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Winter Fire Safety – FD & Dorothy

November 6, 2013

Your local Fire Department wishes you an enjoyable 2013 Winter Holiday Season, but every winter holiday season has added safety risks. Live Christmas trees, open candles, slick roads, and heating issues. They all bring risk.

“Dorothy’s Sad Letter” will help highlight the risks of heating your home.

Dear Citizens of America,

DorothyClogged flue pipes, cracked heat exchangers, and missing detectors…OH MY! My friends and I were all alone in a dark house with winter demons and no help in sight.

How could this have happened? Why didn’t I get my clogged flues cleaned? Why didn’t I call the furnace man to do his annual service check?

He would’ve found the cracked heat exchanger and fixed it. And a trip to the store with a ten spot would’ve gotten me the batteries for my smoke and CO detectors.

Straw for a brain – that’s the only explanation.

Home safety isn’t all that difficult to understand. The cost of these safety solutions are a fraction of a house fire.

Just then the firefighters showed up. First, they escorted me and my friends to the clean air outside. Then they put the fire out in my flue, shut down my bad furnace, and ran their own detectors until the air was clean.

So, what did I learn? Well, I…I think that…it isn’t being responsible to live in a home without practicing simple winter safety.

Please be Safe – Dorothy

“Dorothy’s Story” is a fun way to help remind you of winter safety, but safety is no joking matter. Your Fire Department wants you to remember its four word safety message and that is – “Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility.”


Poor Farmer Lessons – Grandpa Hemmy

November 4, 2013

Honda CivicHe was a tall lanky farmer. He had fifteen children. He was my Grandfather.

A farmer raising fifteen children on land he didn’t own was a formula for poverty, but it was also a formula for lessons.

Let me start by describing the farm operation.

Wheat was his “cash crop” so to speak. But, he couldn’t get by on just raising wheat, especially a farmer with loads of children.

This was back in the good old days when you did it all.

The other parts of the farm operation were primarily focused on feeding all the mouths.

There was a small herd of Holstein cows for milk. Then there was a pig operation for ham and bacon. And a chicken operation that supplied the eggs to go with the bacon. The cows were fifty yards to the west of the home, the chickens twenty yards to the east, and the pigs a bit further away – two hundred yards north.

Equidistant between the house and the pigs was the outhouse.

The shared family car mirrored the compact farm operation – a Honda Rabbit hatchback. On the weekly trip to church, Grandpa would squeeze into the Rabbit with his six foot two inch frame, his knees sandwiched between two sun leathered arms. It was quite a sight.

The family home’s exterior was dull white stucco with bright red trim. Water was accessed by a hand pump out on the back porch. There was one bedroom downstairs for Grandpa and Grandma and two bedrooms upstairs – one for the boys and one for the girls.

Can you see the lessons?

Work ethic was a powerful one. Grandpa didn’t talk all that much. He didn’t have to. He would work sun up to sun down. And, I never once heard him complain about his plight – never.

Put others before yourself. You can’t raise fifteen children on microscopic funds without putting others ahead of yourself.

Frugality is another one. Grandpa and Grandma never had fancy possessions. I doubt there were ever any extra funds. Yet, frugality allowed Grandma to cover their household expenses and still have the dollars to buy a tiny Christmas gift for every single grandchild. And, there were a LOT of grandchildren.

Wealth isn’t required. Happiness doesn’t require running water, a flushing toilet, or a fancy car.

He was a special person who gave us a treasure of lessons. And he left us just short of his 102nd birthday.

Halloween – “Make it Safe One”

October 27, 2013

gREEN mONSTERThe Salina businessman decided to celebrate Halloween with an elaborate costume scarier than any movie character. He was a big, dark green monster.

His clothes were shredded like he had been mauled by a pack of pit bulls. And, the mask – the right eye hung out and the left was embedded with an ice pick. “Mike the Monster” was a crowd favorite.

Everywhere he went folks gasped and giggled with fright. It would be a night that Mike would long remember. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a fun memory.

“Mike the Monster” decided to cross a busy highway later that evening. His vision through the scary mask was limited. Likewise, the dark costume was practically invisible to the car driver. The monster was struck at 40 mph.

Hollywood monsters might be invincible, but humans dressed as monsters aren’t. Mike was lucky that he survived, but his serious injuries would remind him of Halloween night forever.

So, what is the point of telling you this story? There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of stories similar to Mike’s – some with sadder endings.

What if we learned from their stories?

What if we thought about Mike when we chose our costume? What if we thought about Mike before crossing a busy street? Costumes can be fun without being dangerous.

And as long as we are on the topic of Halloween Safety let’s include a few additional things.
•Pick a non-flammable costume.
•Carry a flashlight or a glow stick.
•Take off your mask when walking between houses.
•Never go into a person’s home you don’t know.

Here is a link to more information ( Educate yourself so you don’t suffer a terrible injury like “Mike the Monster.”

Butlier County LEPC – Disaster Table Top, Tour, & Demonstrations

October 24, 2013

IMG_1264IMG_1263IMG_1261IMG_1257Butler County LEPC Local Emergency Management Planning Committee members met yesterday at BG Products to conduct a tabletop disaster drill, followed by a tour of BG Products, followed by several demonstrations.

City of El Dorado – “Volunteer Firefighter of the Year”

October 21, 2013

RodneyHis name is Rodney Reed. This man was recognized this past Saturday as the “Eldorado Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.” And to make things even more special – if that’s possible – this wasn’t the first time he’s received the award. Rodney also received the award in 2011.

Continuing the special things is how long Rodney has served as a volunteer firefighter. This coming February it will be 20 years. When asked what attracted him to becoming a firefighter Rodney said, “I followed in my dad and uncle’s footsteps.” His dad served 20 years and was also a recipient of the same award. And his uncle was a 25 year firefighter.

The award is based upon three criteria. The first benchmark is “Number of Calls.” Rodney responded to 38 structure fire calls for the year. Next on the list is “Time Put in at the Fire Station.” Last, is “Attendance at Training.” Rodney made every single training meeting.

When asked about his most memorable fire in his career Rodney quickly named the Old Town Pizza fire in the 100 Block of South Main.

Rodney was the first volunteer on scene and was part of the first entry team. His partners were Captain (later to become Chief) Nakaten, and Driver Jack Zimmerman. They made entry and tried to get a knockdown, but the fire was more advanced than they realized. After hearing ventilation units start dropping to the floor in the next room over, they knew it was time to vacate the building. The building ended up being a total loss as was the building next door.

Rodney’s wife Gaylene was present to hear Volunteer Liason Lieutenant Coby Spear make the winning announcement. Rodney said of Spear, “He’s one of the best Lieason Officers we have had – a Great Trainer!”

There’s another pretty great person and that’s FF Rodney Reed.

Congratulations Rodney and “Thank You” for your dedicated service!

A New Stafford Voice

October 17, 2013

Davin Graves has posted his very first story on the “new” Stafford County Emergency Service site. I am honored by that story being about me.

I have attached the link to that site. Please visit it and set up a link.

I might add that Davin is much too humble about his writing ability. Big words really aren’t all that important. What is most important is heart. This young man has one of the biggest. And it shows in his words.


Davin Graves – The Video Master

October 12, 2013

DavinDavin Graves put together these two SPECTACULAR videos.

A young man with incredible talent. As a total package – the best I ever hired.

Stafford County’s send off couldn’t have been better – thank you everyone, especially Misty & Davin!