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  • Last modified 147 days ago (April 25, 2019)

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Task force earns recognition

But paying for radios remains a problem for wildland firefighters

Staff writer

Marion County’s Wildland Task Force is gaining statewide attention, but paying for their radios remains problematic.

Wildland Task Force was deployed to Ulysses April 9 when the fire risk for the far-southwest Kansas area was extreme, Lincolnville fire chief Les Kaiser told county commissioners Monday.

Goessel assistant fire chief Matt Voth said rural fire departments are still working on funding for 800 MHz radios department were required to buy more than a year ago.

Besides the cost of the radios, service in the northeast portion of the county remains sketchy despite fire chiefs in that area trying repeatedly to get the problem addressed.

Kaiser said state task force members were on an emergency management channel while they were at Ulysses.

“It worked perfectly, we had no problems whatsoever,” Kaiser said.

“It kind of shows you how much service you don’t have in the northern portion of the county,” Voth said.

The group’s performance and accomplishment in coming together as a team of firefighters from eight of the county’s 11 fire departments has been

recognized by the governor’s office, Kansas Forest Service, Kansas State University, and the publishers of Mitigation Fireline News.

“The training we’ve taken has really, really paid off,” Goessel chief Matt Voth told county commissioners.

“All of us chiefs have striven to create a culture in our departments where the most modern and safest standardized procedures are followed and more training is always encouraged,” he said. “This is paying dividends in minimalizing loss to residents and our departments are getting much better at working with each other because we are all having similar training.”

Kaiser gave commissioners a letter that needed to be signed before he could submit it to the Walmart Foundation for consideration for a grant to help pay for radios.

With county fire departments working better with each other, the chiefs hope for fire departments to work better with other emergency responders.

“The County Fire Chiefs Association will be proposing to the Sheriff’s Office, the emergency medical services director, and city police the formation of a working group where each entity can have input on new and existing emergency policy based on new and current training standards,” Voth said. “Harvey County has such a working group that we will try to model off of.”

Last modified April 25, 2019

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