Support, Author at Central County Fire & Rescue

We’re Ready For Spring Flooding — Are You?

A foot of water traveling 2 mph is all it takes to sweep away a large SUV, pickup truck or car.

Flash flooding is common in many areas of our community, so it is important to remember to avoid water-covered roads, and to never drive around a “road closed” barrier.

Within CCFR’s boundaries, there are two rivers, as well as countless creeks, lakes and ponds, including nearly 12 miles of the Dardenne Blueway, a recreational waterway for kayakers. CCFR crews are ready to respond to water and ice emergencies in any of these bodies of water.

Over the past five years, the District has increased its ability to provide life-saving assistance in water emergencies, with nearly half of CCFR’s professional firefighters now trained in swift water rescue and operations. These crew members are all capable of safely rescuing victims utilizing the District’s two boats, which are housed at Fire Station #5, the station closest to the Mississippi River.

The boats are considered one rescue unit, always traveling together on a specialized trailer that also carries equipment for water and ice rescue operations including 25 personal flotation devices and 15 dry rescue suits. To ensure the safety of victims and first responders, both boats are often together in the water for a rescue.

The 16-foot flat bottom aluminum boat can handle the swift currents often found in rivers and can transport up to six people. It can also be connected to other boats if needed.

The light and easily maneuverable inflatable boat was designed specifically for search and rescue operations in many of the smaller waterways protected by CCFR. It is light enough that just two rescuers can carry it if the need arises.

“This is extremely beneficial during flooding events, where the depth of the water can vary drastically and require the boat to be lifted over or carried short distances,” Deputy Chief Jason Meinershagen says.

The boat can also remain stable in fast-moving water and be launched directly from the banks of the waterway.

These boats also allow CCFR crews to reach victims who are stranded in areas inaccessible by roads during flooding, and to provide mutual aid assistance to neighboring departments near the 10 miles of the Missouri River and 18 miles of the Mississippi River that pass through the District.

Top 5 Weather Safety Tips

  1. Never enter a water-covered roadway!
  2. If you hear tornado sirens, take cover in a basement or windowless room.
  3. Stay tuned to the local news during spring storms.
  4. Keep your phone charged when bad weather is expected.
  5. Stay away from floodwaters.

Working Together, Keeping You Safe

Wishing You a Happy, Hazard-Free Holiday Season

Home fires can happen at any time, but they generally increase during the fall and winter, with December and January being the peak months. That’s no surprise, with many of us decking our halls with Christmas trees, twinkle lights and holiday candles — decorations that can bring great joy to family and friends, they can also create a greater risk for fire. 

Continue reading “Wishing You a Happy, Hazard-Free Holiday Season”

Watch More Than A Firefighter

More Than A Firefighter is a series of video stories to give you an inside look at life as a CCFR professional firefighter/paramedic. It’s our hope in sharing them that you get to know us a little better and learn what drives each of us to work together to keep our community safe. Click here to watch.

CCFR Firefighters Provide Mental Health Assistance To Community Members Following Traumatic Experiences

When neighbors and a passerby rescued two residents from a burning home in June, firefighters with Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) recognized that the experience had the potential to leave these civilian heroes scarred and possibly suffering from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress (PTS). In the days following the fire, CCFR firefighters brainstormed how to help these residents recognize potential PTS and begin the healing process, and the Community Crisis Assistance Program (CCAP) was born.

Continue reading “CCFR Firefighters Provide Mental Health Assistance To Community Members Following Traumatic Experiences”

2020 Local Fireworks Regulations

Fireworks

 

Like many things, fireworks are going to look a little different this July 4. With 72-square miles in our Fire District, we serve numerous communities here in St. Charles County, and each municipality has established fireworks regulations. Take a look below for the regulations where you live. If you do decide to set off fireworks at home, please be careful, and keep them away from children and pets. Remember, we’re only a 911 call away if you need help.

Local Fireworks Regulations

City of St. Peters

It is illegal to shoot off fireworks, unless you’re operating a professional display approved through a permit. The sale of fireworks within City limits is also prohibited.
Details available here.

City of St. Charles

You are allowed to purchase fireworks within the City of St. Charles and certain fireworks can be set off from noon until 11 p.m. on July 3 and 4. The City of St. Charles does have a professional fireworks display scheduled along the riverfront at 9:20 p.m. on July 4.
Details available here.

City of O’Fallon

The sale of fireworks is allowed in the City of O’Fallon until July 6. You can discharge them July 3 and 4 from noon until 11 p.m.
Details available here. 

Unincorporated St. Charles County

Fireworks can be sold in Unincorporated St. Charles County until July 6. They may be used from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. July 2-5.
Details available here. 

St. Peters Neighbors Rescue Man From Burning Home

At around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, Central County Fire & Rescue was called to a house fire on Westwinds Dr. in the Fourwinds subdivision in St. Peters near Interstate 70.

Neighbors noticed thick black smoke and flames shooting from the home and called 911. Three of these neighbors jumped into action and helped two residents of the home escape the burning house. One of the residents suffered severe burns, and was transported to a hospital. The family’s dog was found safe in the backyard of the home by CCFR firefighters.

“Unfortunately, our response to the home was delayed by a gridlock of nearly 100 vehicles that had slowed down or stopped on the roadways to look at the smoke that could be seen for miles. We are reminding all of our residents, if you see an emergency vehicle, please move to the right as quickly as possibly. It can make a life saving difference,” said CCFR Deputy Chief and Public Information Officer Jason Meinershagen.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The home and two vehicles were completely destroyed. CCFR was assisted by the O’Fallon Fire Protection District, St. Charles County Police Department, St. Charles County Ambulance District and the Central County Community Assistance Program.

“Situations like these are also an excellent reminder of the importance of working smoke alarms. When working, these simple devices can give you and your family the time you need to safely escape a house fire,” says Meinershagen.

Visit our Instagram or Facebook pages for photos and videos of the fire and response.

2019 Annual Report

2019 Annual Report Cover ImageWith great growth comes great opportunity. As the needs of our community evolve, Central County Fire & Rescue is excited to evolve, too, in order to best serve our residents and meet their biggest safety needs.

2019 was a record-setting year for Central County Fire & Rescue. Our crews responded to 6,611 emergency calls — an all-time high — while the number of medical emergency calls continues to rise.

CCFR has worked tirelessly to hire and train crew members so that we are equipped to keep up with this growing need in the most efficient manner. In early 2019, the District welcomed four new firefighter/paramedics to its ranks. As of this writing, 33% of CCFR’s suppression team are now licensed paramedics, the remaining are EMTs. Meanwhile, CCFR also set a goal of training every firefighter to drive and operate the District’s pumper, aerial and brush trucks. Seven new drivers were certified in 2019, which resulted in 96% of all fire suppression employees being certified to operate the District’s apparatuses.

Our team of investigators also continues to grow. These 19 CCFR investigators were able to determine the cause of more fires than last year, and discovered that 29 fires were intentionally started, up from 16 in 2018.

2019 brought with it a growing business community in our area. New commercial spaces including Amazon, FedEx and others moved into our community, and the CCFR Community Risk Reduction team worked to ensure these structures and occupancies are operated safely. This process also includes making sure structures are safe, with the appropriate number of fire hydrants, adequate water supply and adequate access for emergency vehicles.

CCFR continues to implement the community-created SAFE-T (Securing A Future of Excellence—Together) plan:

  • Opened new Fire Station #5.
  • Put two new multipurpose, all-terrain brush trucks into service.
  • Completed training and began using bailout kits, which allow CCFR firefighters to swiftly escape a building if they become trapped.
  • Put new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) into service, which replaced ones that were 15 years old. The new technology in these devices provide better communication, improved safety and forward-looking infrared technology.

A portion of the SAFE-T plan also focused on working to ensure financial stability, which included building a reserve that could sustain CCFR operations for six months. Through strong fiscal management, the District reached this goal in 2019 while also reducing the general revenue tax rate by 5.5%.

Thank you for your continued support of Central County Fire & Rescue. As the role of the fire service continues to evolve, we remain steadfastly committed to working with the community and providing the highest quality emergency services to keep our entire community safe. We encourage you to visit our website (centralcountyfire.org) and follow along on social media to learn more about our fire prevention resources and community programs, and to reach out if there’s ever anything we can do for you!

View the full 2019 Annual Report here