Burning desire to learn PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:00
Genoa Township firefighter Michael Mahler is hauled onto a ladder by Maumee firefighter Nick Simon during an exercise on firefighter removal at the former Deck–Hanneman Funeral Home in BG. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Fire training wasn’t just blowing smoke last week in Bowling Green.
The biannual State Fire School offers training opportunities that many programs can’t — attacking real fires set in buildings donated to be destroyed as part of the school.
“We acquire real structures. That adds so much value to their training,” said Kerry Gonzalez, assistant director of State Fire School, coordinated by the BGSU Outreach office.
More than 400 firefighters spent last week in Bowling Green learning to put out fires, rescue victims and investigate possible arson.
The firefighters represented 132 fire departments and brigades from Ohio, Michigan and Canada. The classes were taught by instructors from Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina.
“It just adds another level of information they wouldn’t have access to,” Gonzalez said of the array of instructors.
“And you fill the class with people from all over the state,” to add
BG firefighter Jordan Walther monitors a burn-down of a house during a live exercise south of BG.
Alex Robinson of the Lubrizol Corporation in Painesville, Ohio, rappels down the side of Doyt Perry Stadium at BGSU, during a rope rescue exercise last week.
even more opportunity for firefighters to learn from each other.
To add realism to the training, two houses were donated by the university, and theformer armory and funeral home were donated by CVS to be used for search and ventilation training. The sites provided real-life experience on the dangers of entering, rescuing and escaping structures, Gonzalez said.
The training is particularly beneficial since many fire departments have had to cut or eliminate training budgets, Gonzalez said.
Scholarships are offered by groups such as Nationwide, to help pay for about 30 firefighters to attend.
Classes covered training on:
• Basic fire investigation, where fires were started then students investigated the scenes for arson.
• Basic and advanced rope rescue, where students rappelled from the BGSU football stadium and a city water tower.
• Fire tactics, where students fought an actual house fire outside city limits.
• Street smart engine and ladder operations, where students simulated search and ventilation techniques.
• Tactical emergency medicine, where students addressed some of the recent threats to firefighters at emergency scenes. Topics included the role of the medical provider, medical threat assessment and firearms use for medics.
Gonzalez credited area fire departments for providing equipment for the realistic training.
“The school is what it is because of our area departments,” she said, noting participation by fire departments from Bowling Green, Central Joint, Middleton Township, Weston, Maumee, Whitehouse and Toledo.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:08

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