Wednesday, September 7, 2011

State Fair FD

This post was provided by Roy Poteete.  Roy is a retired firefighter/emt, he blogs on fire and safety issues.  His blog can be read at

In 1962 the Missouri State Fair Fire Department was born. Like a baby it was coddled and brought to life to be a premier and elite all Volunteer Fire and EMS Department in the USA today. 

This a fully volunteer Fire and EMS Service that is staffed by dedicated Fire, Rescue and EMS Professionals. During the 11 full days of the State Fair; the work week prior to the Fair opening. Then after the fair closes these professionals do not just pack up and go home. NOPE! These professionals are still on duty for the work week after the fair closes to provide fire and first aid to the workers taking down the fair. This unique Fire and EMS Department functions with a mixture of Union and Volunteer Firefighters, Paramedics, EMT's,  who give there vacation time to staff this department. 

The State Fair Fire Department comprised of the following that is donated for use to the State Fair:

  • Fire Trucks can come equipped or not equipped
  • Rescue Equipment, fire hose, tools, medical equipment etc
  • Ambulances, basic medical supplies stocked or an empty ambulance
  • Some Fire Equipment Dealers offer tools, or other equipment for use to the fair via the Manufacture.
  • EMS Rapid response Carts

The Fair usually has about 4 to 5 fire trucks and even could have a ladder truck and or a tanker. There is usually 5 to 6 Ambulances there as well

Firefighters/Paramedics, EMT's:

These proud professionals dedicated there vacation time from there full time job to Protect and Serve the State Fair and that fair attendees. These men and women are from all over the State of Missouri. You may have Fireifghters/Paramedics/EMT from different fire departments that may take advantage of being on this elite group of professionals during the Fair. The fair fire department has about 75  men and or women will participate and sleep in the separate bunk houses.

The work week prior to the Opening Day of the Fair:

This work week is when fireifghters, staff member's arrive and open the Fire Station. The work week is just that. Cleaning the fire station, bunk rooms, getting the water turned on, making sure the ice machine works, inventorying the equipment donated. If a fire truck arrives unequipped then its there task to gather donated equipment and stock a fire truck. The same goes for the ambulances. While these proud professionals are working to get the equipment ready they are also on stand by for emergency responses to any and all calls on the fair grounds and mutual aid to the city of Sadelia, MO. As each day passes more and more fireifghters and equipment arrives. Once all the arriving crews have arrived got there assignments, trucks they get to pick out a bunk and make there bunk. 

Fair Week:

Once the fair starts the fire department functions like a paid 24/7/365 days department. They will do building inspections, fire extinguisher inspections, hood system inspections, sporting event inspections (stands, electrical, rigging) carnival inspections. They also test fire hose, scba's, and other equipment. They run actual medical calls and transport to the local hospital or call for air evac to Columbia, MO to the University Level 1 Trauma Center or to Kansas City, MO other Level 1 & 2 Trauma Centers. They also provide fire protection service and fire extinguisher training to the workers of the tents/stands to make sure that everyone know how to handle a fire extinguisher.  They provide Fire, Rescue, EMS services to sporting events, concerts, demonstrations and at the direction of the State Fair Officials. 
On Sporting events that take place you may have to watch bull riding while your friends are watching a concert like George Strait. Some may be watching a dirt track race while others are doing a demonstration at the fire station. Not everyone can work everyday so you can be rotated off the fire truck to the ambulance or ambulance to the fire truck. The only way you will be allowed to be on the ambulance is you must have a current EMT or Paramedic License. You may also have the night off and attend a concert like Wynona Judd and catch a ride to the concert in the back of the ambulance. You may be off but if a mass casualty incident arises your expected to be able to assist.

This year is the first time in the State Fair Fire Departments history that they provided mutual aid to the City of Sadelia, MO Fire Department since 1962.

Fair over and ending work week:

the fair is over you made friends, meet new people, shaked many hands received many Thank You's for your participation. Now is the time you inventory the equipment. Get the donated equipment ready to be taken or shipped back to the rightful Fire and or EMS department. Your there for the fair workers taking down the tents, stands. If there is a fire, or medical emergency your there to serve them. Once all workers are gone, the Fair buildings have been winterized it is a ghost town. Then the dreadful day comes. You wake up say your good byes to the others that have been there with you. The fair has end and the workers are gone. 

The work begins on organizing the Fair Fire Dept for the next year as soon as Command gets the date. Many man hours goes into the planning, running of the department. 

More information can be obtained from their State Fair Fire Department, Fire Fighters Association of Missouri.

Perks for being on the Missouri State Fair Fire Department:

  • 3 Free Meals a day, 
  • Clothing Provided to wear so everyone is dressed in the same white jump suites with the FFAM (Fire Fighters Association of Missouri and State Fair Fire Department Logo on the back
  • Free Concerts
  • Free admission to the State Fair and parking. 
  • The fun and joy of meeting new friends that will last a lifetime and seeing smiles on the children's faces as you allow them to jump climb on the fire trucks. 

It is believed to be the only State Fair that has a fully functional volunteer Staffed Fire Department for about 25 days a year. 

I have been personally on this department many times. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on this elite group of men and women that protect the fair, fair goers, staff and event attendees.