Author Archives: FCOEM

OES Notepad

by Fred Mullen

Storms

What we missed in the intensity of our Spring fire season we seem to be making up for with our Spring severe weather season.  Storms this past week provided plenty of challenges for responders and citizens.  Fortunately, I have not learned of anyone hurt.  Damage to homes and farm buildings occurs from Charleston across the County to Altus and Denning.  Ozark was also hit with a lot of down trees. White Rock Mountain over to Morgan Mountain was heavily impacted.  My special thanks to Chief Billy Atchely and Officer Mark Spain from Charleston for their extra efforts in get the warning message out to the citizens.

As usual, lots of responders, dispatchers and neighbors went above and beyond to help out.  I met several farmers with tractors working to clear roads and highways.  (I have some really neat video of Scott Childers dragging a huge sycamore down Oak Bend Road.) Contractors brought their equipment out to help clear roads and driveways.  Others blocked traffic so folks would not drive into hot power lines. Not many people in Franklin County pass up the opportunity to be a blessing to others during challenging times.

The Altus area has incredible amounts of storm debries. They need folks with chain saws, pickups, etc.   If you would like to help them out, please call the City Hall at 479-468-4191 or Mayor Post at 479-518-1963.  Also, if you need help with cleaning up your yard, give them a call.

Weather Warnings

Again, we can’t say this enough, find a commercial radio and TV station that you have confidence in and be sure to listen to the weather forecast each day. Commercial TV stations have free apps you can add to your phone that will provide up-to-date weather conditions.  Weather Radios (NOAA) are very affordable now and can be programmed to activate only for the area you live in.  Franklin County offers the CodeRed phone app which will send you weather warnings.  It is also used to send other important information (recently we used it to send out a  notice of missing elderly person to subscribers within 2 mile radius of the last known point of  the subject.  Fifty-eight additional persons began to keep an eye out for out missing person!)  To subscribe to this FREE service go to the OEM website <fcoem.org> and click on CodeRed.

Please do not rely only on the tornado sirens.  They were designed and first used during a time period when homes were open, people worked outside, and other methods of alerting did not exist.  They have deficiencies during severe weather, such as:  lightning in the area can interfere with their radio activation process; walls and windows are so well insulated that the alert is not heard in the home; the electricity to them may already be off before they are activated; and others.

SAR Mission

Last Wednesday, we received a call from Turner’s Bend Store reporting an elderly couple stranded in their canoe at Jump Start, which is just inside Johnson County, on the Mulberry River.  We called Johnson County and they requested our assistance.  The Barnes Fire Department and the OEM SAR Team was dispatched to respond to the scene.  Within a few minutes we received a call from Byrd’s Adventure Center that other boaters had rescued the couple. we were able to cancel our response.   Special thanks to these two Outfitters for helping us coordinate the response to this incident and to the boaters who helped out.

TRAINING and EVENTS

AFA Fire Streams–18:00 hrs Fri May 24 and 08:00 hrs Sat May 25 at Watalula FD

Stop-the-Bleed–09:00 hrs to 10:30 hrs Tue May 28  at the Ozark Courthouse (if you want to attend, please call Randy at 479-209-0817)

AFA Fire Behavior–18:00 hrs Mon Jun 3 at Branch FD

AFA Certified Training Officer–18:00 hrs Fri Jun 14 and 08:00 hr Sat Jun 15 at Watalula FD

Don’t forget Saturday Night BINGO at the Cecil Fire Station starting at 18:00 hrs–food, fun, door prizes! Supports a great cause.

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OES Notepad: Winter Skills 2019

By: Fred Mullen

Area Responders Attend SAR Training 

   There is an old saying, probably from the military, “if it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin”.  It refers to our need to be ready to respond in any weather condition.  SAR missions are required any time of the year.  So, we take a weekend in February each year for our  Winter Skills exercise.

    This past Saturday, twenty-six SAR volunteers  participated in this year’s training.  We concentrated on the strategic element know as Patrol and Confinement.  This strategy has three main concentrations: prevent the missing person from traveling further away from his last know point (LKP); detect clues; and, cause the missing person to move in a direction you want them to move.   Tactics included are: lookouts from bluff lines and scenic points; road and trail patrol; light and sound attraction; placing signs on trails; and, others.  We were in the White Rock Mountain area with six targets placed along White Rock Mountain Road and Bliss Ridge Road.  The targets included a camp fire, simulated crashed ultra-light aircraft, pickup truck with a hunter who wandered away from it,  ATV, person yelling for help, and an emergency flare.

     According to FC SAR Team Training Officer Max Miller, “The players did a really great job.  All of the targets were located within about 3 hours.”   Probably the hardest to locate was the person calling for help.  He was simulating a child’s voice and was several yards off the road.  In order to detect him, Patrol units had to stop their vehicles every few minutes, turn off the engine, yell ‘Marco’ and listen for the ‘Polo’ return.  If nothing was heard, they move up the road a bit and try again.

    The training started with a refresher on the tactics used, some practice with map and compass, an orientation to using binoculars and spotting scopes.  After the field work, the Pleasant View FD and SAR Team members provided the group with a feast of home made stew and chili. 

     Attending the exercise were Responders from the Christian Aid Miniseries SAR Team 10 located at Hunt, Crawford Fire District 3 (Locke Station), Franklin County SAR Team,  Johnson County SAR Team, Pleasant View FD, Watalula FD.  Special thanks to the Pleasant View FD for hosting the event at their Fern Fire Station.  Also, thanks to the United States Forest Service and the Concessionaire at White Rock Mountain for their cooperation.

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OES Notepad

By: Fred Mullen

RAILROAD INCIDENT CLASS

       We had a really good class this past Saturday.  Hazmat instructors Justin Hill from Louisiana  and John Hejl from  North Dakota were in Ozark to present 8 hours of training on Rail Car Flammable Liquids Incidents. Topics covered included a brief recent history of rail incidents involving the same kind of chemicals including crude oil, ethanol, etc  that are currently carried through Franklin County.  Pre-planning for this kind of incident was encouraged with an emphasis on multi-agency awareness and cooperation including working closely with Union Pacific Railroad.  Chip Heard, Arkansas Hazardous Materials Manager for Union Pacific, attended the class and made many helpful comments regarding the resources they can provide to us in event of an accident.

Franklin County Responders J.D. Gray, Frank Theising, and Calvin Weatherly look on as instructor Justin Hill, from Baton Rouge LA Fire Department, demonstrates rail tanker car safety features. Saturday’s class was provided by grant funding. (photo by Melissa Francis)

        Multi-agency, multi-discipline training for these events is so important because there will likely need to be road/street closures, evacuation or shelter in place orders given, fire and medical services provided.  There will be a lot of moving parts for the first 20 to 30 minutes of the incident and it will take all  kinds of emergency responders to make it happen.

       The class included some demonstration of how the various valves, switches, etc work on tanker cars (see related photo).  Class attendee, Chris Foreman, Arkansas  Department  of Emergency Management Hazmat Program Manager, complemented us on bring this quality of training to our Responders and also spoke highly of the training facility at Arkansas Tech’s Ozark Campus.  Thirty-four Responders, twenty-one from Franklin County, and five other counties including local government, State of Arkansas and Federal Agencies attended the class. 

The training was provided by a grant from the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) in Pueblo, Colorado. 

UPCOMING TRAINING

Sat Feb 16 at 0800 hrs. SAR Winter Skills Weekend–This is an inter-agency (LEOs, EMS, Fire, SAR, Dispatchers, etc.)  Search and Rescue Training. The Staging are will be at the PV Fire Station in Fern.  There will be a short refresher class on patrol, lookout and attraction tactics, and, the rest of the day will be field work looking for lost persons.  Any Franklin County or area Responder is invited to attend.  There are a few things you need to bring, please call me if you want to attend–479-209-0818.

Thu Feb 28 at 18:30 hrs Franklin County Homeland Security Planning Exercise at Arkansas Tech Student Union. This year’s exercise is named ‘Docs for Dollars’. It is about assessing damage due to an incident (severe weather, hazardous materials, etc) and providing ADEM and FEMA with the correct  documentation so we can  receive the highest reimbursement we are entitled.  All local emergency response agencies along with city clerks, local utility, road/street, schools, etc need to send their ‘paperwork person’.  Mayors, Council Members, and Quorum County members are encouraged to attend. For more info, give me a call at 479-209-0818

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OES Notepad

By Fred Mullen

FIRE BOARD BUSINESS

Fire Service Board elections were held at our January 28 meeting.  Dan Cibik, Branch FD Ast. Chief, was elected to the President’s position.  Dan has been a Responder at Branch Fire Department for 22 years and has served as Assistant Chief for 20 years.  He is also an Arkansas Fire Academy Adjunct serving in that capacity for 15 years. Other officers include Treasurer Frank Theising and Secretary Leona Graham who were both reelected to additional terms.

SEARCH and RESCUE

Franklin and Crawford County Responders were called to Ford Ridge Road on Saturday  evening for a ORV accident. An adult male and female were located and found to have serious injuries that required air evacuation to  trauma center hospitals. FC EMS, Pleasent View Fire, the Sheriff’s Department, and OEM responded  along with Southwest EMS and Mulberry Fire Department form Crawford County.

Later that same evening, the SAR Team was activated to assist the Ozark Police Department for a missing 4 year old male in Ozark.  Fortunately, the child was quickly located in the home’s yard. The Sheriff’s Department and the Ozark Fire Department also responded to this call.  Several neighbors helped with the search.

TRAINING

The slate of classes scheduled to begin Mon Feb 4 and running for for the next  4 months at the Branch Fire Department has hit a snag. Instructor Dan Cibik is having to seek a clarification from the AFA on the certification of the classes.  The AFA may still want advance registration for these classes.  More information about this as it becomes available.

The SERTC Rail Road Fire Class is Sat Feb 9 at the Arkansas Tech Student Center at 0900 hrs.  The Roster has been sent to agency leaders and enrollees should have received a text message notice that they have been accepted.  If you are enrolled and plan to attend, please text confirmation back to me at 479-209-0818.  If you are enrolled and are not able to attend, please let me know so we can open your slot for another Responder.

Storm Spotter Class !  The class has been reschedule for Tue Feb 12 at 18:30 hrs at the Arkansas Tech Collegiate Center.

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Storm Spotter Class RESCHEDULED

 NWS Storm Spotter Class 

When:  Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Time: 06:30 PM

Where: Arkansas Tech–Ozark Campus, Collegiate Auditorium, 1700 Helberg Lane, Ozark, AR 72949

Contact: Rick Covert (479) 209-0680

Prerequisites: None

Other Info: Parking is limited. If possible please park on the main campus and walk across the street (Helberg Lane) to the Collegiate Center.

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Storm Spotter Class (Mon, Jan 28) POSTPONED

The Storm Spotter Training Class for Monday, January 28, 2019 has been POSTPONED. We are looking to re-schedule it and will post that information here on the website.

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OES Notepad

Training is an on-going process with First Responders.  It is the way we become more skilled at our work–fire fighting, caring for the sick and injured, spotting storms, finding lost persons, etc.

In January:

Sat 12 at 8:00 AM ADEM Hazmat Awareness at Ratcliff FD, 105 Wilson Street.  POC is Tobi Miller at 479-747-6648.

Thu 17 at 7:00 PM Medical First Responder Organization Class at Altus City FD.  POC is David Doss at 479-209-1789.

Sat 19 and Sun 20 at 8:00 AM each morning ADEM Hazmat Operations at Ratcliff FD, 105 Wilson Street.  POC is Tobi Miller at 479-747-6648.

Sat 26 at 8:00 AM Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior at Ark Tech in Ozark.  POC is Fred Mullen at 479-209-0818.

(NOTE: This is NOT the Arkansas Forestry Commission Class–this class goes into more detail about weather’s, terrain’s and fuel’s impact on fire behavior.)

Mon 28 at 6:30 PM Tulsa NWS Storm Spotter Class at Ark Tech in Ozark.  POC is Rick Covert at 479-209-0680.

Don’t forget your online training resources:

Texas Extension Service (TEEX)–many free Responder classes at www.teex.org

Comet Courses–many free responder and weather classes at www.meted.ucar.edu

FEMA–www.fema.gov (currently un-supported due to Fed Gov shut-down)

US Fire Academy–www.usfa.fema.gov (currently un-supported due to Fed Gov shut down)

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Fire Board Host Awards Ceremony

By: Fred Mullen

On Saturday evening, the  Franklin County Fire Advisory Board hosted a Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony for all Franklin County responder agencies.  The event was attended by about 150 responders and family members.  A traditional Christmas Dinner was served.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony--Approximately 150 Responders and family members attended the event hosted by the Franklin County Fire Services Advisory Board. All responder agencies and disciplines in the County were invited. Departments with attendees included: Altus FD; Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Barnes FD; Cecil FD; FC EMS; FC OEM; South Ozark/Webb City FD; Pleasant View FD, and, Christian Aid Ministries SAR from Johnson County. (Photo by Melissa Francis)

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony–Approximately 150 Responders and family members attended the event hosted by the Franklin County Fire Services Advisory Board. All responder agencies and disciplines in the County were invited. Departments with attendees included: Altus FD; Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Barnes FD; Cecil FD; FC EMS; FC OEM; South Ozark/Webb City FD; Pleasant View FD, and, Christian Aid Ministries SAR from Johnson County. (Photo by Melissa Francis)

According to Barnes Fire Fighter Sandra McClellen,  Event Committee Member, well over 50 door prizes were given out as well as every child 12 and under received a gift bag.  There was also a special drawing for each of the attending fire departments.  They received equipment or cash donations.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony--Traditional Christmas music was provided by Big-D and Friends (L to R) David Doss, Sandra McCellen, David Bowles, Sr. and David Bowles, Jr. (Photo by Melissa Francis)

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony–Traditional Christmas music was provided by Big-D and Friends (L to R) David Doss, Sandra McCellen, David Bowles, Sr. and David Bowles, Jr. (Photo by Melissa Francis)

Fred Mullen, OEM Coordinator, said, “Our special thanks to members of the committee: Sandra McClellan, Dan Cybik, Susan Kinsworthy and Lenona Graham.  They did an outstanding job on this event.  Board Treasury Frank Theising and OEM Sr. Deputy Coordinator Melissa also contributed greatly to the success of the evening”  The event was funded with donations.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony--Shown here are members of the Pleasant View Fire Department who were recognized for various achievements (L to r) Sean Mahan, Service Award; Art McElhaney, promotion to Captain; Max Miller, Service Award; Frank Theising, Training Officer; Rodney Cline, Team Mate of the Year Award; Dylan Covert, promotion to Lieutenant and Fire Fighter of the Year Award; and, Chief Ruby Robinson.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony–Shown here are members of the Pleasant View Fire Department who were recognized for various achievements (L to r) Sean Mahan, Service Award; Art McElhaney, promotion to Captain; Max Miller, Service Award; Frank Theising, Training Officer; Rodney Cline, Team Mate of the Year Award; Dylan Covert, promotion to Lieutenant and Fire Fighter of the Year Award; and, Chief Ruby Robinson.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony--Watalula Fire Fighters are recognized with Years in Service Awards, (L to R) Don and Shirley Gresham, 20 Years; Judy and Tom Jones, 20 Years; Chief Frank Thiesing; Terri Dickerson, 15 Years; Randy Dickerson, 26 Years; Billy and Barbara Schaffer, 28 Years.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony–Watalula Fire Fighters are recognized with Years in Service Awards, (L to R) Don and Shirley Gresham, 20 Years; Judy and Tom Jones, 20 Years; Chief Frank Thiesing; Terri Dickerson, 15 Years; Randy Dickerson, 26 Years; Billy and Barbara Schaffer, 28 Years.

David Sutter presents Maxwell Miller with the SAR Volunteer of the Year Award

David Sutter presents Maxwell Miller with the SAR Volunteer of the Year Award

Judge Rickey Bowman was the key note speaker.  Music was provided by David Bowles and Friends .  There will be pictures of the award winners in this week’s and next week’s  paper .  Also, please find an advertisement in the paper with a list of the sponsors who made the evening possible.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony--Judge Rickey Bowman was the Keynote Speaker for the event. He spoke of his appreciation of our responders and illustrated it by sharing a heart warming story regarding his Father's illness and the response by Fire Medical Responders and EMS to assist his family. He thanked the responders and their families for all the time and effort they give to make Franklin County a safer place to live.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony–Judge Rickey Bowman was the Keynote Speaker for the event. He spoke of his appreciation of our responders and illustrated it by sharing a heart warming story regarding his Father’s illness and the response by Fire Medical Responders and EMS to assist his family. He thanked the responders and their families for all the time and effort they give to make Franklin County a safer place to live.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony--Fred Mullen, OEM/FS Coordinator presents David Bowles,Jr, Chief of Barnes Fire Department, with Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of his service as President of the Board.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony–Fred Mullen, OEM/FS Coordinator presents David Bowles,Jr, Chief of Barnes Fire Department, with Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of his service as President of the Board.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony--FC SAR Team Leader David Sutter presents Vernon Hofstedler, Team Leader of 'Christian Aid Minsteries SAR Team 10' with a Certificate of Recognition as 2018 Mutual Aid Partner of the Year. Team 10 is affiliated with the Amish/Mennonite Church located near Hunt in Johnson County. Some past recipients of this award have included: Ozark FD; Mulberry FD; St. Paul FD, and, the Crawford County SAR Team.

FCFSAB Christmas Dinner and Awards Ceremony–FC SAR Team Leader David Sutter presents Vernon Hofstedler, Team Leader of ‘Christian Aid Minsteries SAR Team 10’ with a Certificate of Recognition as 2018 Mutual Aid Partner of the Year. Team 10 is affiliated with the Amish/Mennonite Church located near Hunt in Johnson County. Some past recipients of this award have included: Ozark FD; Mulberry FD; St. Paul FD, and, the Crawford County SAR Team.

The Fire Board would like to thank the following for contributions to our Dinner and Awards Ceremony.  Plese give them a thank you when you see them or visit there place of business.

*Bill’s Wrecker      *Black Hills     * Branch FD      * Buzy Bee       *Byrd’s Adventure Center        *Coffee Break   *Dan Cybik       *Dave Sutter     *David Bowles Sr.

* Del Sol  Mexican Restaurant     *Down South Trends      *El Puerto Mexican Restaurant      *EVS Fire Supply    * FC EMS     * Foy Eddings    * Fred Mullen     * Frank Theising

*Ken’s Towing       *Main Street BarBQ     *Mediquik Pharmacy      *NAPA           * PVFD      *Post Winery  *Roma Italian Restaurant   * Sandra McClellan   *SO/WC FD  Southern Grill      *Turner’s Bend    *Village Pharmacy    *Watalula FD Aux    *Work Safe

The dinner was catered by the Roasting Redhead

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OES Notepad

By Fred Mullen

WILDLAND FIRE STUFF

     Last year, Melissa and I presented via webinar a paper to the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program about combining forecast and observations from various state and national organizations with our local observations to help develop a wildland fire mitigation program for Franklin County.  The material was very well received and we have since improved it some more.  We are proud to say that we have been invited to present a portion of the materials to the Fifth Annual National Weather Service Integrated Warning Team Workshop in Conway on January 15.
     The program is designed to provide local responders and dispatchers with a comprehensive look at day to day wildfire conditions during times of escalating fire danger and high fire danger days.  We put the materials out on our web-page, text message and email responders, and, make announcements on the Fire Radio Channels.  We also use it as a basis for news releases to local media.
       Weather, fuel conditions, fire locations, department staffing and equipment availability  all go into the mix.  We use the material to make decisions about when to call for mutual aid, how to attack the fire the best way to protect values (homes, barns, farm equipment, width and nature of control lines, etc)  We are deeply grateful to all who have contributed to the project including our local Firefighters, Dispatchers, and, Forestry professionals.
SAR STUFF
The search and rescue team meets on the 3rd Thursday evening of each month.  Part of our regular meeting is to recap the previous months missions.  Between the October and November meeting, we answered seven calls for service.
   They ranged from just about 20 minutes where Team Leader Dave Sutter assisted a family by phone. The family was looking for an overdue hunter.  Dave was able to describe to them road system were the person went missing.  Dave was assisted by OEM Senior Deputy Coordinator Melissa Francis who provided the parties with electronic maps of the area.  The family was quickly able to locate their loved one.  Another overdue hunter was located by an investigative search led by  the Sheriff’s Department Deputy Travis Ball  who was assisted by the SAR team. This search  took about 2 hours to complete.
    The longest search we have had in Franklin County since we started our team in 2002 was in August of 2012.  A lady from Missouri traveled through Kansas and Oklahoma ending up in the Ozark National Forest near White Rock Mountain.  The search lasted 39 hours.  She was found alive.
     A special thank you to team members Dave, Max, Todd, Leon, Frank who spent a cold and wet Sunday afternoon in the field updating our pre-plan for Devil’s Canyon.
TRAINING/MEETING STUFF
*Thursday December 6 at 1800 hrs AFA Communications--call Frank at 573-821-5570 for more information.
*Monday January 7 at 1730 hrs AFC FireWise Meeting–call Frank at 573-821-5570 for more information.
*Saturday January 26 at 0800 hrs NWCG  S-190 Intro to Wildland Fire Behavior–call Fred at 479-209-0818 for more information.
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OES Notepad

By Fred Mullen

The past couple of weeks we have been busy with some of the unpleasant stuff for responders–vehicle accidents.  When it rains,  it tends to create the perfect environment for wrecks. As you travel  for work or  pleasure, please  remember to take extra care when it is raining.

Sunday morning our Dispatch Center received a call from a woman who was receiving text messages from her husband’s friend saying that they had a off road vehicle accident on  the Mill Creek Trail System.  Pettigrew Fire Department (Madison County), Barnes Fire Department, Franklin County EMS and SAR responded to the scene.  The injured man was assisted to the trail head and taken by family vehicle to a hospital with minor injuries.

Citizens should always beware, severe weather can strike in Franklin County at any time.  You and your family need multiple ways to stay aware of the situation and receive emergency warnings.  Here are some things you can do to help your family and place of work to be Weather Wise: 1) Listen to the daily weather forecast on commercial radio or TV. 2) Purchase and use a NOAA tone activated weather radio 3) Sign up for a weather warning app on your smart phone.  Franklin County residents can use CodeRed for free.  For more information check  our web site at www.fcoem.org

Franklin County Responders attend AFC Open House

Shown here are a few of the Franklin County Responders who attended the Arkansas Forestry Commission Open House at Greenbrier this past Saturday. From L to R, Joe Fox, Ark Forestry Commission Director; Fred Mullen, OEM Coordinator; Chief Eugene Wilson, Branch Fire Department; Chief Ruby Robinson, PV Fire Department; Mayor Gerald Harris, City of Branch; Dylan Covert, FC Emergency Responder; Chief Frank Theising, Watalula Fire Department; and, Bill James, Arkansas Forestry Commission Instructor.

Several Franklin County Fire Fighters attended the Arkansas Forestry Commission open house on Saturday in Greenbrier.  There were over 30 vendor and education booths.  We learned some stuff that will help us make Franklin County a safer place to live, work and visit. See related photo in this edition.

Had a great time at the Barnes Fire Department Chile Supper.  Those folks put on a great meal with outstanding music and fellowship.  Remember, Saturday night is Bingo Night at Cecil Fire Department–it’s super fun!

RESPONDER TRAINING–Mon Nov 5 at 1800 hrs AFA Scene Lightning Class at Watalula Fire Department.  Thu Dec 6 at 1800 hrs AFA Communications Class at Watalula Fire Department. Mon Jan 7, 2019 at 1730 hrs AFC Firewise Orientation Meeting at Watalula Fire Department.  For more info on these two classes and 1 meeting call Frank at 573-821-5570.  Sat Jan 26 at 0800 hrs NWCG S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior at Arkansas Tech campus (8 hours Act 833 Credit). For more info on this class call Fred at 479-209-0818.

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