WEDOWEE - In the past year, Randolph County volunteer fire departments (VFD) responded to more than 2,300 calls from E911, of which 20 percent were fire-related and 5 percent being structure fires.
While not a large percentage, no call is more important or critical to our volunteer first responders. In fact, fire suppression is your VFD's core mission.
This past week, volunteer firefighters sharpened their skills by attending Mobile Fire Suppression Training (aka the "burn trailer") provided by Alabama Fire College. The burn trailer provides as realistic training as possible without actually burning a structure. The trailer is set up so that several evolutions can be run to train and practice search and rescue procedures and fire suppression techniques, all while gaining confidence in knowing the turnout gear our volunteers are wearing will protect them in some of the most extreme environments.
Wedowee VFD hosted the training at their station this past week and conducted more than 16 hours of training over the course of four days. Joe Craft of Wedowee VFD coordinated and helped train more than 50 volunteers who were run through the paces in practicing all sorts of scenarios while practicing communications techniques to include recognizing visual cues and using hand signals.
Firefighter training can be intense and physically demanding. The trailer provides a controlled environment that is supervised by an instructor who can stop the exercise and discuss alternative options and procedures that students can learn from. Additionally, the fire college provides an operator who provides a safety over-watch during the whole evolution. Should anything go sideways, he can shut things down immediately.
The training then becomes one of an academic situation where instructor and students can discuss what happened, learn how to improve tactics, techniques and procedures, and then try again. The confidence gained through this training is vital in providing our community with the most capable fire suppression capability we can in order to protect our residents and their property.
When the tones drop for a structure fire, it is not the time to be thinking about what we need to do. By investing in this type of training, our volunteers are ready and able to react as they've been trained. Many thanks to the Alabama Fire College, Wedowee VFD, all the departments that sent their volunteers to train and Blossman Gas Company for their donation that enabled this training to take place.
Your family is part of ours; the dedicated members of all Randolph County VFDs provide safe, prompt and professional emergency services and fire prevention activities to the communities we are entrusted to protect and serve.