Team Archives - Central County Fire & Rescue

Two Promotions and New Firefighter/Paramedic Announced

Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) has promoted two team members and added a firefighter/paramedic to its ranks.

Eric Braatz, who has served the District since 1995, was promoted to the rank of captain of the B-shift at CCFR Fire Station #6 on Jungs Station Rd., after serving as an engineer for the past four years. Braatz is state-certified fire investigator and a licensed paramedic. He also possesses certifications in haz-mat operations and in rope rescue, as well as being qualified as a boat operator.

As a captain, he will be responsible for leading a three to four person engine company and serving as an incident commander in emergency situations. He will also coordinate, oversee and recommend training programs for his crew.

Jason Meinershagen, who has served the district since 1998, was promoted to the rank of engineer at CCFR Fire Station #1, on the western side of the District. He will work with the B-shift. Meinershagen previously served the St. Peters community as a firefighter/EMT. He is an active member of St. Louis Regional Urban Search and Rescue Team #1, and possesses technician-level qualifications in confined space, haz-mat, rope, structural collapse, swift water and trench rescue. He is also qualified as a boat operator.

In this new role, Meinershagen will be responsible for driving and operating the fire truck during emergency situations.

“We are thrilled to make these promotions to two incredibly deserving members of the team,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown says. “Eric and Jason have both dedicated more than two decades of their lives in service to the St. Peters community, and we’re honored they’ve chosen to make their careers with us here at CCFR.”

CCFR has also hired a new firefighter/paramedic to join its ranks. Robert Prest, a graduate of St. Charles West High School, has worked for the St. Louis City Fire Department since October 2016. Prest holds a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Lindenwood University and a master’s degree in health care administration from Lindenwood University. He started with the District in April on the C-shift. There are now 26 paramedic/firefighters on the CCFR team.

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.”