Critical training to save lives

Article Published: 04/28/2016

By Business & Marketing Junior Rocio Gonzalez (Norwalk HS)

Firefighters from Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and New York came  together for a training event on April 15 & 16 at Huron County Fairgrounds.  Organized by EHOVE Adult Career Center and Northern Ohio FOOLS (Fraternal Order of Leatherhead Society), the training is designed to prepare these first responders for crash and rescue scenarios.  

Funded by the Northern Ohio FOOLS, the event is split into two sessions;  Heavy Rescue 101 and Crash Site Rescue.   Organizers had to obtain the heavy equipment needed to set up the scenarios, and the vehicles that were used in the training. They contacted the tool reps. and instructors to bring the newest tools and equipment to be used for training, as well as got the site prepared and cleaned up after the event. Jamie Starcher, EHOVE Fire Training Coordinator, says he learned many new things from this event because instructors bring many years of experience to share. He says “When you are responding to someone who is counting on you to rescue them, you need all the knowledge you can get. No two accidents or calls are the same.”

Some of the activities from Friday were a discussion about Continental Flight 3407, a plane crash that killed 54 people, which was presented by Mike Kluck and Bill Major of the Buffalo New York Airport Fire Department. Also, Lt. Pete Zimmermann from Sandusky Fire covered aircraft rescue procedures. On Saturday with 327 total firefighters, activities varied from Hands on Training Sessions (H.O.T.) and Basic Track like Glass/Door/Roof Removal, Scene Hazards, Basic Stabilization, Plan B Extrication and Advanced Track like Advanced Stabilization, Side Impact, Commercial Vehicle Extrication, Under-ride scenarios, and Limited Access Scenarios. Starcher’s  favorite part of this event was that Firefighters come from 7 states and learn together, also seeing friends that have been coming to this training event for years.

When asked about modern fires, Starcher also shares, “Fires today are much more dangerous than fires 10 or 20 years ago. New construction techniques are making the homes/buildings lighter, more energy efficient, and way more prone to collapse under fire conditions than older buildings.” “The fires are growing in size much faster now. This is caused by the types of materials we have in our homes. The couches, mattresses, furniture, and everything in your house is made with synthetic materials (mainly plastics). The fire service refers to these materials as ‘solidified gasoline’ because when they're heated, they give off highly volatile and toxic gases that ignite easily and burn extremely hot.”

“Smoke detectors are now more important than ever,” he said. “Early notification of a fire is the key to surviving a fire. Fires in your home are not like we see on t.v. or the movies. They are very dangerous and will take lives in seconds.  I have been to fires where the occupants did not survive. If they had working smoke detectors that cost $5-$10, they would have had a better chance of survival.”

To see more photos from the event, go to  Photos are viewable with or without a Facebook account.