Tuesday, May 21, 2019


**For Immediate Release**
Re: RCFD Public Service Announcement- Rapid Creek Safety
From: Lt. Jim Bussell- Rapid City Fire Department
Office: (605)-394-4180
Date: 05/21/2019 12:30 pm MDT


RCFD Stresses Caution Near Rapid Creek, Moving Water
Danger will persist even after rain stops


Rapid City, S.D. – Plentiful moisture coupled with saturated ground have increased Rapid Creek flows to over 450 cubic feet per second at Founders Park as of 11:00 am today. Rapid Creek has been observed to be running bank full in most areas in and around Rapid City as of this morning. The rapidly moving water and wet, slippery and potentially unstable banks pose risk to anyone near the creek edge. The Rapid City Fire Department is asking the community to exercise extreme caution around Rapid Creek and any moving body of water in the area, for the foreseeable future.

Six inches of moving water is enough to sweep a person off of their feet while only one foot of moving water will float many vehicles. At present, most areas of Rapid Creek are at least 4 feet deep and running over 300 cubic feet per second. In Rapid Creek, much of the danger is related to trees, debris and unseen hazards located under the water. These hazards are known as “strainers”. Strainers are items that water can flow through, but that a swimmer or boat (canoe, kayak, etc.) cannot. These obstacles have the potential to catch an unsuspecting victim. Entrapment in a strainer is a life-threatening emergency.

Because of wet, slippery and potentially unstable stream, creek and river banks, it is strongly encouraged that individuals avoid activity around moving water until water levels subside and stream flows moderate. If you choose to be around these bodies of water, remember the following items:

-Know your limitations. If you do not have experience in the swift-water environment, it is best to stay away.

-If swept away in high flow water, DO NOT put your feet down. Foot entrapment's are a real possibility. Keep your feet up and point them downstream in the direction of the nearest shoreline or in the direction of safety and attempt to self-rescue. Always go over obstacles. Do not try to go under them.

-Use flotation. A life jacket may save your life.

-Watch out for children, water is a natural attractant. Keep them very close to you when near flooded or high-water areas. Teach them about the dangers of moving water and remind them to stay away.

-Don’t drive thru flooded roadways. Turn around, don’t drown. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.

For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at the information provided above.

-END-


Tuesday, April 30, 2019


**For Immediate Release**
Re: Junk the Junipers 2019
From: Lt. Tim Weaver- Rapid City Fire Department
Office: (605)-394-4180
Cell: (605)-390-4114
Date: 04/30/2019

Junk the Junipers Set to Begin in May

The Rapid City Fire Departments annual “Junk the Junipers Program” is happening in May as part of Wildfire Awareness Month.  Homeowners are encouraged Lt. Tim Weaver at tim.weaver@rcgov.org to sign up for this great program as well as several others aimed at Wildfire risk mitigation. The Rapid City Veteran Wildfire Mitigation Crew will be helping with the “Junk the Junipers” program which helps reduce hazardous fuels and assists homeowners in getting highly flammable junipers and cedars removed from around their homes for free.  Neighborhoods eligible for this event include:

-Carriage Hills/Wildwood
-Pinedale Heights/Kingswood
-Chapel Valley/Chapel Lane
-Skyline Drive/Woodridge
Springbrook Acres/Sheridan Lake Road
-Red Rocks/Countryside

This event is important because of the role that it plays in reducing fire risk in our communities. The Rapid City Fire Department assists homeowners through the Survivable Space Initiative with several grant programs to assist with fuel reduction and education. The educational component of this initiative focuses on what homeowners and communities can do to become Fire Adapted Communities.  Lieutenant Tim Weaver, Wildfire mitigation program coordinator for the Rapid City Fire Department commented; “A significant wildland fire in Rapid City is not a matter of if.  It is a matter of when. This event helps homeowners create fire resilient landscapes that can lessen the effects of how fire will impact their neighborhoods”.  Weaver went on to explain that homeowners and neighborhoods living in our Primary Wildland Hazard zone need to be adapted to fire, and learn how to coexist with fire in a landscape that wants to burn.


For more information, comment or clarification regarding this release, please contact Lt. Tim Weaver of the Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division at the information provided above.

-END-

Monday, April 15, 2019



RCFD Media Release


**For Immediate Release**
Re: National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week 2019
From: Lt. Jim Bussell- Rapid City Fire Department
Office: (605)-394-4180
Date: 04/15/2019
               
Rapid City, S.D. - The RCFD will be joining other local Public Safety Agencies in celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week April 14-20, 2019. The Rapid City Fire Department wishes to congratulate our Public Safety Telecommunicators and give them our profound thanks for the work that they do.
Fire and EMS personnel have unique, first-hand knowledge of the importance of the role that our 911 Dispatchers play in the business of saving lives and protecting our community. Most people in our community know little of the vital role that 9-1-1 Dispatchers play in ensuring the safety of Fire and EMS personnel. In addition, these professional men and women are the first-line in providing adequate and appropriate emergency response.
Dispatchers are critical first First Responders. They must keep track of multiple units, companies, and even entire departments during critical incidents. Sometimes this requires tracking multiple incidents spanning multiple communities and multiple counties. Their hard work and dedication is most certainly noticed and appreciated by our entire organization.
Our success in the initial stages of an incident depends largely on the information that they provide. It cannot be overstated that our Public Safety Telecommunicators are key contributors to ensuring that our Fire and EMS providers can work and function safely.  It is an honor to work with such an outstanding, professional group of individuals that help to form our Public Safety network.
On behalf of each member of the Rapid City Fire Department, thank you to each and every member of the Pennington County 9-1-1 for their hard work and dedication.

-END-








Friday, March 22, 2019

Nine Join the Ranks of Rapid City's Bravest

New recruits to begin riding Medic Units on Monday



Rapid City, S.D. - It is a special day at the Rapid City Fire Department as nine new Rapid City Firefighters begin their careers with the department. The newest RCFD Recruits were hired to address vacancies brought on by retirements and resignations. After an abbreviated three-week EMS Academy—commanded by Lt. Hunter Harlan, Lt. Keith Trojanowski and Firefighter/Paramedic John Potter—the recruits will begin working in the Operations Division on Monday. The new recruits will be assigned to RCFD Medic Units until a later date when they will participate in a comprehensive, eleven-week RCFD Academy.  

Each recruit brings a unique background and experience to the department. The recruits are:

Larry Eide- Recruit Eide was born in Duluth, MN, moved to Wisconsin and Colorado before making it to Custer, SD where he graduated high school. Larry attended college for two years before beginning work at a coal mine in Gillette, WY where he worked for six years. Recruit Eide obtained his EMT certification and has previous Fire Service experience with the Piedmont Fire Department and the Bureau of Land Management in Belle Fourche, SD. In his free time, Recruit Eide and his wife enjoy traveling the world, having visited places such as Vietnam and Thailand together. He also enjoys training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, mountain biking, and rock climbing. 

Drew Hill- Recruit Hill is a lifelong resident of Hot Springs, SD and has long aspired to be a Rapid City Firefighter. Drew began his Fire Service career as a volunteer firefighter in 2010 with the Hot Springs Fire Department and obtained an associate’s degree degree in Fire Science from Western Dakota Tech in 2013. Recruit Hill worked for four years with South Dakota Wildland Fire before working as a firefighter with the US Department of Veterans Affairs in Hot Springs. Drew is a father of a four year-old daughter. Together, they enjoy summers at the lake and spending time with their St. Bernard. 

Nicholas Jasnoch- Recruit Jasnoch is a graduate of Rock Springs, WY High School. He has previous fire service experience with the Presho, SD Fire Department, the United States Forest Service and currently volunteers with the North Haines Fire Department in Rapid City. Nick recently obtained his National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification as an EMT. Recruit Jasnoch is married and has two dogs, Deacon and Meka.  

John Krejci- Recruit Krejci is a veteran of the United States Army. He is a special operations combat veteran and just recently transitioned out of a career as a consultant to the state department and the intelligence community giving him a combined 20 years of service to our country. During his military career, Recruit Krejci deployed to combat zones every year since 2002, often multiple times during a year.  He and his wife, Marissa, have an awesome 6 year old boy named Greyson. John is excited and looking forward to beginning his career with the Rapid City Fire Department.

Dietric McConnell- Recruit McConnell was born in Amery, WI and moved to Rapid City when he was 14 years old. Dietric enjoys outdoors pursuits and physical fitness as his hobbies include hunting, hiking, working out and spending time with family and friends. He is the youngest of four siblings. A graduate of Hill City High School and Black Hills State University, Dietric feels a call to serve and is excited to serve with his hometown Fire Department. 

Erich Peterson- Recruit Peterson is originally from Rapid City, SD.  He received an associate's degree in fire science from Western Dakota Tech. He and his wife, Katie, have been married 8 years and are parents to two young boys aged 4 and 2. Erich enjoys spending time with his family, going to the lake, hiking, landscaping, playing sports and spending time with his dogs. Of joining the Rapid City Fire Department, Erich said; "I'm excited for the opportunity I have with Rapid City Fire Department to grow, not only as an individual, but a great team member as well as to learn every aspect of the career as I can to better help our community." 

Karin Shoemaker- Recruit Shoemaker was born and raised in Rapid City, graduating from Central High School. She studied Health Sciences at the University of South Dakota and completed her EMT in 2018 with the Rapid City Fire Department. She is currently living in New Underwood with her husband Josh and 3 daughters Trynyty (15), Taylor (12) and Ava (9). Karin is active with the New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department and is also serving on the New Underwood City Council. Karin has a strong passion for emergency medicine, with a goal of completing the Rapid City Fire Department Paramedic program.

Chad Uchytil-  Recruit Uchytil was born in Aberdeen, SD and moved to Rapid City as a young child. After high school, Chad attended Black Hills State University and received a bachelor’s degree in biology. He and his wife, Madison, have a three and a half year old daughter and a baby boy born one week ago today. In his free time, Recruit Uchytil likes to backpack, hunt, fish, trap shoot, mountain bike, and to spend time in the outdoors. He is eager to begin a career with the RCFD and grateful to have the opportunity to serve the community of Rapid City.

Jacob Wasem- Recruit Wasem is a native of Horace, North Dakota. An Edmonton Oilers fan, Jacob grew up playing hockey and looks forward to following the Rapid City Rush. Outside of work, Recruit Wasem enjoys outdoors pursuits such as mountain biking, hiking, hunting and fishing and is an avid golfer. Recruit Wasem has previous Fire Service experience with the Horace, ND Fire Department and obtained a Fire Science certification from Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Morehead, Minnesota.
The newest members of the RCFD are pictured above with their instructors. 
Front Row, Left to Right: Jacob Wasem, Nicholas Jasnoch, Karin Shoemaker, Drew Hill, John Krejci
Back Row, Left to Right: Lt. Hunter Harlan, Dietrich McConnell, Chad Uchytil, Larry Eide, Erich Peterson, Firefighter/Paramedic John Potter


The Rapid City Fire Department is pleased and excited to have nine outstanding recruits join our ranks. Please join us in congratulating and welcoming these fine individuals.

-END-


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Rapid City Firefighters Knock Down Morning Fire

Rabbit rescues made by firefighters


Rapid City, S.D. - At 9:15 this morning, crews from Rapid City Fire Department Stations 1, 4, and 6 responded to a report of a structure fire at 627 St. Patrick Street. An individual walking by noted the smell of smoke and saw fire coming from a window on a single family residential structure and called 9-1-1. First arriving firefighters found heavy smoke conditions inside the home with fire showing from at least one window on the back of the structure.

During the initial attack, it was unclear if all of the occupants of the home were out of the building. Crews began a search of the home in near zero visibility conditions. No human occupants were located inside. With the help of the Rapid City Police Department, all human occupants were located and found safe in various locations in Rapid City and notified of the fire.

During the search, Firefighter/Medic Andrew Rasmussen and Firefighter/Medic Donavin Neugebauer located pet rabbits in the home and brought them outside to safety. The pets were placed in the care of the Medic 4 crew– which included Andrew’s brother, Firefighter/Paramedic Alex Rasmussen– and provided with oxygen via animal resuscitation masks. These masks are on every RCFD Medic Unit and utilized during fires and rescue incidents where pets may be involved. The rabbits were returned to their owner and taken to a local veterinarian for evaluation.

The fire was knocked down quickly with overhaul efforts lasting until about noon. Investigators were on scene working to determine the cause. The cause will remain under investigation. The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota was called to assist occupants with immediate needs, including shelter. St. Patrick Street between 7th Street and 5th Street was closed most of the morning. It was re-opened around noon. Motorists in the area are encouraged to use caution as additional ice has accumulated due to firefighting efforts. The Street Department with the City of Rapid City was in the area treating icy surfaces.

For questions or comment related to this release, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell with the Rapid City Fire Department at 605-394-4180.

-END-

RCFD Units Responding: Truck 1, Squad 1, Battalion 1, Medic 4, Engine 4, Engine 6, RCFD Investigators, RCFD PIO
Other Agencies Responding: Rapid City Police Department, Whispering Pines Fire Department, Pennington County Fire Administrator, American Red Cross serving Western and Central South Dakota, Montana Dakota Utilities, Black Hills Energy

Monday, January 21, 2019




North Rapid Apartment Building Damaged By Fire

No injuries reported, investigation underway 



Rapid City, S.D. – At 12:28 am firefighters from Rapid City Fire Department Stations 1, 4 and 7 responded to a report of a structure fire at 1130 Holcomb Avenue. Pennington County 9-1-1 received calls reporting a fire in a downstairs apartment. When crews arrived at the four unit apartment building, they encountered heavy fire conditions. Fire was showing out of a downstairs window and burning up the exterior wall threatening the apartment above and extending into the roof structure of the building. Firefighters were able to quickly knock down the exterior fire before making entry into the involved apartment. Forward progress of the fire was stopped in about 20 minutes. Firefighters remained on scene until about 4:00 am completing an extensive overhaul process to locate and extinguish hot spots.

All of the buildings occupants were able to safely evacuate. No injuries to firefighters or civilians were reported as a result of this incident. Seven occupants of the building are temporarily displaced due to the fire. The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota was on scene assisting occupants with immediate needs.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Rapid City Fire Department’s Fire and Life Safety Division.

Updates to this release are not anticipated at this time. For questions or comment regarding this incident, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at 605-394-4180

Above: Firefighters work to extinguish hot spots in the roof structure.

Above: Firefighters outside keep watch as firefighters inside of the structure work to extinguish hot spots.


Above: Firefighters douse hot spots in a downstairs apartment.


-END-



RCFD Units Responding: Truck 1, Squad 1, Battalion 1, Engine 7, Medic 7, Engine 4, RCFD Investigator, RCFD PIO
Other Agencies Responding: Whispering Pines FD with County Cascade System, Rapid City Police Department, Black Hills Energy, Montana Dakota Utilities, City of Rapid City Water Department, American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota


Wednesday, January 16, 2019


RCFD to Conduct Drills at Rehabilitation Institute

Building is due to be demolished later this month 


Rapid City, S.D. – This week, Rapid City Firefighters will conduct drills and training at the Rehabilitation Institute building located at 2908 5th Street in Rapid City. The building is due to be demolished later this month as part of an ongoing construction project at the hospital. The Rapid City Fire Department Training Section anticipates training and drill activities to take place at various times during day and evening on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week.

Thanks to the generosity of Regional Health, the RCFD will have the opportunity to train and conduct a number of scenario based drills in a realistic environment. Training and drills will focus on high-rise operations, aerial operations, forcible entry and search patterns in large occupancies. Some of the drills will be conducted in low visibility conditions with smoke generated by a smoke machine.

Training and drills are important to maintaining and enhancing firefighter skills. In October of 2018, Rapid City Firefighters trained and performed drills on a building set for demolition in the 700 block of West Street. During that training, one of the skills taught to firefighters was a basement window rescue technique in which a victim could be evacuated if their primary egress were to become compromised. That training was put to use only two weeks later as firefighters rescued an individual from his basement apartment window during a fire on Cherry Avenue in Rapid City utilizing techniques taught on West Street.

During the training and drills, a large number of firefighters dressed in structural firefighting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and large fire apparatus will be clearly visible. Motorists, Regional Health employees and members of the public in the area of the Rehabilitation Institute should not be alarmed.

For questions or comment related to this advisory, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Public information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department, at 605-394-4180.

-END-