Recent CCFR Promotions

We’ve been busy celebrating four recent promotions at Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR).

Engineers Brad Day and Allan Gacki

In this new role, Brad Day and Allan Gacki are responsible for driving and operating the fire truck during emergency situations.

Captains Don Shaffer and Jake Taylor

As captains, Don Shaffer and Jake Taylor are responsible for leading a three to four person engine company and serving as an incident commander in emergency situations. They also coordinates, oversees and recommends training programs for his crew.

Congratulations to you all on these much-deserved promotions, and thank you for all you do for CCFR and the community!

Learn more about our CCFR team here.

Assistant Fire Chief To Retire After 51 Years of Service

May 13. It is a day that Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Assistant Chief Brian Ochs will never forget. Nearly 50 years ago, on May 13, 1969, two St. Charles Township Volunteer firefighters were tragically killed in a fire truck accident. On May 13, 2018, Ochs will honor these friends as he hangs up his gear one final time and retires from the fire service.

“I was supposed to be on that call in 1969, but I wasn’t. I have carried memories of that night with me for nearly 50 years, and it has guided me to make safety the top priority no matter what. Everyone needs to go home after every call,” says Ochs.

If you ask Ochs about his biggest accomplishment as an Assistant Chief, he replies with a simple statement, “Everybody went home,” he says.

“Brian has made an immeasurable impact on our community and our fire district. All of us here at Central County have learned so much from him and his experience in the fire service. We are going to miss having him here,” says CCFR Chief Dan Aubuchon.

When Ochs first joined the fire service as a volunteer in 1967, there were less than 100,000 residents in St. Charles County, and there was more farmland than neighborhoods and commercial development. He has seen the community and the fire service change dramatically over 51 years.

“The biggest single change I have seen is in how we communicate. We used to have a pager that told you where to go. Now, we have access to so much information before we even arrive on the scene, and we have the details we need to respond faster and more efficiently,” he says. “The training required and equipment we have access to has also changed dramatically.”

As the Assistant Chief of Operations Ochs is responsible for the daily and long-term management and staffing of suppression personnel. He is also responsible for buildings, apparatus and firefighting equipment and responds to all first alarm or special alarms within the fire district.

Born and raised in St. Charles, Ochs joined St. Charles Fire Protection District (SCFPD) as a junior firefighter in 1967. Before becoming Chief of SCFPD in 1990, he served as a police officer in St. Charles County as well as volunteer Chief of SCFPD. In 1998, after the consolidation of St. Charles Fire Protection District and St. Peters Fire Protection District, he became an Assistant Chief for Central County Fire and Rescue.

“You can’t do something for 51 years and just walk away. I’m going to miss all of it, but it’s time for someone else to have a chance to lead,” he says.

Ochs will be honored at a retirement luncheon on Friday, May 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at CCFR Fire Station #1, 1 Timberbrook Dr., St. Peters, MO 63376.

Captain Doug Raines Recognized as one of the 2017 Beyond the Best

Beyond the Best 2017

How can I help? For more than 20 years Captain Doug Raines has asked that question and made a lasting impact on our community. In October 2017 he was honored for his efforts, being named one of the 2017 Beyond the Best, which recognizes 50 top local business and community members.

Raines’ ongoing commitment to the community goes beyond being an emergency responder. Nearly 20 years ago he established the first Child Safety Seat Program in St. Charles County through CCFR. This program eventually transformed into the St. Charles County Safe-Kids Coalition. He took the initiative to apply for and receive multiple grants that enabled the purchase and distribution of free child safety seats and bike helmets throughout the community. The coalition continued to grow taking in Lincoln and Warren counties.

In 2000, he initiated the annual effort to adopt a local family for the holidays providing food, gifts and other necessities that were needed. Not only did he raise the funds, but also personally shopped and prepared the items for delivery to each of the families. After many years of his effort, the program eventually evolved into the Central County Community Outreach Program, which has gone on to raise money and provide support to community organizations and local residents in need.

In 2012, after a CCFR firefighter was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the young age of 28, he began working with the local MS society to help find a cure. The first step was a 24-hour walk-a-thon in front of the fire station #1 that raised more than $26,000. In 2015, he was named the St. Charles Walk Coordinator for the St. Louis MS Society hosting the annual MS Walk at Ft. Zumwalt East High School.

Most recently, he built a partnership with the St. Charles County Library District to become a sight for the Little Library Program. He built and installed the Little Library at CCFR Station #3 on Willott Road in St. Peters.

Outside of organizing fundraising events and developing safety programs, Raines has often been seen helping out with random acts of kindness – proving groceries for those in need, helping stranded motorists or lending a hand to someone in need.

“Doug never looks for acknowledgment but is quick to praise and honor others for their efforts. His constant desire to help those in need has been the benchmark within the CCFR family for which we strive to achieve each and every day,” says Chief Dan Aubuchon.

Meet the Inspectors

Fire Inspectors

Fire inspectors play a crucial role in protecting both people and property from potentially catastrophic fires. At Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR), newly promoted inspectors Brian Butts and Pete Jordan work tirelessly in the field to search for fire hazards in the St. Peters community.

A day in the life of a CCFR fire inspector includes examining public buildings to ensure that local, state and federal fire codes are being met. They also perform annual safety inspections, test equipment and oversee fire drills at local schools, among other things.

“Our main goal is for everyone to be safe,” Jordan says. “Providing our residents with the tools they need for fire prevention — through inspections, permits and community education — is one of the district’s most important roles.”

Butts agrees.

“Firefighting is reactive, but inspectors are more of a proactive way of keeping our citizens safe,” Butts says. “I find that inspections can be a good reminder to our businesses of the safe practices we should be doing to prevent fires and accidents.”

Both Butts and Jordan say their experience as firefighters in the district — Butts since 1986 and Jordan since 1999 — give them insight into the worst types of emergencies and accidents CCFR’s crews respond to, and which ones might have been avoided with a greater focus on fire prevention.

Fire inspectors follow a nationally recognized code and while many of the items they look for may seem like common sense, they are often things that are easy for someone to overlook when they’re busy running a business.

“The biggest misconception I feel is that businesses sometimes feel safety inspections are an intrusion,” Butts says, adding that an inspector’s role is to ensure safety in public places where people are at the mercy of the building’s owner. “The codes we follow were all developed unfortunately as a result of a catastrophic loss of life or property. Our job is prevent such a loss from happening in our community.”

After all, St. Peters isn’t just where they work.

“I have seen this area grow up from gravel roads and have been fortunate enough to see most of this area being built,” Butts says “Having a sense of its history and being part of this community for such a long time, it is home.”

Promotions & Retirements

There are three new captains, one new inspector, one new engineer and three new firefighter-paramedics at CCFR.

The promotions fill positions that were left open following retirements over the last year, three of which happened this summer.

Inspectors Keith Hargrove and Ginger Alcorn, and Administrative Assistant Darlene Clayton recently retired. Hargrove was with CCFR for 34 years; Clayton served for 17 years, and Alcorn was with the District for 12 years.

Captain Jim Densmore, who has been with CCFR for 21 years, was promoted to inspector.  In this role, he will perform fire inspections, conduct plan reviews and assist with fire investigations.

Firefighter Ray Hemenway, who has served for 25 years, and Engineers Tim Mosher and Eric Graham, who have both been with the District for 18 years, were promoted to Captain. They will each lead a three to four person engine company and serve as incident commanders in emergency situations. They will also coordinate, oversee and recommend training for their companies.

In addition to holding their State Firefighter I and II certifications, the new captains also all hold their State Fire Office I certification. Captain Mosher has a Fire Officer II certification and is a licensed EMT and Hazardous Materials Technician. Captain Graham holds an Associates Degree in Applied Science from East Central College and is a licensed EMT-Paramedic. He is a member of the technical rescue team and a fire academy instructor who has his Fire Service Instructor and Incident Safety Officer certifications. He has served as an acting captain since 2002.

Firefighter Dennis Murray, who has been with CCFR for 19 years, was promoted to Engineer. In this role, he is responsible for driving and operating the fire truck during emergency situations.

“We are fortunate to have a strong group of leaders within CCFR. These individuals are going to be a great asset to our team and will be positive leaders for our next generation of firefighters,” Chief Dan Aubuchon says.

Three new firefighter paramedics were hired to fill the vacancies from these promotions. Austin Wuertz, Mike Hollingsworth, and Spencer Garrett all started with the District on July 1.

“Our community is changing, and there is a need for our first responders to have additional medical training, which is why all of our new hires will be certified paramedics in addition to trained firefighters. Our three newest firefighters have the background and skills to provide a range of high-quality emergency services to our residents,” Aubuchon says.

Meet Jeremy Loehrer

Jeremy LoehereJeremy Loehrer, a firefighter and a twin, was raised around the firehouse and always wanted to be a firefighter. He wants to uphold the honor that comes with the job his father held throughout his childhood.

When asked to describe his typical day, Jeremy says he arrives at 6:30 am. Then he checks his equipment along with the other equipment on the truck. After that, he logs onto the computer and checks his emails to see what’s going on in the department. Next he does housekeeping or other maintenance around the firehouse that needs to be done. Jeremy does all of this, of course, with a close ear on the tones as he waits for that next call.

Jeremy notes that most people don’t realize firefighters work a 48-hour shift. His favorite things about his job are the positive outcomes from helping patients and the general public.

Outside of work, Jeremy likes to hunt, fish and golf. “I mostly just like to be outside,” he says.

Honoring Retirees

Firefighters With A Combined 140 Years Of Experience Honored At Retirement Ceremony

On Saturday, March 7 more than 100 firefighters, family and community members gathered together to honor five dedicated Central County Fire & Rescue firefighters as they celebrated their retirement.

The retirees were:

• Captain Bob Black, 35-years of service
• Engineer Terry Black, 33-years of service
• Engineer Ron Meier, 23-years of service
• Assistant Chief Dan Rigdon, 19-years of service
• Battalion Chief Mark Runge, 30-years of service

During their service, this group of dedicated fire service professionals witnessed countless changes in the fire service and helped to guide the District as it grew to serve more than 90,000 residents.

“When they started, emergency response looked very different with several of them beginning their careers as volunteers. Through the years their role grew to full-time emergency response leaders, who were ready to handle the demands of an expanding urban environment,” explains CCFR Chief Russ Mason.

“They are also responsible for helping grow CCFR into a leading fire district by developing innovative training opportunities, creating community involvement programs like the Citizen Fire Academy and building Central County’s Community Outreach program. They will be greatly missed” says Mason.

The District is currently working to fill the positions left open by these retirements.

Click here to view more photos of the ceremony on our Facebook page.

Naloxone

Central County Fire & Rescue One of First in the Area to Carry and Administer Naloxone (Narcan®) To Reverse Heroin and Other Opioid Overdoses.

To combat the increase of heroin and other opioid drug overdoes, Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) will carry Naloxone on all of its fire trucks. Naloxone, also known as Narcan®, is a prescription medication that can save the life of someone who has overdosed by reversing the effects of heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, methadone and other opioid-based medications.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) drug overdoses cause more deaths than car crashes every year, and the rate of overdoses has more than doubled from 1999 through 2013. In the past month alone, the St. Charles County Ambulance District has administered 36 doses of Naloxone.

“When a person overdoses it causes them to stop breathing, the Naloxone almost immediately reverses this, and can save a life,” explains CCFR Chief Russ Mason. “With the increase in overdoses this is an important medication to have available to our residents.”

CCFR will be one of the first fire districts in the area to carry the intranasal Naloxone spray on all of its fire trucks. Naloxone for nasal use is given with a foam tip (nebulizer, adapter, or atomizer) that is put on a syringe, then placed into the nostril. Naloxone typically works within two to five minutes. CCFR has also replaced its manual suction devices with electronic suction units to help aid the reversal of an overdose from aspiration. All CCFR firefighters are certified EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), and can respond to life-threatening medical emergencies such as an overdose.

“In situations such as these, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. There are times when we can get there before the ambulance and begin provide life-saving medical treatment,” explains Chief Mason.

Naloxone typically wears off in 30-90 minutes and the person can stop breathing again unless more Naloxone is available. For this reason, it is important for the patient to be transported to the hospital after the overdose occurs.

All CCFR firefighter/EMTs are currently being trained on the proper use of Naloxone, and it will be available on all of the trucks as soon as that has been completed.