Monthly Archives: April 2015

The King’s Speech – Who’s Your Lionel Logue?

Kings SpeechI was watching an award winning movie called “The King’s Speech” a couple days ago. It’s a movie about Britain’s King George VI and a problem he had. The King had a serious speech stammer.

Fortunately, the King was able to overcome the affliction with the help of an Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through Lionel’s help, instead of being a laughing stock to the public, the King was able to give an epic speech declaring war against Germany.

The movie has a number of messages. To me the strongest message is how one of the most famous people in history owed his greatness to a support person. So, who are those in your shadow?

Like most people, I’ve had many who’ve been in my shadow. But, I will tell you about just one, the most important one. I have known this person for many, many, many years.

IMG_1385We first met on a grade school playground in 1970. As a girl of fourteen she didn’t know then what a tremendous role she would play in my life. Her name is Rosalia, but most know her as Rosie – or, the Chief’s wife.

Rosie has always worked behind the scenes and has always been supportive of whatever was needed to bolster my career. Yet, she’s never had a title, never had a badge, and she’s never gotten any recognition other than that given by me. That this lack of recognition is okay with her is what makes what she does, and has done, even more special.

In the King’s speech to his people he talks of the “…mere primitive doctrine that might is right.” Those in the limelight are often in the “might.” But, you must not use your might un-rightly, nor should you fail to recognize those in your shadow – those who were instrumental in your success.

Have you recognized those people who’ve played an instrumental part in your life?

Another statement in King VI’s famous speech says, “For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge.”

I say let us apply “the challenge” to recognizing those in your shadow. Do it soon.

*Happy 37th Anniversary Rosie”

Native Pasture Burning – It’s Time to Plan

*Submitted by: David Kehler, County Extension Director/Agriculture Agent

CBDeveloping a burn plan; The key components of a good burning plan are: identifying goals for the burn, an inventory of the area, defining the weather conditions under which the burn will be conducted, reviewing safety requirements, knowing local and state regulations, determining manpower and equipment requirements, and developing contingency plans. Good planning will go a long way in helping conduct a prescribed burn that is safe and accomplishes the desired goals.

Why do we burn native grass? There are a large number of reasons to conduct a prescribed burn on grassland. Maintaining/ conserving the natural integrity of the prairie, brush and weed control, wildlife habitat manipulation, improvement of grazing distribution, and increased livestock production are a few of the more commonly cited reasons for burning. Prescribed burning will not only remove litter, but can help stimulate rhizomatous species such as Big bluestem and Indian grass. Denser grass stands protect the soil and reduce runoff. Annual burning is not required to accomplish all these goals, but will need to be done at least 1 out of every 3 or 4 years. Annual burning has become an annual practice in pasture used for stocker cattle. Research has shown these cattle can gain 10 to 12 percent more on late spring burned than on either unburned or early burned pastures.

When should native be burned? This has been the subject of a lot of discussion. The timing of the prescribed burn is dependent on the purpose. If the goal is to use fire as a tool to help with brush and weed control, it should be done in late spring, when those plants have started growing. Another “rule of thumb” is that the time to burn is when there is 2 to 3 inches of new growth in the native grass. In most years, this will occur in this area from mid to late April. The start of the native growth should not be confused with the earlier green-up of cool-season plants. Having an effective late spring burn is dependent on proper grazing the previous year to insure that around 50% of the growth is left for a good fuel load. Early spring burning is used as a tool to
increase for (weeds and wildflower) production in wildlife areas.

SE HWY 54BKnow your local regulations regarding prescribed burning. Who do you call when you want to burn? Notification of the fire department and/or the sheriff’s office is normally required. Notifying your neighbors is also a good policy.

A crew is generally needed to conduct a burn. One person to light the fire, one to drive the sprayer, one to handle the nozzle, and one to follow with hand tools to make sure all fires are under control is the minimum. Equipment needed to conduct a prescribed burn includes ignition equipment such as a drip torch and suppression equipment including a spray rig, fire swatters, and rakes.

Carefully planned and conducted prescribed burns can still escape. Have a contingency plan. Use your original inventory to reassess hazards that need protected and where fires could potentially escape. Have a clear plan on when the fire department will be contacted and do you have the proper equipment and enough manpower to attack an escaped fire without endangering people. If a prescribed burn is in your plans this year take time to think about the time and conditions to conduct the burn and how much manpower and equipment is needed to do so safely.

Paws for Prevention – “Monkey See Monkey Do”

Felipe1Howdy Partners! (Hola Companeros – for you Spanish children.)

Dalmations might be the American fire mascot, but they’re BIG like adults. I’m not black and white. And, I don’t have any spots. What I am is a little fellow just like you kids. And, being little I can see things from your view point.

My name is Felipe Carlito Rodriguez – FCR for short. Chief Moody’s son Weston Moody brought me to the United States from my birth spot of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Chief Moody – nice guy that he is – offered me a monthly spot on the blog to talk to you about prevention. So, here goes my first message – “Monkey See Monkey Do”.

I believe your parents taught you well and you have a pretty good idea of what’s right and what’s wrong – what’s safe and what’s unsafe. The problem happens when you get together with your friends and you ignore your brain telling you what your parents taught you.

Fire DogThe big people have a fancy name for it called “Peer Pressure.”

If you have even a little bit of doubt whether doing something is safe or not, then it’s NOT. No matter how much I teach you about prevention – staying safe – those lessons can easily be forgotten when you get together with your friends. It might even be YOU that suggests doing something you know is wrong.

The reason they call it Monkey See Monkey Do is because monkeys have a tendency of getting into all kinds of mischief.

So, if you are ever with a friend and he or she suggests doing something that seems slightly unsafe – picture the MONKEY and say to yourself – “I’m no Monkey!”

This is FCR signing off.

Remember – “Ten Cuidado – STAY SAFE!”

Rules, UAVs, & Controlled Burns

UAV 2Yesterday a group of panelists met at the Kansas Law Enforcement Center Auditorium to share thoughts concerning Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The House of Representatives have the topic in committee.

UAV SOLOIt seems logical with something that could hurt somebody that there needs to be rules. There have been a few “close calls” with unmanned aircraft. But, when you think of the number of these aircraft out there the incident numbers are minimal. With that being said here’s some of the rules being proposed:

* Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs.
* The unmanned aircraft must remain within visual line of sight.
* Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation.
* Daylight-only operations (official sunrise to official sunset
* Must yield right of way to other aircraft – manned or unmanned
* Maximum airspeed of 100 mph
* Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level
* No operations are allowed in Class A airspace
* No person can operate more than one unmanned aircraft at one time
* No operations from a moving vehicle or aircraft, except from a watercraft on the water.
* No careless or reckless operations.
* Requires preflight inspection by the operator
* A person may not operate a UAV if they have a mental or physical condition affecting their ability
* Operators must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved knowledge testing center
* Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months
* Make available to FAA upon request the UAV inspection or testing and any associated documents/records required
* Report an accident to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage
* Conduct a preflight inspection to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks

And the list goes on.

*Photo by Chad Wittenberg
*Photo by Chad Wittenberg
So, now lets make a comparison of another operational practice that has some inherent danger. Wild land burning.

One would think that something as dangerous as lighting a fire to burn off heavy grass and timbers would have similar rules to those lawmakers are establishing for UAVs. But, other than wind restrictions (which some still ignore) there’s minimal rules. In some localities there are no rules.

Every year fires get out of control and burn fence posts, shelter belts, barns, and houses. Worse yet sometimes those burning and those putting out the burning – aka firefighters – suffer injury, some minor and some major. Death is not uncommon.

So, what’s the point of this writing? Lawmakers need to invoke some safety requirements upon UAVs, but not make those rules so restrictive that it seriously hampers the evolution of usage.

And maybe the locals can use some of the same proposed UAV rules to make intentional wild land burning safer.

HEAT Training

* Story by Master Firefighter Michael Rose

IMG_2593

HEAT“Heat” is a familiar word for all the members of the firefighting community and can be heard at the dinner table or a topic of discussion around the morning coffee pot. Lieutenant Shane McCoy and Master firefighter Mike Rose experienced “Heat” this week. They attended a conference that wasn’t about firefighting but rather the maintenance of fire apparatus.

Heat stands for Heartland Emergency Apparatus Technicians. HEAT is an organization that was started in early 2000 by a group of shop supervisors and mechanics with the goal in mind to provide high quality training for individuals working on emergency apparatus. The Heat Association became contagious like a cold, people from nearby states heard the message and started attending conferences. The conferences began to provide some of the top trainers in the World to cover topics like; preventative maintenance, electrical trouble shooting, fire pump repair, hydraulics and several other topics.

HEAT 2MIKE 3These trainers brought solutions to current problems and helped the organization foresee upcoming problems with new designs and technology. Lt. McCoy and MF Rose were able to attend the basic electrical principal class in High Ridge, Missouri just outside of St. Louis.

The conference was three days long with a certification test on the third day. The question is, why do you have to go to St. Louis to learn the basic principals of electricity? Spartan Chassis, a fire truck manufacturer, provided top quality trainers, Electrician Mike O’Neal and Master Technician Gary May for the three day course.

Isn’t it the voltage going from point A to point B to create a desired function? Most of us learned this in high school, right?

Today’s apparatus are far more complex than the standard car that a family drives. We are sending multiple signals down one wire to a node or computer that decodes the message and sends a signal to the receiver.

Ok, I understand one computer and one receiver, that is simple, just like my computer at home. A fire truck can have up to twenty computers, and with each computer controlling things like lights, pumps, engine controls, safety devices such as seat belt monitors, traction control devices and anti-lock brakes.

As all of you understand, today’s apparatus are expensive, complex pieces of equipment that cannot afford to be broke down. Yet, with shop rates climbing to over $100 an hour, it only makes sense to have individuals that can work in two different fields.

This training is offered every six months and the location varies on which city is able to host the event. The benefits have already outweighed the cost of the training and will continue to benefit the taxpayers of El Dorado as well as the El Dorado Fire Dept.

The last training had over 40 mechanics attend with a significant increase expected at the next conference in October. This is an awesome opportunity for Lt. McCoy and Master Firefighter Rose. The pictures are some of the training aids provided by Spartan Chassis to assist technicians with diagnosing problems.