Firefighters always benefit from training, but so does the community. The more efficient we are, the better our reactions in a real emergency. For that reason, our fire department hosted an all-day training event Saturday. Firefighters practiced SCBA skills, nozzles, search and rescue and live fire fighting.
I played a victim for search and rescue. I felt a bit like I’d been typecast into the helpless female role, but I did get the chance to run back in to cause havoc. 🙂 Dan took this picture while I was waiting for rescue.
Below are some guys practicing with the nozzles while the chief gives pointers. Patterns are important when attacking fire. Some situations call for the straight pattern while others need the fog with a wider spray. This practice is needed because in an emergency situation, firemen wear heavy gear that includes thick gloves. The clicks are different and depend on the type of nozzle used. Practice minimizes errors.
In spite of the temperature today (almost 100 degrees), firefighters spent the afternoon in gear for some good, clean fun.
Checking things out before the battles begin….
Time to gear up!
Mullen won their first two water fights.
Before I get into what the fire departments did today, I have to tell you that I didn’t do much more than take a ton of pictures. I had planned to do something during our training, but I didn’t feel confident enough to try. Long story, but unimportant right now. I participated in Thursday’s classroom component, so I was happy about that.
Firefighters from five departments gathered at the Mullen Volunteer Fire Department’s training center today in 80-degree heat to don SCBA packs and heavy gear to train to keep the communities safe.
An obstacle course was the first order of business. Firefighters had to crawl, carry hose, move a tire, drag a railroad tie and use a sledge hammer (for two minutes) against the clock—and do the course in reverse order to get back to the beginning. They had the option of stopping if they felt like they were in trouble, but most opted to finish in spite of fatigue and heat.
“Hercules” made it look easy!
While some were doing obstacles, others were in the building crawling through boxes. The purpose was to learn techniques for navigating small spaces in the dark. Learning not to panic is the key to survival. Practice is necessary to avoid panic.
This is an example of what firefighters faced inside.
This board slides into the box to make the opening narrower.
Lunch was served (pizza!), and the firefighters went back to work. They practiced search and rescue as well as fighting live fire. New firefighters (and veteran members of the departments) learned and/or reviewed how to ventilate a room and work the nozzles. It was a hard day’s work, but safety is worth it.
It sure was fun to cut this car apart and break the windows!
Cutting up the car!
Thanks to Tyler, I snapped this picture.
As you can see, Grand Island takes Fire School seriously. I learned that Long John Silver’s gives firefighters a discount, too. Many businesses do the same, and it is very much appreciated.
I went to a workshop called Volunteer Retention and Recruitment. Apparently, recruitment is not a problem exclusive to rural volunteer fire departments because there were 20 of us from all over Nebraska. It was nice to meet J. D., one of our dispatchers from Ogallala. The instructors, Greg Render and Kevin Quinn, were wonderful. Lyndsay, the super assistant, kept them organized. Greg Reddin, Project Director for ADAPT, also shared a lot of information with us. Most Fire School classes run 1-3 Friday, 8-3 Saturday and 8-12 Sunday. Mine was a bit different because we were in session Friday 12-5 and Saturday 8-5 (with a lunch break, of course).
Lyndsay is enthusiastic and knowledgeable!
The best part of the workshop for me was leaving class with a solid plan to recruit new volunteers. Lyndsay scanned our plans while we shared in class. She will follow up with each of us as the year progresses to make sure we are on target. As a technology junkie, I especially appreciated the flash drive and CD with sample documents to use in the recruitment process.
I hope to be able to implement some of the ideas from class. Realistically, some may not work for my area, but I sure can try!
Greg Reddin, ADAPT Director
Kevin and Greg–awesome instructors!