Firefighters hold joint exercise at Rockmart facility
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.