Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:40PM - 586 Views
Daily News Staff

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Rachel Baldwin

Staff Writer

The 6th Annual Mingo County Fire and Rescue School is scheduled to be held from May 10th through May 12th, and members of the MCFCA have been meeting regularly to put the finishing touches on this year’s event.

As always, according to Williamson Fire Chief Jerry Mounts, the intended purpose of the weekend training event is to provide emergency responders with the best learning experience available on this particular weekend and this promises to live up to the billing.

This year, the WVU Fire Extension Service is conducting 2 live-fire burn classes at the local fire school. The first will take place on Saturday the 10th, using the Kidde ML-1000 two-story Mobile Fire Training Unit (MFTU). With sights, sounds, and flames, the mobile unit brings cutting-edge live-fire training experiences to the volunteer and career firefighter. Firefighters entering the unit are challenged with smoke, flames, sights, sounds and obstacles they typically encounter in commercial and residential structural fires. The system is controlled from an observation room by a lead instructor who can shut down the operations and ventilate the unit’s interior within 45 to 60 seconds. Environmentally sound, the MFTU is fueled by clean-burning propane and generates benign smoke that does not disturb the community.

On Sunday, WVU instructors will be training firefighters on Aircraft Rescue Firefighting. The (ARFF) training program is an intense hands-on class requiring participants to expose themselves to live fire exercises in very realistic situations. Firefighters experience live-fire exercises such as extinguishing a simulated wheel, engine, and cabin fire, as well as a large 1350 square ft. pit fire. They will encounter high heat and smoke filled environments, learn shut down procedures are performed in the cockpit of aircraft, learn how to operate throttles, fire bottles, and battery maneuvers as well.

Additional first responder classes for firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMS personnel include ground ladders and ventilation, the Art of Reading Smoke, the First 5 Minutes, a strategy and tactics course, emergency response To alternative fueled vehicles using an advanced hybrid WVU vehicle, HazMat Awareness, Clandestine Meth Lab, emergency response to natural gas emergencies, swift water rescue, and Integrity of Evidence for the First Responder; (the last five classes are all approved CEU/LET for hours). A CPR recertification class as well as AED (automatic external defibrillator) operation certification class will be conducted Friday evening at the Williamson Fire Department.

Also on tap for Friday evening is the Firefighter Endurance Challenge. Back by popular demand, this event was hugely successful during its first year. Chief Mounts said that it is designed as a friendly, but spirited competition to find out who’s the most physically fit firefighter or pair of firefighters in the region. Dressed in full PPE, contestants will be in an all-out race against the clock to see who can complete the 7 station battlefield of exercises that includes a 3 story climb, rescue lift and drag, equipment lift, ladder raise/climb, equipment carry, hose drag, and forcible entry stations, all designed to simulate typical fire ground activities that a firefighter is likely to encounter in the performance of his/her job. Cash prizes of $100 and $50 for 1st and 2nd place winners in the individual and 2 person team competition as well as trophies will be awarded.

“We strongly encourage firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMS personnel in our region to take advantage of this great weekend training opportunity as we come together to sharpen our skills and learn new techniques that will help all of us to remain proficient in our job as our respective community’s first line of defense during any emergency situation,” stated Mounts.

“Although most classes appear to be geared toward fire, EMS and police personnel only, the school is open to all individuals regardless of any affiliation with an emergency response agency or prior experience providing they meet any pre-requisites that may be required. Individuals seeking to renew their CPR certification will want to attend the Friday evening class.”

The school will be held on the campus of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, which affords excellent classroom facilities as well as more than adequate grounds for all the practical hands-on training evolutions in the field.

The Chief’s Association has worked very hard at keeping the cost of student tuition at ($35) which would not be possible without the generous support of the Mingo County Commission, Mingo County Office of Emergency Services, and the Mingo County Prosecutor’s Office. Not only does $35 entitle the student to certification level training, it also provides for a souvenir T-shirt, a welcome bag and a ticket to the all you can eat Saturday evening dinner and door prize giveaways as well. After dinner entertainment will be provided by DJ Dairy Paige. Fire equipment vendors will be on site Saturday.

The Fire and Rescue School is a production of the Mingo County Fire Chief’s Association in conjunction with WVU Fire Service Extension Service, RESA 3, West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, Mingo County Commission, Mingo County Emergency Services, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College and the City of Williamson.

For further information and pre-registration go to www.mingofirechiefs.com or contact Jerry Mounts at 304-235-2073 or 304-784-4411, wfdchief@suddenlinkmail.com, or John Hall at 304-475-2709 or 304-784-2032, jhalljr41@yahoo.com.

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