My version of a “power lunch” tends to be working out in the weight room in the Fire building. It’s not just good for my fitness, it’s a great chance to touch base with the firefighters and see what’s going on in their world. Last week, Kent’s firefighters battled heavy smoke, cut holes and broke down walls in order to save people trapped in a burning house. The smoke and house were real, but in this case, it was all part of a training effort. This is just one way Kent’s firefighters make sure they’ll be ready when you need them.
Like any job, there are things about being a firefighter that can wear you down. Especially when you’re on call for 24 hour shifts. Sleep is a luxury you don’t often get. But few things seem to perk firefighters up more than training under live conditions.
Even with all the gear, climbing into a burning building can still be a real test of nerve and skill. And this week, Kent’s firefighters had a chance to do just that.
Here’s a summary that Chief Williams sent me describing the training that was going on last week:
“During the past week, the City of Kent Fire Department has been involved in several training classes to improve the capabilities of our personnel and some members of other departments as well.
The first class was a Hazardous Materials Technician class that three of our newer firefighters were involved in. This class teaches the firefighters how to properly dress for and enter into a hazardous material incidents as well as safety precautions, research information and working with specialized tools. The firefighters found that working inside of a suit that keeps all outside air from entering into the suit, can be both physically challenging and exhausting.
The other class is a refresher class for all of our firefighters that we do on annual bases. This training is specialized to teach firefighter both how to rescue themselves and other firefighters that may become trapped inside of a burning or collapsed building. There are four other departments in Portage County that do this type of training and we are typically called into assist other fire departments when they have a large or significantly challenging fire to deal with. This training was done in conjunction with the Rootstown Fire Department in a house that was donated to them for training purposes.”
I could tell the training was a success by how animated the firefighters were as they relived the feeling of pushing their way through walls and heavy smoke to achieve their training objectives.
It was enough to make me want to be a firefighter when I grow up. Until then, I’m glad we’ve got these guys out there working for us.