September 22, 2014

Area firefighters convene in Sterling for hands-on training

John Fsicher
Chris Bowling, Richland-Logan Fire Department.
Tim Barnum
Chris Bowling (right), Richland-Logan Fire Department, works to break out a ventilation hole in a mock roof during training on March 7 in Sterling. His partner, Bill Wickwire, Rose City Fire Department, is also pictured.
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By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STERLING — When firefighters are paged to a scene there are several issues they have no control over, yet have to deal with, one being weather. But firefighters in training on Saturday, March 7 at the Sterling Area Fire Department fire barn were exposed to what it’s like combating a fire in driving rain.

According to the training course manager Ray Delaney, a member of the Sterling Area Fire Department, 28 students, all volunteer firefighters, from 11 different departments in Arenac, Ogemaw and Bay counties, participated in the hands-on training to make progress towards gaining state certification.

“Within a year’s time (of joining the force) they (new members) have to complete firefighter I. … This (training) is the state regulation to be certified firefighter I,” Delaney said, adding before being qualified to be certified, the students need to complete 152 hours of training. “Their state testing is in May. There’s a written and a practical, hands-on test.

“A lot of these guys have never been on a fire scene.”

Delaney adds since most of the students were still green when it came to putting out a fire, the practical training on Saturday, which supplements first aid, CPR and book work sessions that started in January and are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, demonstrated the proper ways to carry ladders, climb ladders at a fire scene, breaking windows and venting roofs.

Specifically last weekend, the hands-on training focused on safely and effectively venting a roof during a structure fire.

The training was free for the students and was one of four hands-on days for the firefighters in training.

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