Cornbelt Volunteer FPD News
Cornbelt Fire Department Welcomes the Public
Posted October 1, 2013 - Chad Hoffman PIO
The annual Open House starts at 6:00pm on Thursday, October 10th. The whole family is invited as local volunteer firefighters with the Cornbelt Fire Protection District will be on-hand to demonstrate fire safety with a new safety house, present the department fire engines and first response vehicles including the new dive truck that is scheduled to arrive in early October, and allow anyone from the community to tour the fire station from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.
The event will include free blood pressure screenings, complimentary balloons, hot dogs, and soft drinks, and the always popular fire truck ride. The event is designed to bring attention to local firefighting and to promote fire safety, so questions of all kinds are welcome.
The department is currently looking for new volunteers. If joining the local fire department interests you, talk to current firefighters at the open house, or contact Cornbelt Fire Protection District at 586-3380 for more information about serving your community.
Cornbelt Holds Awards Banquet
Posted January 23, 2013 - Chad Hoffman PIO
The Cornbelt Fire Department held their yearly awards banquet at the end of December where numerous firefighters were honored for their commitment and dedication to the department and the community. Each year, the awards ceremony culminates with the selection of the Firefighter of the Year. This year a special milestone was reached by the department with Robin Stuckemeyer becoming the first female to receive the award. Robin is an extremely dedicated firefighter who made over 45% of the calls in 2012. She does an excellent job in setting up the Cornbelt Open House to coincide with fire prevention month each year in October, which continues to get bigger and better.
She leads by example with her commitment to additional personal training including attending Fire College and becoming certified as an EMT and Firefighter II. She helps her fellow firefighters when asked including training our probationary firefighters on many Monday nights through the last 9 months. She leads the station decoration committee at Christmas time, and she cooks a mean breakfast on Saturday mornings from time to time helping to add to the family atmosphere at the department.
All in all, the department would not run as smoothly without her. She is a vital cog in the Cornbelt Fire Department, and the department was honored to present her with the Firefighter of the Year Award for 2012. She is and will continue to be a tremendous asset to the department and her fellow firefighters.
Call Response Policy Changed at Cornbelt
Posted December 21, 2012 - Chad Hoffman PIO
As a new year approaches, the Cornbelt Fire Protection District has enacted a new attendance policy for its volunteer firefighters. Starting on January 1st, 2013, firefighters will be assigned approximately 2-nights a month between the hours of 10:00 pm and 5:00 am where they are officially on duty. Officers will be asked to serve 4-nights a month to ensure appropriate coverage. The nightly assignment applies for most medicals, carbon monoxide detections, and other incidents that can be covered with a single vehicle. For multiple vehicle responses, such as structure fires or major automobile accidents, all available firefighters are still required to respond to the emergency call.
The new policy will eliminate the requirement for firefighters to make 20% of the emergency calls, which will exceed 800 responses in 2012. Night-time calls put the most stress on the department and the firefighters' full-time jobs, family-life, and staff resources. Before the schedule is assigned, firefighters and officers can turn in the days when they are unavailable. Accommodations are also generally made for individual preferences during the scheduling process. After assignment of the days and times, firefighters and officers can trade with similar ranking individuals on the department to ensure appropriate staffing.
With the new policy set to go into effect with the start of the new year, members of the department will be at-the-ready on their assigned nights in case of an emergency. The policy is intended to improve the response time on calls where only a single apparatus is needed, ensure that each call is staffed appropriately, and spread the burden of late night calls across the entire department.
It is hoped that the new policy will lighten the burden on current members of the department and be of interest to individuals who would like to join Cornbelt Fire Department but couldn't make the 20% call commitment required previously. Anyone interested in joining the volunteer department should contact the office at 586-3380 for more information.
Fire Safety Stressed - Open House Scheduled for October 11th
Posted October 1, 2012 - Chad Hoffman PIO
Each year the Cornbelt Fire Protection District holds their annual Open House during Fire Prevention Week. Fire Prevention Week, held October 7th through 13th this year, serves as a reminder that it is important to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That's why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan. This year's theme,"Have 2 Ways Out!", focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.
In addition to stressing fire safety for children and adults, the Cornbelt Fire Protection District Open House from 6-8 pm on Thursday, October 11th will feature free balloons, hot dogs, soda, and juice, truck rides for the kids, as well as Cornbelt fire equipment and several units from surrounding departments on display.
Cornbelt Welcomes New Members
Posted August 17, 2012 - Chad Hoffman PIO
Grayson Hall, James Henslick, and Travis Molitor graduated from their probationary status and became full members of the Cornbelt Fire Department on Tuesday, August 14th.
The probationary firefighters trained on various activities including demanding air pack drills, search and rescue techniques, tactics for fire suppression, and a number of general topics important to the fire service. The rigorous training spanned nine months with many of the trainings exceeding four hours every Monday night. In total, the firefighters combined for over 400 hours of training, so they would be prepared to effectively serve as volunteers firefighters in Mahomet and the surrounding communities.
Cornbelt Hosting Waterball Competition
Posted August 17, 2012 - Reprinted from the August 2nd Mahomet Citizen
At this year's Sangamon River Music Festival, visitors will get a chance to see firefighters from Cornbelt Fire Protection District take on members of other area departments in a unique sport: water ball. "It's almost like tug-of-war," said Cornbelt Captain John Cumbee, one of the organizers of the Cornbelt team. Two teams of two to four players each use fire hoses to move a ball suspended on a pulley along a rope. When the match ends, the team with the ball on the opponent's side wins. Each round has three matches. Firefighters play in full "bunker gear," though these requirements are modified a little if the heat is extreme.
Water ball isn't a new pastime. In fact, Cumbee said, it's something of a firefighters' tradition. Cornbelt has a trophy case full of past waterball winnings, but the game's popularity has been at a low ebb in recent years. But water ball is enjoying a renaissance at fire departments locally and beyond. Competitions were held at the Champaign County Fair and at Farmer City's recent 175th anniversary celebrations.
Cornbelt's current team formed about four years ago. They play three to four times per year, Cumbee said. Cornbelt sent two teams to the Champaign County Fair this year, and a Cornbelt team took first place at Farmer City earlier this summer.
The Riverfest competition will be held near Sangamon Elementary, in the space formerly occupied by the car show, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25. Spectators may get a little damp, Cumbee said. As the streams from the fire hoses hit the ball, water is deflected everywhere. "You'll probably get wet," he said. "There's a lot of water flowing all over the place."
Cumbee said that he's looking for teams from other local fire departments to compete. "I'd like to have ten to twelve," he said. The competition will be set up as a tournament, with winners' and losers' brackets and trophies for the top three finishers.
Cumbee said that he and his teammates are excited to compete for a hometown crowd. "We're happy that Riverfest is letting us bring this to town," he said.
Cornbelt Fire Protection District Looking for New Members
Posted May 21, 2012 - Chad Hoffman PIO
The Cornbelt Fire Protection District is looking for individuals who are interested in helping the community by serving as volunteer firefighters. Firefighters are needed to fill a handful open slots in the department. New members will enjoy the camaraderie shared by the members of the department, but also they'll gain the satisfaction of helping others.
Typically, over 700 calls are run by the department for medical, fire, and rescue emergencies in Mahomet and the surrounding area each year. In order to be prepared for the variety of calls, all new firefighters are thoroughly trained during a 9-month probationary period. Probationary members not only learn the necessary fire survival and extinguishment skills, but they also gain leadership and confidence based on the rigorous requirements of the program.
Interested parties should contact the Cornbelt Fire Department office during regular business hours at 586-3380, or go online at www.cornbeltfire.com for an electronic application.
Cornbelt Fire Protection District Fire Chaplain
Posted May 21, 2012 - Chad Hoffman PIO
There's a new name on the roster at Cornbelt Fire Protection District, but Glen Bocox won't be fighting fires. Instead, he'll be lending aid and support to emergency personnel and their families. Bocox, who is directing pastor at Mahomet United Methodist Church, was recently appointed chaplain at Cornbelt. The Cornbelt Board of Trustees formally voted to approve the volunteer position, and Bocox's appointment, earlier this spring.
Cornbelt officials had been floating the idea of appointing a chaplain for several years, but tough situations like the fiery car accident that took the life of Mahomet teenager Austin Dyson in January served as a "tipping point," Bocox said. Fire department chaplains provide support and counseling to emergency personnel in the wake of crisis situations, both at the scene and later on. "There's a level of comfort that's provided to members of the department to have someone there they can talk to and confide in," Chief Lloyd Galey said. Galey said that Bocox was a natural choice for the role, given his firefighting experience and previous stint on the Cornbelt board. "He's had a pretty good history with the department," he said.
Bocox served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for 16 years in Allen Township, Arcola and Dwight. This is his first time serving as chaplain in an official capacity, though he said that his "day job" as a minister meant that he sometimes became the de facto chaplain for his departments. Bocox said that appointing a chaplain for volunteer fire departments is a relatively new idea in the state of Illinois, but it's one that's catching on quickly. He recently attended two days of training in Effingham sponsored by the Illinois Corps of Fire Chaplains, which was founded only two years ago in 2008.
The culture of firefighting sometimes encourages first-responders to "shake off" the emotional aftereffects of the situations they witness. But Bocox said that talking about what they're feeling can help firefighters avoid later issues with post-traumatic stress that can resurface months or even years later. "Some of the stuff that firefighters see and do is not normal and greatly affects them," he said. The role of chaplain at the scene of a fire or accident is twofold. Chaplains support firefighters and other emergency personnel, but they also help civilians who are affected. For example, they might start coordinating help for a family displaced by a house fire.
When presented with his job description, Bocox requested that a new stipulation be added: that the chaplain not use his position as a means of recruiting members to his own church, but to provide a confidential listening ear to all, regardless of religious affiliation. Bocox said that he continues to spend as much time as he can at the station, attending meetings and training sessions. "My main goal is to build a trust relationship and get to know everyone on Cornbelt," he said. He said that he was "humbled and honored" to fill the position of chaplain, and acknowledged that it was a huge responsibility. "I don't want to let these guys down, ever," he said.
Cornbelt Fire Protection District Selects New Chief
Posted February 16, 2012 - Chad Hoffman PIO
At a special Board of Trustees meeting on February 8, Lloyd Galey officially accepted the position of Fire Chief for the Cornbelt Fire Protection District. There were over 35 applicants for the position, and Galey was one of five finalists selected. After the first round of interviews, select follow-ups were completed by individual board members in order to narrow the field. One candidate was selected at that point and successful contract negotiations were completed between the board and Lloyd Galey. "I will work hard to not only meet the current needs of the Cornbelt Fire Protection District and the surrounding community, but maintain a vision for the future," noted the incoming chief. Galey will officially start full-time at Cornbelt on April 1, 2012 after he finishes his duties with the Champaign Fire Department where he currently serves as a Lieutenant.
Galey brings decades of firefighting experience with him to Cornbelt; he has served with the Champaign Fire Department since 1990. Prior to that he served in the Air Force as a Technical Training Instructor where he initially taught Aircraft Crash/Rescue firefighting and then transitioned to Structural Firefighting and Rescue. In addition, Galey has served as a Field Staff Instructor at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), an Instructor at Parkland College in their Fire Science Program, and a paramedic. He also holds dual undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Management from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Washington State University. He has achieved a number of certifications to help prepare him for the role of chief; a few of the notable certifications are Fire Officer I and II, Fire Service Management I, II, III, and IV, and Fire/Arson Investigation I, II, and III. Galey has also received numerous awards for his efforts throughout his career, including the Humanitarian Service Medal for his work during Hurricane Katrina, Firefighter of the Year for the Champaign Fire Department, and a commendation medal and achievement medals from the U.S. Air Force.
Galey has previously worked with Cornbelt Fire Department on a number of occasions as an instructor for IFSI and has helped train many of the current members. Galey commented that "Cornbelt is an outstanding organization that does a lot of things extremely well." He does not foresee big changes, and he views his role as one to support the current officers and its members. As to the future of Cornbelt, the incoming chief plans to spend more time with the committees that have been established and learn their thoughts. Based on his experiences, he knows one area where he wants to expand is officer training and development. Galey stated that "most fire departments, paid or volunteer, don't do enough to train and develop current and future leaders within their organizations." He hopes to expand firefighter education within Cornbelt, but also with other surrounding departments that would like to get involved.
Lloyd Galey lives in Tolono with his wife Diana. He has two daughters and three grandchildren that he enjoys visiting. In his spare time, he participates in triathlons and has completed two full Ironman and several half-Ironman competitions.