By Jim CunninghamJuly 14, 2008
USAG-RED CLOUD-Garrison firefighters recently completed 11 days of Live Fire Practical Training, held June 22 through July 2, to certify at the same level as firefighters in the continental United States.
The certification process also included three weeks of classroom instruction at Camp Stanley's Education Center, according to Kenneth Williams, USAG-RC Fire Department training and safety officer. "We certify them in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association Standards," he said. "It is not a mandatory requirement; however, it is best for everyone overall to be certified and trained."
Williams enlisted the Bucks County Community College in Bucks County, Pa., to provide qualified instructors to train and certify USAG-RC firefighters in accordance to NFP standards.
"Our firefighters were not certified," said Williams. "Their requirements are to receive training similar to U.S. Civilian firefighters but they do not have to meet U.S. standards. However, we are trying to do as much for our firefighters as we can in Warrior Country."
Williams said there are advantages for receiving this type of training. "If we can train them to U.S. standards, then we will benefit the post overall and ensure the safety of victims and our firefighters."
Firefighters received safety instruction before the live, practical training on Camp Hovey's Mount site so students would know what to expect during the live-burn, and what the instructors expected as well.
"Once they conducted the live fire training performance evaluation," Williams explained, "they were divided into two teams and constantly rotated until everyone filled every position."
During the training, firefighters would deploy hose lines to where the fire was set; conduct a safety check to make sure their personal protective equipment was on properly; and insure their personal alert devices were operating. After finding themselves ready, they would go in and attack the fire.
"They had two separate fires inside the building," Williams said. "Two hand-lines went in to attack each fire, and they practiced searching for any victims that may be in the area."
Fires were extinguished under no-visibility conditions, Williams explained. "It was completely dark with smoke.
"After ventilating the fire," he said, "they could then see the fire; attack it; extinguish the flames; and complete their search for victims. "Afterwards, they back out because you never turn your back on a fire."
After the culmination of five weeks of training, John Cook, USAG-RC fire chief, said, "Now our firefighters are certified to American standards as both journeymen and professional firefighters."