Sedalia Council Hears Update on Sedalia Fire Department
Sedalia Fire Chief Greg Harrell outlined his strategic planning for his department's future to City Council Monday night.
The 131-year-old department saw a lot of changes this past summer, with many retirements and promotions, resulting in a new command staff, Harrell noted during a work session that followed a brief special City Council meeting.
As of Oct. 29, the SFD has answered 1797 calls for emergency service this year and is on track to answer over 2100 calls by the end of December. That number does not reflect all the other services such as issuing burn permits, conducting fire code inspections, smoke detector installations and fire prevention, to name a few.
The SFD is projected to install over 68 child safety seats in 2018, representing up to 75 man-hours of labor.
The SFD has purchased three tablets, two of which are being used by fire inspectors. The tablets allow inspectors to take photos of violations and insert them in the report on the spot. The tablets were purchased with grant money, Chief Harrell said.
The City of Sedalia has over 900 facilities to inspect annually, and Harrell said he would like to add one more inspector to his staff. He noted that it would involve adding duties to a current firefighter, certified as a fire inspector working on his or her regular shift.
Lack of enrollment numbers prevented the SFD from having a Firefighter I & II Academy this year, but a class in 2019 is anticipated. The last class was held 2016-17.
State Fair Community College is looking to award college credit hours towards an associate degree for successful completion of the academy, he said.
In the category of fire prevention, the SFD has had a presence at over 45 events since the middle of June.
Harrell noted that one of his goals as chief is to become a Class 2 ISO Public Protection Class during the next ISO inspection. Each captain and battalion chief has been given a list of structures to have completed by next June. Some of them are nearly complete with their assignments now, he noted.
A new reporting system approved by Council last year is now in place, which alows for better maintenance checks on apparatus and equipment, as well as fire inspections, training and testing records.
Delivery of a new pumper truck is expected one year from now, Harrell told the Council. The cost of the $560,752 truck was reduced by $30,823 due to allowing the new apparatus to be used as a demonstrator for 90 days before delivery.
New radios are needed by the fire department, as the old ones are no longer manufactured, and spare parts are next to impossible to find. "We currently have a grant application submitted to FEMA for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program,. fr $137,804 to replace and upgrade the radio communications system for the department," Harrell said. "We are also not compliant with several new government standards." If awarded the grant, it will cost the City 10 percent for the grant match. In addition, about $98,206 will be needed to purchase equipment not eligible under grant guidelines," he noted.
Likewise, the SFD's SCBAs are over 10 years old and no longer covered by warranty. The air bottles now in use will be rendered useless in 2022 by federal law.
A study of Central Fire Station will be presented to Council at its Jan, 5 strategic planning session, Harrell said. The study will determine whether repairs to the building should be made, or a new building should be erected on the site, or a new building on a new site is required to satisfy fiscal needs and ISO recommendations, it was pointed out.
There are currently 42 members serving on the Sedalia Fire Department, and all are highly trained and motivated, Chief Harrell told the Council.
In the photo: Sedalia Fire Chief Greg Harrell speaks to City Council members during a presentation Monday night as part of a work session held following a special Council meeting at 200 S. Osage. Behind him is Deputy Chief Matt Irwin.