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.


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.

Water Strike Team

breaking news graphicStrike Team on Standby For Fires During Water Line Break Situation.

Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) has the ability to respond to fires during the water main break situation in the cities of St. Charles and St. Peters.

The water main break has caused water pressure and water supply levels to be critically low for the fire district, along with the cities of St. Peters and St. Charles. Because of this situation, there is a water tanker strike team on standby for fire emergencies.

“If there is a first alarm fire in the District, the five closest CCFR fire trucks and water tankers from Rivers Point, Orchard Farm, Old Monroe, Wentzville and O’Fallon will respond to the incident,” says Mason.

These five trucks combined will provide an additional 14,000 gallons of water, which will allow the District to effectively handle most situations. If more help is needed, mutual aid assistance from other surrounding fire districts is available.

Instructor of the Year

CCFR Firefighter Eric Braatz named St. Charles County Fire Academy Instructor of the Year.

Braatz is the lead SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) instructor, and assists with live fire training at the Academy. He has volunteered as an instructor for the past 13 years.

“When I teach, I do my best to instill in the students that the core responsibility of a firefighter is to serve our community, and that this should come before anything else,” Braatz says.  “This is the best job in the world, and I hope these student leave the academy ready to offer the highest level of service to their communities.”

“Firefighter Braatz has a passion for excellence and he continually goes above and beyond the call of duty. We are fortunate to have him training our future emergency responders,” says CCFR Chief Russ Mason.

Braatz is an 18-year veteran of CCFR, and typically works from Fire Station #3 on Willott Rd. Mel Henge from the O’Fallon Fire Protection District also received an Instructor of the Year award this year.

The St. Charles County Fire Academy is a joint effort of St. Charles area fire departments. Each year, 26 students train three evenings a week, and Saturdays from January through July to become certified firefighters. Students study a variety of topics taught by volunteer instructors from the different departments.