Missouri Fire Department Charged With Inadequately Training First Responders

An official with the Missouri Department of Health and has told the Northwest Fire Protection District that it must get a new medical director, and that it has conducted invalid emergency medical training.

By state statute investigations conducted by the Missouri Emergency Medical Services Training and Education office must be completed within six months. The findings are considered public record.

The training issue was addressed by district residents at the meeting.

"You won't answer our questions and have repeatedly snubbed your noses at the people who elected you into office," district resident Terri Townsend told the board. "You have put this district in a very bad position by opening us up to potential civil lawsuits and violations of state law. If you won't answer to or look out for the safety of the people you are sworn to serve then it is time that you go."

Walker said he had no idea the district lacked a medical director. Several board members said they were under the impression that Dr. James Jungles was their medical director.

"I must have received bad information because I was told by my instructor that we had a medical director," Walker said. "I thought that was Dr. Jungles."

Mary Porter, a district resident and wife of a former district firefighter, asked why Walker would sign off as a trainer on certificates with the apparent approval of a suspended doctor.

Walker did not respond.

Townsend and Porter said district residents have waited for months to get the board to resolve a host of problems that have plagued their service.

"We don't have any faith that they will do what they are supposed to do or what they promise," Porter said. "For months the board has said it would try and work out problems between the fire chief and the firefighters who walked away from fire station four but that has never happened."

Residents served by that area also voiced concerns that the district was going to use fire district funds to build a $90,000 training facility that will temporarily house Camden County Ambulance personnel.

"The ambulance district doesn't serve the people who pay the majority of taxes in the district," Townsend said.

Board Chairman Gary Jones said the structure is being built on the premise the district will eventually use it for its own training purposes. Townsend suggested the district hold off on its plans to build until the district can achieve its status of a training agency. Jones disagreed. "We made the decision to do this a long time ago," Jones said. "We're moving forward."