First Responder Spotlight

by Lacey Shumard

This months First Responder Spotlight is Jamie Ebbesmeyer. Jamie who is a resident of Paris and helps the community in multiple ways by being a Private Land Conservationist (PLC) for the Missouri Department of Conservation, a Battalion Chief with the Paris Rural Fire Protection District and an EMT with the Monroe County Ambulance District. He is married to Marie Ebbesmeyer and the father of Joshua, Teddy, Ben, and Chris Ebbesmeyer. When he’s not busy helping the community or spending time with family he enjoys reading, woodworking, gardening and repair work.

When asked what made him want to become a first responder he stated “I recognized the need for volunteers to be ready, willing and able to help others. I also felt that my children (and other children and adults) needed to see volunteering as being a necessary part of a community. In my job, I was promoting the use of prescribed and controlled fire as a property management tool. I figured that if I was promoting the use of fire, I should be willing to help in situations when it was unwanted and uncontrolled.”

Jamie says that the best part of what he does is being a role model for encouraging others to volunteer and being able to help out people when they may or may not be at their best or having a good day. While the worst part of his jobs are when (despite efforts), things do not turn out as you would hope and tragedy strikes, affecting people that you know and care about.

With it being spring and many people burning we wanted to ask Jamie some questions regarding Fire Safety and here are his responses and recommendations.

If the wind is above, what speed do you advise people not to burn?

There are two weather factors that individuals should consider when deciding to burn or not. These two factors are wind speed and relative humidity. The combination of the two can affect whether burning conditions are safe or unsafe. The higher the relative humidity, the higher wind speeds can be. The lower the relative humidity, the lower wind speeds must be for safe burning. Burning is not recommended at any time when relative humidity is below 35% and at no time when wind speed (at eye level) is greater than 7 mph.

What prep work should people do before a controlled burn?

People should prepare 10-foot firebreaks (areas without fuel) around the area to be burned prior to ignition. These can be prepared/put in place days or weeks in advance of the burn. Landowners should have a burn plan in place prior to the burn. They should also have help at the time of the burn and make sure that all equipment needed (rakes, blowers, drip torches, sprayers, water tanks) is available, present, and in working condition prior to ignition. People should also contact Monroe County Dispatch (660-327-5175) prior to lighting the match to let them know that a burn is taking place and where it will take place. This way, unnecessary fire department responses can be avoided. In the case of an actual escape/emergency, they will already have the information needed todispatch help when called for. Dispatch should also be called when the burn is completed.

Is there a group who can assist farmers with controlled burns? The Mark Twain Prescribed Burn Association is a member-based group of individual landowners that help each other complete prescribed and controlled burns on their properties. This organization also has burn equipment available for members to use. Anyone interested in this group can contact me for more information.

Any Fire Safety advice you have for the readers? Seek advice and help if you are not familiar and proficient with the use of prescribed fire. Anyone lighting a fire is responsible for damages caused by the fire (if it escapes their property) and by the smoke it produces. All big fires start with small fires.