ISSUES 2018 05/20/18

Steve McIntosh
Thursday, May 17th

Wichita Fire Chief Tammy Snow discusses department operations, employment and training, new fireworks ordinance


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is issues 2018 and Steve Macintosh and I guess is Wichita. Fighter chief Tammy snow welcome to issues when he eighteen chief. Well thank you very much for having me this morning when was your appointment as I was actually appointed in and that that. In November. 27 tee and and I believe the correct it was number seventeen didn't you serve as interim for a while yes I did I served as incense July of Tony seventeen. Well you know I've been looking it to web page in different things and it did tense here doesn't have it doesn't have Tammy Stewart has Elizabeth's ago. So which which you record me be addressed here at. It doesn't matter say this story behind that my official name is Elizabeth actor and and my mother named me after my two grandmothers. I was the first one in my family. When I was born my damn my dad wanted to Naimi Emery. And so when I was born they can never decide my dad stepped out to get a couple copies. And the doctor walked in rademan by the with the birth certificate says she naming Elizabeth Katherine. And my dad is only team ever since our Cuba they get that optimize the cruel hoax on none donated. Listen to background a little bit doesn't it and where you from actually from here in town now I'm not my a father was in the this service in the military and so we moved around about every year and a half in two years. We call home back east in Pennsylvania because that's where my parents on count his or from a small burrow back in Pennsylvania. But I've lived just about and the cross United States and about every single state in the United States. And so my dad retired here and a app from McConnell air force base and so I've stayed here. You know that I hear that a lot over the years people. Doing that and and reason their families here after you retired military for less than just retired. And I think you've probably taught him over the north. And you started out teaching school right. Yes I did I got a my degree I have both a bachelor's and master's degree in education. Within mentally and and mathematics. And so I taught at North High School I taught math at North High School. Miles out of physical education degree in on the coaching side north I have opting IST it's hot and physical education and that was given the opportunity then to coats girls volleyball basketball softball so coats those three sports and top management and north he eight years prior to get on the. Our sir I hate to be sexist about disputed traditionally. When I was growing up no girls don't do well in math but you know. My daughter was O quiz and sounds like you're aware isn't meant to its that was just a stereotype again hanging. I love laugh though I I can. Frankly don't like to teach. Time with me especially when you have other skills and I I think. You're the first female fire chief for which you don't what does that mean he easily use special or. Four other females. And an opportunity and not just. In the fire service which I'd I you know I really would really like all young. Young ladies. Then to become firefighters that Betsy to add to the access and opportunity. It's I displayed. That if you have a drain and you work or hard towards it that you can accomplish anything that you want. They go and how many female fighters fire treasury have right now we currently have eight that that includes me. You're okay you and seven more yes that's correct now group called neighborhood alliances for voting your quarters percent sales tax increase to Wichita other. For what you devised to pay for more firefighters and police officers. And then to the mayors sit down we get we're gonna take care of that do you need more people will chief. When you know what Steve would never have enough people thought I had it like any other business if we can get more we'd love to have more. How many how many fibers we averaged in Utah we currently employs 453. But that counts commission and also our civilian staff have. Which on our civilian staff two when he of those so 433. Personnel we are civilian staff. How many fire stations and vehicles in your department and a big number with a lot of responsibility yes we have 22 fire stations and that is including. The one part station which we co locate with out at station 638 which is not a 143 in central. And inside those 22 fire stations we have 22 fire engines but we call our pamper apparatus you know. We afford trucks which are trucks are. And the ones with the big ladders on that people see rolling on the street they're also the ones that provide the most safety for our firefighters. And then we have fourteen squad squads are. Look like the pick up trucks with a little pump on the back of it and then we have what we call force specially vehicles we have hazardous materials. Vehicle we have a technical rescue vehicle. We have a tender which is basically. And it contained water on the inside of it when you're going into areas that we have lacking a water supply from hydrants. And and we have a rehab vehicle which is the rehab vehicle it is for our own internal. Personnel we responded team significant issues and incidents. So that we can once or dead ones are our partners and then work and we delivering amount and we can take a look at there makes it there. Now vitals are stable and that they're doing OK physically before we put him back to work you know I don't know if. But if most folks understand this and other winners. Do you not send a a rescue squad with every ambulance call. We send a squad and a. It yeah well as a lot yet. And then in the reason I I correct you on that incentives Connor rescue squad is because third there's all kinds of terminology throughout the fire service is far from rescues you know. When you take a look at rescues. And other jurisdictions. In looking at what we referred to as age. Our technical rescue unit. Which is of relatively large piece of equipment in it set. Basically it's a gigantic toolbox is as every tool which can imagine you know because they're gonna. They're nine to address what water type issues are minute address compliance based type issues you know him grain elevator issues. Anything of those kinds of magnitudes. Specialty issues that the ones that are actually going to be the ones that respond so. Yes we respond a squad with on ambulance calls and sometimes is on an engine depending on what type of colleges. If it is me near death or very serious injury. Emergency incident then we Mason T unions you eat and I don't know if you mention how many boats you have. We have. I you know Alessio I think we have a hole they have a repertoire a boat Flint. Yeah that we felt from a jet ski all the way up to. And you know add to that. We don't have. They're different types of boats were different kinds of motors depending on the type a walk down says you get new going to be flexible for anything right you know whether swift water from working their damned mind there. In all all different types of water. Went back up for just the second because they just did the thought occurred to me. When you became a firefighter what you present again 1980 and 1988 I presume that. That at. There are worse in some. As far as. You know housing in the fire department in this in the station did they have to make a special accommodation for either someplace. Yet at that time there wasn't not every station wouldn't lead has facilities for women and so there's only certain stations that women can be assigned to him. And then been through the years. We devolved. And now we have facilities for all women and appears in one of our stations what was it like for stimulant and a real good code three fire. But it was a lie I mean Harry ahead. You were scared. Me and everyone in here pretty adrenaline can stand and then year in and ask the nice thing about being a firefighter whose work in teams. So especially when they're really young everybody Lindsay you're kind of like little baby in have been let's take area so the pitch and me doing and they provide you with a lot of really gain an internship and they cunning game behind tee and you kind of can pushy in actually. Bet that at the time you know it is striking you know people often ask me a lot of times how can he do that happening make that terrific call in and be okay in. You know because if I saw that averages grossed me outer that would just pull my heart strings you know the thing about it is that when those. Tones go off. And your summons to go hill somebody. You you become very focused on your mission and that is provide the very. Best possible care you keen and so going to your mind are things. You know you're trying to doctor I's and cross teams to make sure that she got everything okay if this is happening in this is when I'm gonna do and and then and you're involved in the incidents in not thinking about things that. You're you're focused on doing what you need to do to make this that situation better for that particular person deserve the training kicks in and correct yes it does and but then later. Oh yeah and oftentimes and that's a nice thing about firefighters is that once the incident is over. You'll see them sometimes and around the yard and sometimes. You know after we need to get a fire the resource and now the artist. We have to let some of the smoke get out of there and then we call for investigators and before we can go in and finish cleanup would elect investigating going to figure out the cause this means they assist and around the front yard but it's not because we're not doing anything we're just waiting for the investigated weaker portion of the work in them go back in in all. Mop up and get things the best we possibly can. So that the occupant can return it. And what was driving us it is sometimes you do see some pretty ugly things and it that your later you may have pushed some feelings or isn't. Some thoughts on the laughed right exactly. Leave the AF help for your people yes we do what I mean if somebody really comes reform. Etc. yet we have we have a peer support teens and done it is sad. And what what does get into that's an around the front door is always get to because we do can we we stand and we talk about the incident on a lot of times you'll hear us. You know the ways that we will addictive bounce things off other people that are there you know that have been there done those kinds of things. But on top of that yes we do have them we have a a group that we've put together and they've gone went through training. It is called appears support team and it is and available 24/7 through 65. And and often times. We continue to evolve in that program you know in the beginning and we still if reach out to everybody now we find Dan the research is saying that hey wait a shift. Before you reach out to and then sometimes it just mainly Mecca call and see how they're doing you know I have even sleep and anything going on at home is oftentimes if people are internalized thing. Trauma and things that they've seen and they're having a hard time struggling with what. The incident. The stops sleep and bill turned alcohol. A little fight with the family members and those kinds of things so. So appear eager to support groups just kind of like they call. Call that take our call on the individuals and made that gruesome. Or event in just kind of topped him and then if we need to pursue it further. We did some fertilization to. Who were senior national local trend and it's not just in firefighting and police officers are inching everywhere but shortage of workers. Is that impacting in the fire department. And we still gay and when I first and on the department there was like 400 people applicants. For the position while. The difference between Allen and is now. It's like everything else they standards. Continue to. The bars continued to be set higher for example we still have done and we just art class a team and we had over 200 applicants that we actually. Went through. That we can now there's all kinds of testing besides just take what we call the C practice which is of physical agility test. And detect a written test and also take a behavioral tests to try to ensure that the person meant. Might be a possible candidate is an alignment Lula with wecht. That has the mental capacity to do the job cure though. So when we actually didn't start to actually interview we Nero that is candidate embers down from you know the 200 number down to something that some of them manageable. Asia around forty range so we should act on an average but there were hiring a classic tanner haren class of fifteen. And fifteen G a maximum. Just because that's staffing capabilities India over to provide the student directory issue that we need. But usually about forty people who we interview them. Seem to be used in that's of that being a firefighter or something there's always. A certain percentage don't wanna do that in your gonna handle cooler. Bureaucracy to issue Tony eighteen on the intercom radio stations and I guess is. Wichita fire chief Tammy snow and now we're gonna get to the things that we we wanna talk about and that is the City Council recently passing that new fireworks ordinance. That's easy pretty much the same as the one we had before. That the change seems to me to put more responsibility on your department to be enforcers of law human and tell us about the the new fireworks ordinance. Well you know fireworks come as underneath the the fire code. So ultimately yet this fall on the lips on the which I'll fire department but what this new ordinance does for us is provided us with an element of the enforcement but now also provides an accountability and that element team the. Actual occupant. Or the person actually using. And fireworks. The ordinance itself remains the same meaning that in the studio which tall diagnosed by Lennon's. No bottle rockets and nothing that those higher than six feet in new direction. And that's our current ordinance. The portion that has changed is the important part on July 3 and on July 4. Be there will be enforcement by which up our department and also teamed up with the law enforcement officer. And we will patrol areas from 8 o'clock at night at 2 in the morning. In world actually right fireworks. Violation tickets. Now in the past. The ordinance as written to the point that we had to actually see that person. Person had to have possession. That we have to see him using it they had to have possession and it and we confiscated and weakened. They would then goes to court in ankle in front of the judge and down. They can be find anywhere up to 2500. Dollars. That has changed now all we have diet have is. Verification that somebody. On that property is using illegal fireworks. So we don't have to actually sees it. It just has to be on the property and then what happens as the that whoever is the occupant. Or the property owner at that particular piece of property will receive a 250 dollar. Ticket on July 3 July 4. While we are you know we're we're dedicating special teams and form force and and the other portion of that is never in the past have we been able to hold. Adolescence. Responsible. Now. The adults and adults will be responsible for their child if they are illegally using illegal fireworks. And it isn't the actual sales states a mirror mirror up with the state law which is teen 27 to July 5. So if an anytime we're out the back out. In somebody's she died Kurt is violate that occurred ordinance then yes we can run and 250 dollar ticket and that was the other thing that's changed it just a standard. To penalty of 250 dollars instead of given the judge. The only way of anything up to 2005. Dollars. And I can remember times Beckham and the seventies. When the bottle rockets refinement and firefighters it seemed like. There's a call every performance I mean is it was nasty that's why they went to this a little bit stricter Otis. Write to me and it's not perfect I'm sure that will be doing some tweaking after this and and in fact that is part of the current. Plan is this in this July 4 is over and we have opting need to gather the data will go back conference counsel present our findings to Celia. What needs to be tweaked and how commit better improve it to make and a safer community for all the citizens. I don't ask you some when you switch gears a little bit and it's not nice to talk about it. It is a fact how many people actually died in fires in Wichita last year. Last year or this year so far we have 44 this year in in down. We are excellent and you know right now at the net foreign or aliens in the month of play. Between form five is the actual national average so where are ready and in each year we over we exceed the national average. In. Fire fatality what do what are the most frequent cause of those fatal fires and it it it's. You know there's one that stands down way down there kind of independent well I contain the causes of fires in some times they resulting in a fire fatality. The primary cause for fires isn't intended cooking. That's aren't number one cost. Follow real close behind that is cigarettes that it's smoking it's the act improper discarding of smoking material. Especially. People for some reason think that they can take a cigarette that pitted out on I would dec. And then then they put it between then two pieces of wood and hours later we come back you mean you know they go to bed awards in the Millen nine hours they would come back and depending on the wind in Kansas. We have fire going up the side of the house and then add a it's an apartment complex majority of the time yeah and so and displace Aaron. Improperly discarded smoking materials is followed for a close behind cooking fires are homes required by law to have smoke detectors. And by a long day well you should we can't tell you don't get yet when it acquired it if you're a pretty good at it we have rain and you know we have a smoke alarm program where we'll actually no matter what your economic level is. We will actually come out putt went in that's how important are two Red Cross just recently had a weak and where they spent some of their volunteers when you count and then that smoke alarms and in people's house this. But if you don't have one. We want you to have one. Called down to our main office switching call it 316268. Or 5103162684510. Given the name get on the list and Nina British smoke alarm no questions asked. Okay let's talk about your investigators little bit. That's it I'm sure is special training on net that. Talked to director team of investigators going to try to find because on these fires. Idea and to be arson investigator or fire investigator again they take significant amount of training so. They are commissioned law enforcement. And then on top of that they do the fire training on top of that they have training for arson. We are very fortunate in that Zia city which also has what we call on arson dogs. Which he utilized throughout well from our factor it he lies throughout the state. That specifically down and then via. South central part of Kansas. Mark on the issues allies you know in a lot of our surrounding communities to help them solve. Arson fires. Fires that are intentionally set shape yes they have traded to. How well it seems it's pretty significant. Yet they go and they acting each year be recertified yeah so yeah we go out to the East Coast and the West Coast imparted the ATF program. And you have to it's a big. Process because we have to make an application we have to be approved Ford in and we send a person does that dog that the will only. Is married up to that person and that person spends eight weeks of the third time going around training the dog. And specifically. Specific training that they go to an end like this and every year and after the back for recertification. Will you or will the department haven't enhanced presence during wished over festival. Not in enhanced presence just on normal presents there's not anything. That's many special this I don't know where we go around and we inspect all the food trend that's we make sure that the fireworks. That they have planned or in safe locations in and we'll do scandalized during the fireworks. Displays and so forth but nothing unique coming up in any different and in our normal years. They didn't end missed his opportunity to do. The puts a response time on your fires and remind you brought our but we tried to need to. There's we have a performance measure up four minutes first units on scene by four minutes. And our second unit is unseen no later than eight minutes so we trying to get there with informants that and time it from the time in which. The calls been dispatched out. And do it sounds pretty quick I know the person who's waiting for that they admitted they used well yeah but that's arisen while we have 22 fire stations and that's a reason why there's huge coup located we spend a significant amount of time gathering data. And all of our fire stations. Our our primarily in areas in which we can restore fiscal primary response area. Where they can respond to out to the community with informants. Anything new and exciting in your planning or. Coming here civil servant I don't know they encourage you to dreamer not what do you Ali yeah. Yeah we didn't you know like everybody knows others you know we always are looking for opportunities where we can better serve the community. We have numerous. 21 century so there's. Technology out there that we can utilized that would enhance a lot of different things you know whether it be. Initial route you know right now. You know around. We still stay streets and take street tennis which is clear back and then you know paper pencil days. So it now people have GPS on this gives senator I where you letter truck on average GPS on it and so yeah I mean there's things like that there's ways in which we actually do our business called instant command where. People have. Clinton and how to cut you off to about that another time but thanks for your time this morning. I really appreciated India. Did a good job we think our guest Wichita fire chief Tammy snow. And that's all for this edition of issues Tony eighteen will be back next week thank you for listing and Steve Macintosh.