department is a progressive Department with 23 full-time members including 1 Chief, 1 Billing Clerk, 18 Firefighter/Paramedics and 3 Firefighter/EMT’s. 22 members are FF I & II certified, and 16 members are currently Haz-Mat Technicians. The Department also has 16 paid-by-call members, 8 Firefighter/Paramedics, 1 Firefighter/RN and 7 Firefighter/EMT’s. 8 paid-by-call members are FF I & II certified with Haz Mat Operations and Awareness certification.
The Department fleet consists of a 2004 Pierce Quantum with onboard CAFS system and SCBA fill station, a 1997 Pierce Quantum with onboard class A&B foam system, and a 1995 Pierce Pumper on an International Chassis. A 2004 Sutphen 95’ Aerial Ladder , a 2006 GMC 2500 gallon Tanker, a 2013 Freightliner Rescue Truck, a 2008 F-250 Haz-Mat response unit, a 1999 F-350 Brush/Grass unit, a 2010 Medical/Grass Mule UTV, 2015 Command Vehicle and 5 ALS Ambulances.
The Department is involved in many Community activities through-out the year from going out in the Community and installing smoke detectors in the homes of their citizens, to doing fire extinguisher training for the employees of corporations such as Hedrick Medical Center, Mauser Corporation and the Chillicothe R-II School District.
The Department is actively involved in fire prevention for children, adult and senior adult community members by participating in educational fire prevention talks at our local service organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs. They are also active in doing site visits and educational talks to local nursing homes and local churches.
The Department participates in many educational and fire prevention activities within the local School District each year participating in Partners in Education and visiting every classroom in the District from Pre-School age to grade five on Fire Prevention week to instruct children on Fire Safety and prevention topics.
The firefighters actively supports area Volunteer Fire Departments with active Mutual Aid agreements for automatic responses for structure fires and first response calls for Medical emergencies. They actively participate with the surrounding Volunteer Fire Departments in cooperative fire training activities such as live fires at the Training center, extrication classes, Repelling, HAZ MAT awareness and Storm Spotter awareness training just to name a few, and meet with the Volunteer Fire Chiefs on a quarterly basis to discuss our cooperative efforts and any changes that can be made to make all of our efforts more successful in serving our local communities.
Some of the other many Community activities the Department participates in on a yearly basis are:
- Community Blood Donations
- Partners in Education
- Back Pack Buddies Back to School event at YMCA
- Boy Scout & Girl Scout Fire Prevention and First Aid Training for badge certification
- Chautauqua in the Park
- Fire Prevention Week at Elementary Schools
- Storm Spotter Class sponsored by Chillicothe Fire Department
- EAA Fly In
- Freedom Festival on Fourth of July
- Verizon Childs Safety event
- Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser partnering with Hedrick Medical Center
- Community Smoke Detector Installation
- Physical Fitness Program for Department Members
- Annual Pre-Plans and Inspections of local businesses
- Water Rescue and CPR Training of Lifeguards at Chilli Bay Aquatic Center
The Department is supported by a general fund and a quarter cent sales tax, approved by the citizens of the Community in 2004 to be used for the purchase of Fire Department equipment only. All of the Departments major apparatus and equipment are on a long term replacement schedule with financial management to keep strong fund balances and financial security. The two recent major purchases were a new Rescue Unit, and a new Firefighter Training Tower.
The Training Tower was purchased not only with funds generated from the sales tax, but was supported by 3 local Community Foundations which donated a total of $150,000 in funding to support the new Training Center. The Training Center is not only a valuable tool that is used by the Department, but is also used by the Grand River Technical School for training students in the Firefighter I & II program. The Department works in conjunction with the Vocational School not only training new Firefighters, but also on the EMS side of the Department in training EMT’s and Paramedics.
Through this working relationship with the Vocational School the Chillicothe Fire Department has been involved in training 35 of its 37 full-time or paid-by-call members. The Chillicothe Fire Department, through the desire of its dedicated members in conjunction with the Grand River Technical School, is building a long term training program to be the training hub for North Missouri. Through this agreement and working relationship with the Grand River Technical School, the Chillicothe Fire Department has assembled a staff of “Top Gun” Firefighters and EMT/Paramedics.
For the last 3 years the Department has worked in conjunction with Hedrick Medical Center in an effort to raise funds for Breast Cancer treatment patients and their families in our local Community. Through the sale of T-Shirts and Boot Drive collection, the Department and Hedrick Medical Center have donated a total of $20,841.08 to Hope House in Kansas City paying for overnight stays for local Cancer patients and their family members who need a place to stay while in Kansas City receiving cancer treatment and the Nurse Navigator program at Hedrick Medical Center.
The Department serves as part of the Region H Haz-Mat Response Team for the 15 Counties of Region H. Through contract agreements the Department also provides fire protection to the Rural Citizens by responding to fires outside of the City limits of Chillicothe, in addition to providing Fire Service to the City of Chillicothe and EMS Services for Livingston County running an annual combined call volume of around 2000 calls for service and traveling approximately 100,000 miles.
The Department is active in doing a Pre-Plan of every business, school, and Church in its community, and returns annually to re-inspect each building for the safety of the citizens and the Department members and, also promote the use of Knox Boxes for each of the buildings that have been pre-planned to allow the Department access in the event of an Emergency without causing expensive damage to the building.
Activity to not damage a business owners building is another example of why the Department and Community have a great deal of respect for one another. They are also very involved in the building code and life safety regulations within the community for new building construction or renovation of an existing building for the safety of our citizens and members. Through the efforts of the Department a new lower ISO rating of “4” was achieved for citizens.
The Chillicothe Fire Department serves as the Emergency Operations Center for Livingston County in the event of a catastrophic event in the community. With up to date equipment, facilities and technology, the Department takes the lead and moves into action anytime any type of situation threatens our community. The Department members are adequately trained and prepared to respond to many different types of events as outlined in the County Emergency Operations Plan.
The members of this Department are a dedicated group of individuals that have come from many different backgrounds, but collectively as an organization they have one main goal in mind, to protect the citizens of Chillicothe and Livingston County in their times of need whether it be Fire or EMS related calls for service. This Department is made up of members ranging in years of service from 35 years to 6 months.
Through on-going training activities and experienced members sharing their life experiences, the Department is continuously evolving in effectively gaining experience in protecting the citizens of Chillicothe and Livingston County. The Department has available to its members a new fitness center which all on and off duty members are encouraged to use on a daily basis. The Department leadership promotes the use of the fitness center for the health and well-being of the Department members. Each Department member also has the option of a YMCA membership at no cost to the member as another avenue to promote health and wellness within the Department. All Department members are required to have a full physical or wellness exam on a yearly basis to keep a check on their health and wellness.
The Department is active in promoting safety for its members. The Department strives to maintain all NFPA standards within its organization. PPE is inspected on a regular basis, equipment and apparatus are maintained on a regular preventive maintenance schedule and an annual Emergency Driving skills test is performed in an effort to reduce the chance of injury to the members of the Department.
The department has shown through Community involvement activities they participate in that they have great support of the Community they serve. This organization has been on the cutting edge of many new initiatives such as; we believe they were the first Fire Department in the State of Missouri to become a Fire/EMS based Department in 1968. They are believed to be the first EMS organization in Northwest Missouri to simultaneously transport a 12 Lead EKG from the field to a cardiologist at a Cardiac Stemi center to provide quick effective patient care to their citizens. They are also the first Department in Northwest Missouri to have a State of the Art live Fire Training Facility of its kind for use by its members for training.
The organization is deserving of the Fire department of the Year Award for this year. The training, leadership and pride the Department members show to the community is above and beyond what is expected of them. The citizens of the community know that when they call 911 for a Fire, EMS, or HAZ-MAT related incident, they will get an immediate response from a highly trained Department member with the citizen’s well-being as their main concern.
You could look at this organization as a clock. The members of this organization are precise, dependable, always on duty; if it fails it leaves you at risk. Firefighters are very interesting tools, serving not only their families at home but their fellow peers and members of the Community when on the job. The Departments approach to design and training gives them a better opportunity to serve the citizens of the Community, and boosts the moral and confidence of the Department members to achieve success.