Hello Kansas Fire Services.
I hope you and yours doing well. This article will be a book to describe what has been happening. What a New Year already, right? The ongoing pandemic, political strife, and the uncertainty of where we are headed as a nation have all combined to cause much angst and turmoil within our discipline. I think that word “discipline” has an important meaning, now more than ever for the fire service.
We as a group, must remember that we need to remain disciplined and follow our mission. We are here to protect and serve. Our mission is not to check which political party a person belongs to, do you wear a mask or not, or did you vaccinate or not. Our job is to provide aid and comfort on what could be the worst day of a person's life. If we stay focused on that, we as the fire service will remain as the shining pillar of trust within our communities.
There are many things happening within the fire service in Kansas. As an Association, we are trying our best to provide training in those communities that will still allow it. We will have the Fire School in Alton in February. It is a downsized version, but it does go on with a limited class schedule. For March, at this time of printing, SCAFFA has been postponed again. Local restrictions will not allow it to move ahead as had been planned. Watch for a forth coming announcement about a Fall 2021 date for it at www.scaffa.org.
The KSFFA Annual Conference has undergone some change as well. As reported in the last Firewire, Salina Fire Department is unable to host this year. The by-laws revert to the Executive Board to find a time and place then to host conference. Currently, the plan is to host an in-person event in Sumner County at the Kansas Star Event Center. They have advised they can accommodate space that will allow social distancing and still have enough rooms. The only issue right now is there is not a set date. The management is working to secure the best timeframe for us so we can have the maximum space available for events and vendors. Tentative dates are April 9-11. Backup dates are April 23-25. This also means the Gove County school will move dates. We will be working with them to achieve this. Watch the website and Facebook page for further updates. It will be our plan to offer conference in an in-person format. If that becomes unavailable, we will then switch to an online format like last year's conference with credentials being the way to access the online forum. Make sure to provide us with an email address on your credentials form. Please watch your email and mail closely.
Speaking of the website and Facebook, we are rolling out the new website. As mentioned last time, Gwen Romine has stepped down after her many years of dedicated service to the Kansas Fire Service. The Executive Board contracted with Napier Communications to take over our website functions. Mary Napier has been working diligently to update and enhance the website. Many of you may recognize that name as Mary also oversees the KEMSA website and the KEMA website. We are happy to have her on board to help us move forward.
With the update to the website, you will start seeing some other enhancements. There will be a creation of a members only section on the website. This is where it will be extremely important that member departments get your rosters AND email addresses loaded on the website when you pay your annual dues. This will be the trigger to allow your membership to access the members only part of the site. While it may just be for news and school updates along with legislative news currently, we are planning to offer online seminar training, event registration, and more soon. Also, it will be much easier for us to keep you informed if we have your e-mail.
If you want to submit emails for your roster members, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be pushing out information on seminar training soon. We already have a commitment for two 2-hour sessions this spring from Task Force One, Inc. for a class on Volunteer Fire department Officer roles and another on 21st Century Leadership. Course descriptions for these are posted elsewhere in this Firewire. These are FREE courses open to any member department. The best part is that it allows for a log in from one agency, but you can use it for your drill and have as many members as you want to watch the presentation. Also, we will have the ability to share recordings of the classes as we move ahead. We will be working soon to find the best dates to offer these courses so we can have maximum participation.
One other topic is that the FRA Secretary/Treasurer conference was held in January in Salina. It was limited in size and attendance, but it was good to have a chance to gather even if in small groups and wearing masks. Also, the legislative session has begun in Topeka. We are watching closely for any bills with impact to the Kansas fire service. We know that there will be discussion on workman's compensation and PTSD legislation. Also, our tag bill will run concurrently with several other tag bills. A group effort will be ongoing on language about the Kansas Emergency Management Act and the powers and duties of elected officials during times of emergency. We hope to have a section solely dedicated to legislative matters on the new website that you can follow legislation throughout the session.
Lastly, the KSFFA Legislative reception is tentatively planned for February 22nd from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. If you are interested in attending, please send an email to Zack Golemboski at email@example.com we can make sure to get you the most up to date information about it or if we can even hold it. We do appreciate everyone's patience with all the changes.
I will close with this. Regardless of your stance on masks and vaccinations, just remember that we are here to serve the citizens. We should set the example as the fire service. As an Executive Board, we are trying our best to share training across the state still while respecting those local communities wishes on group training. Please watch for further improvements as we go forward.
Finally, I want to share with you as the membership about what my intentions are for elections this year. I spoke at the 2019 conference in Salina and informed the body I will be stepping down at the end of my term in April of 2021. Who would have guessed we would run into a pandemic? As an Executive Board, we have had many discussions over the last few months about where we are going as an Association and how best to handle a transfer of leadership as well as possible other open board positions. At the end of the day, we all agreed it would be very tough to hand this off to someone new with what is currently going on. So, after those talks, I have decided to run again for President. I also have assurances that Dan, Chris, Justin, and Shane will be running again. None of us felt right passing their seat on to a new person in the middle of all these changes and uncertainty. It is my sincere hope to see this pandemic through and get our Association out the other side unscathed. I do not say this to discourage anyone from running. If you have interest in a board position, do not be afraid to speak up and let one of us know. Please stay tuned to our social media and website for any last-minute changes to these events. We all want what is best for the Kansas Fire Service. We hope to have your help in getting that. Stay safe and see you all at an event near you!
Kevin Flory, KSFFA President