By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
When former Fire Marshall Kory Krause announced last year that he would transfer to the Building and Zoning Department, the Liberal Fire Department had some rather big shoes to fill. Fire Chief Kelly Kirk is confident that former A-shift LFD Captain Cody Regier is the man for the job.
Krause transferred to the Building and Zoning Department on the first Monday of January. Regier began his duties on Jan. 3 and was able to work along side Krause for the first week.
The promotion process, Kirk said, began in December of 2010. Three officers on the department threw their hats in the ring for the opportunity.
“We started well in advance, so we had actually went through the promotion process back in December,” Kirk said. “We had Cody selected and ready to go in January.”
Krause’s extensive experience, Kirk said, afforded him the title of Fire Marshall. Regier will be working as efficiently as possible to obtain certifications that will ultimately give him the title of Fire Marshall.
Until then, Kirk said, Regier’s title will be Fire Prevention Inspector.
“Krause was on the department for 17 years and in that position for 12 or 15 years,” he said. “His certification and his job changed over the years from going out and doing the basic fire inspections to plans review. He would review plans for all of the fire safety systems and structures, sprinkler systems, smoke dampers and all of that. So, Kory actually assumed the title of Fire Marshall and basically handled the administration of the department.
“Cody, coming into this position, doesn’t have that training or experience level,” he continued. “So, he is actually coming in as what would be preparing to be a Fire Marshall, his title is Fire Prevention Inspector. He is going to have to fast track some certifications
Kirk said at best, there could be an 18-month window in which Regier could meet all requirements to become Liberal’s Fire Marshall. However, Regier said two to three years is a realistic time frame.
Currently, Regier is conducting basic fire inspections on all businesses throughout the City of Liberal. With approximately 3,800 businesses within the city limits that require an annual inspection, Regier has his work cut out for him.
“Basically, I just go find a spot where there are a lot of businesses and start coming down the street,” he said. “I hope to start at the north end of town and basically work my way all the way across to the south end.
“Most of the basic things are we are checking for fire extinguishers, making sure they have them, making sure they are in date,” he explained. “I am checking for exit signs and making sure they are lit up. If there are sprinkler systems, we are checking those – making sure they are functional. I will make sure they aren’t storing things too close to a hot water heater, furnace or things like that. Really, I am looking for basic fire hazards.
“If there is a violation, I write it down and explain it to them,” Regier added. “The big thing is just educating them. A lot of them, you will tell them something is wrong, but they don’t know why. As soon as I explain it, then they understand it. So, the big thing is getting to every business at least once each year and educating them on what needs to be done. They are pretty receptive to that.”
Kirk wishes for businesses to know that Regier is coming onto their property in a positive light in order to educate them and see to it they are conducting business safely.
“We have a duty to do this,” Kirk said. “Cody doesn’t walk through that door with the intent to shut anyone down or cost them a big chunk of money. He is looking for things that people are doing that they may not even be aware that they are doing.
“For the most part, businesses are very receptive,” he continued. “They take care of that usually without being told. His goal when he walks out of there is to leave them with information about how to make their building a safer place to be and prevent things that could cause a fire and put them out of business. He is trying to work with them, not against them.”