First I'd like to introduce myself to all the residents of District 8 I've yet to meet. My name is Steven Glynn and I became the Chief of St. Tammany Fire District #8 in January of this year, replacing the retiring Chief Earl Gorrondona (BIG shoes to fill!). I started in the Fire Service back in 1980 when I joined the New Orleans Fire Department as a strapping young recruit (at least in my estimation). Since then I have served most notably as Director of Training and Chief of Special Operations for NOFD, as Fire Chief for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and most recently as a Fire Training Officer for Jefferson Parish (after realizing I was not yet ready for retirement).
Since assuming the duties of Chief of District 8, our Firefighters, Board, Administrative Assistant, and I have strived to continue the excellent service and fiscal responsibility established during Chief Gorrondona's tenure. We have also searched for ways in which we could further serve the residents of District 8. It probably comes as no surprise that parts of our territory are prone to flooding (thankfully and seemingly miraculously, District 8 was mostly spared in this year's two major flooding events) and that just some hard rain can quickly send the Abita River well beyond it's banks. To better respond to these events District 8 hosted a Swift Water Rescue Class in June and our members have been suitably equipped. Our District also sees a disproportionately large number of vehicle accidents with injury. In response we hosted a vehicle extrication class conducted by the LSU Fire & Emergency Training Institute. Hosting classes when possible, is an attractive option because it is economical, our FF's don't have travel costs, it presents convenient training opportunities for our fellow districts, and we can train a larger number without creating manpower shortages (our firefighters are still available should there be an emergency).
District 8 received a FEMA United States Fire Administration Aid to Firefighter's Grant this year and all of the Districts Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (air masks) have been replaced with state of the art MSA G-1 SCBA (thanks go out to Chief Gorrondona as this grant was written and submitted prior to his retirement, he spared no expense on his going away present to STFD#8!). District 8 is also a partner on a grant pursued primarily by District 5 (thanks to Chief Pittman), that will allow the partnering Districts to secure 700 series radios consistent with the LA state system (see the District News section for further information).
Before I conclude, all the members of District 8 would like to thank all of the students at Abita Elementary, and Abita Middle School who participated in the poster contest. This year's theme was "Don't Wait - Check the Date" a reminder that Smoke Alarms should be replaced 10 years after the date of manufacture. The finalists for each grade were posted on our trailer, where FF's distributed hot dogs for the Halloween celebration. Trophies and a special prize will be presented to the winners on November 3. The posters were very creative and choosing finalists and then winners was no easy task.
Finally, thanks for stopping by, in the future this column will be featured quarterly (albeit in a somewhat more abbreviated format, thanks for finishing this marathon), so drop in periodically for the latest news from your local Fire Department. Thanks,
Steven P Glynn
Fire Chief STFD8