Fire­fight­ers hold joint ex­er­cise at Rock­mart fa­cil­ity

The Standard Journal - - Local - By AGNES HAGIN Se­nior As­sis­tant Edi­tor

Fire­fight­ers from Rock­mart, Cedar­town and Car­roll County par­tic­i­pated in Fire­fighter II train­ing for state cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The joint ex­er­cise, held at Rock­mart Fire Depart­ment, pro­vides a bench­mark for 20 fire­fight­ers seek­ing to move from ba­sic to more ad­vanced skills re­quired for a ca­reer fire­fighter.

Chief Todd Queen said a proc­tor mon­i­tor from Pauld­ing County is avail­able to mea­sure each in­di­vid­ual’s abil­ity to per­form es­sen­tial func­tions re­quired to ex­e­cute du­ties of a fire­fighter.

Ca­reer fire­fight­ers con­stantly train to hone skills, ac­cord­ing to Deputy Chief Ran­dall Chupp.

“Train­ing is the cor­ner­stone of a fire­fighter’s du­ties,” he said. “It is de­signed to save lives and property. There is no room for er­ror when an­swer­ing a call to a struc­ture fire.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, fire­fight­ers con­stantly train to meet lo­cal, state and na­tional re­quire­ments.

The In­sur­ance Ser­vice Of­fice (ISO) re­quires fire­fight­ers to train 16 hours per week or 192 hours each year. To be cer­ti­fied, the state man­dates 24 hours and staff must re­ceive an additional 40 hours to be­come an Emer­gency Med­i­cal Tech­ni­cian (EMT).

Chupp said new ma­te­ri­als in build­ings and ve­hi­cles have brought additional chal­lenges to train­ing sched­ules.

Hy­brid cars are one ex­am­ple, he said. “Man­u­fac­tur­ers are re­quired to mark ev­ery­thing, but it is hid­den be­neath sheet metal and each one is dif­fer­ent.”

This re­quires added dili­gence for fire­fight­ers who must know where the elec­tric com­po­nents, fuel tank and other en­hance­ments are lo­cated.

Man­u­fac­tured floor joists can also be an is­sue for fire­fight­ers.

“If we have a project in Rock­mart, we view how the build­ing is put to­gether,” Chupp said. “The joists can fail within five min­utes, which could start a chain re­ac­tion that re­sults in roof col­lapse.

“As train­ing of­fi­cer, it is my job to sched­ule classes that will keep our fire­fight­ers safe,” Chupp said.

To meet these goals, lo­cal fire­fight­ers con­tinue to uti­lize the train­ing fa­cil­ity at Rock­mart Fire Depart­ment. The project be­gan as a joint ven­ture be­tween city and county of­fi­cials.

Ini­tially, the County pro­vided $26,000 and Rock­mart added $1,500 from a Wal-Mart grant and $6,000 Lo­cal Govern­ment Risk Man­age­ment Ser­vices grant. To­tal proj- ect cost was about $35,000. In Rock­mart, lo­cal staff pro­vided 90 per­cent of the la­bor.

The de­ci­sion for the joint en­deavor came due to cuts made in the state budget that elim­i­nated some of the live fire train­ing in Forsyth, Ge­or­gia.

Queen said – at the time – there were few build­ings where these classes could be con­ducted. Due to EPD reg­u­la­tions, it was also dif­fi­cult to ac­quire a struc­ture for a burn that meets re­quired stan­dards.

Vis­its were made to sev­eral towns to view other fa­cil­i­ties and de­signs. The de­ci­sion was made to pur­chase five steel ship­ping con­tain­ers – four 40 foot­ers and a 20 footer.

The two-story burn sim­u­la­tor al­lows for train­ing at grade, be­low and above grade lev­els.

Fire­fight­ers can also hone skills with a forcible or roof en­try sim­u­la­tor, search and res­cue, rope and re­pelling, pres­sur­ized con­trol, ve­hi­cle ex­tri­ca­tion, work­ing in con­fined spa­ces and more.

“The train­ing fa­cil­ity has been a win, win for city and county fire­fight­ers,” Queen said. “We of­ten work to­gether when called to struc­ture fires so these train­ing ses­sions are a ben­e­fit to city and county staff.”

The train­ing fa­cil­ity at Rock­mart Fire Depart­ment was used for a joint ex­er­cise to hone skills re­quired for ca­reer fire­fight­ers.

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