Monarch Fire Protection District new Chief Tom Vineyard attended Wildwood's city council meeting Monday night to meet council members firsthand, and to reaffirm the district's commitment to Wildwood residents serviced by firehouse No. 2 located off of Wildhorse Creek Road.
Vineyard took over the Monarch district on Jan. 3, and instituted some new initiatives.
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He told meeting attendees a Monarch employee recently was reassigned to being a public education officer. "We're getting back into schools, and teaching CPR at nursing homes, something that's been lacking," he said.
He said the group also is ramping up CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training.
"Monarch's service has been second to none, and we are moving the district in a positive direction," said Vineyard, who started his career at Mid-County Fire Protection District.
"We have a great department, the highest quality EMS, and highly professional and trained personnel. While there's been negative media about Monarch, I assure Wildwood residents that the district's service level has never been jeopardized or compromised."
Wildwood Mayor Tim Woerther asked about the status of the potential new firehouse that would be located near Orville Road in Wildwood. Vineyard said the potential House No. 6 is part of the assessments under way for the long range planning that covers the next five to 10 years.
While district representatives a couple of years ago acquired the land on which to build a new firehouse, Vineyard said "along with new stations comes staffing issues and equipment." The district owns an 11.8-acre tract located at the corner of Shephard and Orville roads. It has Caulks Creek on the western property line.
"House No. 6 is a key item on our radar, especially when considering ambulatory services," he said.
Monarch's stated goal has been a 4-minute response time to all residents it serves.
Woerther mentioned council members stand ready to provide input, and that residents would be interested to know if and when Monarch hosts any public meetings about the topic in the future.
"Monarch is a fine district, and there never have been any issues with responses. We are grateful for that," said Woerther.
Wildwood city council member Larry McGowen, Ward 1, said he knew Monarch board of director Steve Swyers, who also is a Wildwood resident. "I think you will have a lot of useful help in guidance of the district through Director Swyers," he said.
Wildwood city council member Jack Clark, Ward 4, asked if a map was available for identifying one's fire district. Vineyard said they are in the process of building a new website, which will have a mapping component. He also said fire districts are listed on tax bills. "And when someone calls 911, the dispatcher sends the truck that is in closest proximity to your house," he said.
Monarch has 125 employees, five firehouses and covers 55 square miles. It is based in Chesterfield. Monarch's House No. 2, at 18424 Wildhorse Creek Rd., services Wildwood residents. In addition to Chesterfield and Wildwood, district employees service parts of Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Clarkson Valley, Ballwin and unincorporated St. Louis County.