The Stephenville Professional Fire Fighters Association has paired with the Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue team to host a fire operations training Saturday, where six locals will learn the ins and outs of fire rescue.
Captain Cody Wells of the Stephenville Fire Department explained how SPFFA is an affiliate of the International Association of Fire Fighters, “which developed this program as a means of educating people who are in a leadership role in their community, members of the media and other members of business and industry about how fire fighters do their jobs, and the equipment and personnel it takes to perform certain tasks on an emergency scene.”
Wells said part of the responsibility of the fire department is to educate the public about their fire services.
“The purpose of the event is to educate community leaders and media on the different aspects of operating on different types of emergency scenes,” Wells said. “This program is designed to give them a better understanding of what goes into the job so that they are equipped to make better, informed decisions when they are faced with those matters.”
Participants will go through five exercises that will consist of two live fire evolutions, an extrication evolution, a medical scenario and a ladder evolution. Participants will learn how to use a self-contained breathing apparatus, which is essential when breathing in heavy smoke.
“They will learn to battle a live fire and respond to anticipated fire behavior such as flashover. They will use the hydraulic rescue tools to remove a victim from a wrecked vehicle,” Wells added. “They will simulate an emergency medical call involving a patient in cardiac arrest. They will climb the aerial ladder to perform a rescue of a victim trapped on an upper floor. They will be involved in the rescue of a downed fire fighter during the course of structure fire operations.”
The program will also help members of the media who report on emergencies like these to have a better understanding of what they are seeing and the equipment being used. Reporters will be able to reflect on their experience from the training to report a more detailed, educated article in the future.
“We have members of the media who report on emergencies that happen in the city and county and frequently make it to the actual scene of the emergency. At an accident scene when the rescue tools are being used to extricate a victim from a vehicle, they will have used those same tools at this event and will know what it is taking to get that person out. They'll be able to produce more informed reporting,” Wells said.
Even though this is the first time for them to host a hands-on training, they are expecting six residents to go through the full program they have planned, with two others observing only.
“We invited many more than that and we're hoping for a better turnout but we hope this initial event might stir some interest and we can have more folks the next time around,” Wells said.
The training is taking place at the Stephenville Fire Training field near the airport from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Wells said this is not open to the public since the training will have potentially dangerous activities.