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2019 Fire Prevention Week Proclamation and Awards
John, Jaymie, Robert, Eric

The week of October 6th thru the 12th is Fire Prevention Week nationwide and also has been proclaimed here in Yuma by Mayor Douglas Nicholls. Observation of Fire Prevention Week included a Monday (October 7th) night event that included the reading of the proclamation by Mayor Nicholls, with the highlighting of advances in fire prevention by Fire Marshal Kayla Franklin and special recognitions of several City of Yuma Fire personnel.

The program began with the United Yuma Fire Fighters Association Pipes and Drum unit leading the posting of colors by the UYFFA Honor Guard and progressed to members of the Yuma Fire Department receiving awards for their exemplary performance, service, and achievements. Fire Chief Steve Irr and Assistant Fire Chief Dusty Fields conducted these recognitions with assistance from Mayor Nicholls and Interim City Administrator Jay Simonton.

This year’s Support Person of the Year for the Yuma Fire Department is Jaymie Meinders.

Jaymie Meinders received the Support Person of the Year award because of her strong work ethic, teamwork and dedication to her role as a Fire Investigator.  In a short period, she has completed courses in Fire and Arson Investigation as well as Public Information and earned a Fire Inspector II designation.  Jaymie has a positive attitude and is fun to work with; she has been a great addition to the Community Risk Reduction team.

This year’s Firefighter of the Year for the Yuma Fire Department is Eric Mendivil.

Eric Mendivil received the Firefighter of the Year Award for hard work and dedication to the department.  Eric works hard to reach his goals and continues to look for ways to improve as a firefighter and team member.  Some of Eric’s accomplishments have been his work toward enhancing his EMS education with an effort toward becoming a paramedic as well as becoming a strike team member.  Eric is noted for taking on the hardest jobs and making sure the job is done correctly.  Recently, Eric volunteered with projects on his own time organizing assistance to other YFD members in need, and helping coordinate a home rehabilitation effort for one of the members of our community.

This year’s Fire Engineer of the Year for the Yuma Fire Department is Robert Smith.

Robert Smith received the Fire Engineer of the Year Award due to his high level of customer service and pride in the department.  Robert is a member of the Honor Guard, strategic planning committee, and is a Peer Counselor in the FireStrong Program.

Robert was an integral part of creating and enhancing the Annual Open House Event for YFD.  Robert is a trainer of the Fireground Survival Skills Course and leads these courses with passion, patience, and a much-needed positive approach.  Robert is a leader in safety and our Department is grateful for his work and attitude.

This year’s Fire Officer of the Year for the Yuma Fire Department is Interim Battalion Chief John Louser.

John Louser received the Fire Officer of the Year Award due to his continued work as a leader in the organization.  John has worked much of the past year as an interim Battalion Chief.  He has worked on projects such as the firefighter pay plan and the tactical program, all while exhibiting strong leadership and a positive attitude.  He has assisted other employees with their training needs and was integral in assisting members of his crew to successfully pass probation.  John has had more than his fair share of emergency responses and handles them effectively with a strong command presence while ensuring the safety of his personnel. John is committed to being a part of the command team that will lead the Yuma Fire Department into the future.

Excellence in Service Awards were also presented to the following;

Medal of Merit- Firefighter Mark McLeod

Firefighter Mark McLeod was awarded the Medal of Merit for his conduct and performance on the Topeka Place fire incident. Though off-duty at the time, Firefighter McLeod’s actions prior to and after the arrival of YFD units proved critical to the successful resolution of the event. His actions and willingness to go above and beyond are consistent with the proudest traditions of the fire service.

Mark resides in the neighborhood and was off-duty and home at the time of the incident. After hearing commotion outside, he became aware of the situation and immediately took action. McLeod ensured that everyone was out of the structure. Once units arrived on the scene, Mark provided a report on conditions and evacuation status. Furthermore, he was instrumental in assisting crews establish a water supply, deploy hose lines and assisted with incident rehab.

Medal of Merit- Firefighter Ruben Ramirez

Firefighter/EMT Ruben Ramirez was awarded the Medal of Merit award.  Ruben has consistently performed exceptionally well during emergency responses and after them. Ruben is a self-motivated individual that has carried with him the same drive, determination and work ethic that he started with as a probationary Firefighter. Ruben is also very quick to help someone without them having to ask him for assistance. Ruben is a great example for not only new Firefighters to model themselves after, but also I believe anyone on the department would benefit from doing the things that he does on an everyday basis.

Unit Citation- UNITED YUMA FIREFIGHTERS PIPES AND DRUMS MEMBERS Fire Captain Kris Leon, Fire Engineer David Zanovitch, Firefighters Jeremy Tyree, John Metha, and Civilian Members Tamera Tyree and Jennifer Zanovitch

Since the group’s inception in 2013, they have represented the City of Yuma Fire Department at the highest level. These individuals sacrifice countless hours of their own time to better themselves as musicians. Every year members attend a formal bagpipe and drum school and travel to and from events at their own expense. These members performed at more than 30 Line of Duty Death services throughout the state. They also perform for City events such as the Music on Main Festival, the Burns Supper Event, YFD Candidate Graduations, the Mayoral Inauguration, Fourth of July Festival, St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Emergency Medical Services Week, the annual September 11 Memorial Ceremony, and for YFD retiree and public funerals.

Unit Citation- Fire Engineer James Chavez, Firefighters Anthony Fernandez and Brent Young

On July 3, 2019, these off-duty YFD personnel came across a single vehicle rollover on Interstate 8 near Dateland. Seeing no law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services or Fire personnel on scene, they stopped to help. Bystanders stated the accident occurred approximately 5-10 minutes prior. James, Brent, and Anthony stepped in, removed the patient from the vehicle, and began providing care. They performed CPR for approximately 45 minutes until Fire and EMS agencies arrived. A patient report was given to Paramedics and care was turned over to them.  Unit Citation- Engine 2 Crew - Captain Paul Evancho, Engineer Robert Smith, Firefighter Alex Diaz, and Firefighter Ramon Fraga

On April 5, 2019 at approximately 4:00 am, units were dispatched to an 80,000 square foot industrial complex. Engine 2 arrived as the fourth engine on scene and was assigned to perform a 360 inspection. As this was occurring, fire attack personnel encountered high heat and low visibility and backed out of the structure without locating the seat of the fire. Engine 2 then reported that they had located a large loading bay door on another side of the building that had heavy smoke venting and they could see an orange glow of fire. Engine 2 was assigned to fire attack. They secured a water supply, pulled attack lines and entered the structure navigating a complex industrial layout while encountering high heat and low visibility.  They located the fire and effectively extinguished it.

Unit Citation- Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) Firefighter/Paramedics Salvador Reyes, Christopher Brandon, Jeff Endres, Kellan Trammel, Adrian Aust and Cory Tolman

The Yuma Fire Department has a special team of Firefighter/Paramedics who work closely with the Yuma Police Department Special Enforcement Team (SET). This YFD team is the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS).  The team provides emergency medical support to the SET team during tactical operations. The training these members go through is rigorous and specialized. TEMS members train 16 hours per month with YPD SET and respond all hours of the day and night. The TEMS team was active in, and led joint fire and police training exercises over the past two years.

Stork Pins - Firefighter/Paramedic Jared White and Firefighter Fernando Quintero on Medic 6 and Fire Captain/Paramedic Brandon Case, Fire Engineer Francisco Leon and Firefighter Gavin Goble on Engine 6:

On the stormy night of September 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm, Engine 6 and Medic 6 personnel were dispatched for an imminent delivery. Upon their arrival, they found a new baby girl and her 21-year-old mother in the front passenger seat.  Both baby and mother were transferred into Medic 6 and transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center where they were doing well.

In addition, recent YFD promotions and new hires were recognized.

Fire Captain: John Rundle

Fire Engineer: James Chaves

New Firefighters: Edwin Barcenas, Alejandro Cervantes, Alberto Hernandez III, Jody Martinez, Bryan Michaels, Carlos Munoz Jr., Colvin Slattery, and Cale Zimmer

Congratulations to all for a job well done! ##END##