Area Fire Chiefs in Forum
The Citizens’ Firefighters Club of Garland hosted the eleventh annual Chiefs Forum on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Garland Fire Administration Building. Carrye Johnstone, State President for the Texas Citizens Firefighters Academy Alumni Association [TCFAAA] welcomed everyone and thanked Garland for hosting the event.
Melissa Garner, Director for the Garland Rehab team and Garland’s delegate to the TCFAAA welcomed the Chiefs and members of outlying clubs.
Don Martin, Vice President for the TCFAAA was moderator and was joined by chiefs from all over North Texas, including: Chief Palomba (Richardson), Chief Caldwell (Roanoke), Chief Crawford (Plano), Chief Kistner (McKinney), Chief Knight (Garland), Chief Riley (Colleyville), Chief Frisinger (Grapevine), Chief Conley (Irving), Chief Rhodes (Euless), and Lt. James (Bedford).
Chief Crawford reported on Plano’s use of the Rescue Vans vs Traditional trucks and ambulances. He pointed out the advantage of being able to hire personnel to man the vans without replacing fireman. The City of Plano provided the funds for the vans and personnel.
Chief Knight spoke of Garlands FD’s effort to recruit minorities by providing scholarships and a free ride to the Fire Academy.
The City of McKinney started a Community Health Center, to help with calls that may or may not be an emergency. One patient had called 52 times in one year with health problems because he could not read the Rx directions. The EMS spent time with the patient and explained how he should be taking his meds. Problem solved. This is the best option for some particular patients who perhaps can’t read or understand the directions on the medication label.
The biggest challenges they all faced this past year was unfunded state mandates.
Retirement also played a big part of this challenge. They are all initiating programs to change the culture of some firemen by teaching leadership skills. Some of the concerns expressed were a need for bigger stations, asbestos in some old buildings, heat stress, health reform, terrorism intended to take out a fireman, brush fires and nursing home calls versus fires.
Elvia Flores, President of the Citizens Firefighters Club of Garland thanked the attendees for coming and especially the Chiefs and the Irving Club, who had responded to a 4 alarm fire at 2 a.m. and were at the Forum. She also thanked Chief Knight who had outpatient surgery the day before. The 50 people who attended left with knowledge of what our surrounding communities are dealing with in their different Fire Departments.