KFRTI expands reach in western Kansas with annual fire school partnership, new remote hire
OVERLAND PARK — When Kelly McCoy, director of Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI), was hired in July 2020, the Fire Service Training Commission (FSTC) charged him with increasing training opportunities for volunteer firefighters in western Kansas. McCoy and his colleagues were up to the task.
KFRTI – a unit of University of Kansas Lifelong & Professional Education (LPE) – hired its first fully remote regional training program coordinator, Matthew Breininger, on March 13. Breininger lives in Goodland and serves as the volunteer training officer with the Sherman County Rural Fire Department. With this new hire, KFRTI hopes to expand their training opportunities for fire and emergency services personnel in western Kansas. Breininger is also responsible for coordinating fire and rescue training in the southwest, northwest and north-central regions of the state.
“I’m excited to be in this new role because of what it will do for the western region and the possibilities it brings for collaboration and new roles within KFRTI,” Breininger said. “I will be working closely with the departments in my region to promote the training and networking necessary to improve the capabilities of the departments, as well as the safety of the citizens of this region.”
KFRTI partnered with Sherman County Rural Fire Department for the 2022 KFRTI Goodland Fire School on March 25-27, a cooperative event to advance the knowledge and skills of Kansas firefighters. This event combined the annual fire schools normally held by KFRTI and Goodland Fire Department into one. All Kansas firefighters, ranging from probationary members to fire chiefs, were invited to choose event sessions that promoted knowledge, skills and fellowship.
“I’d like to say thank you to KFRTI for helping make the Goodland Regional Fire School a success,” said Brian James, fire chief for the Sherman County Rural Fire Department. “We hope that we can build off this year’s school, and we look forward to working with KFRTI in the future to bring more exciting regional fire schools every year in Goodland.
The next annual fire school event will take place in Goodland from March 31 to April 2, 2023. The intent is to offer courses and programs firefighters do not normally have access to in a given year.
“During my time with KFRTI, we – LPE leadership, KFRTI and the FSTC – have worked diligently to address training opportunities for communities in western Kansas,” McCoy said, “and we plan to continue our mission to provide crucial training for fire and emergency response personnel living in those areas.”
About the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute
Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI) is a unit of University of Kansas Lifelong & Professional Education housed on the Lawrence campus. The institute was created in 1949 by Kansas Legislature with the mission to train and credential Kansas firefighters in local jurisdictions. The institute serves fire departments and firefighters through a “traveling instruction service,” providing hundreds of training and certification events each year in counties across the state of Kansas.
The mission of Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute is to provide accessible, comprehensive training and credentialing for fire and emergency response personnel to promote health and safety in Kansas communities.
Top photo: Firefighters participate in the Annual Fire School, which took place in March 2022 in Goodland.
Right photo: Matthew Breininger, Western Regional Training Program Coordinator.