BUCKHANNON — Firefighters from near and far took advantage of intensive tactical trainings to help them better serve their communities last week. The Buckhannon Fire Department hosted the classes, which consisted of about 30 students from Adrian, Belington, Bridgeport, Buckhannon, Charleston, and Dunbar fire departments, as well as instructors from Michigan and North Carolina.
The trainings included classroom instruction along with hands-on scenarios, including thermal imaging camera use. The classroom training was held at the Buckhannon Fire Department (BFD), while live on-site exercises were held at West Virginia Wesleyan College’s (WVWC) Camden Complex, prior to its demolition. Cumulatively, the BFD amassed over 370 training hours during the four days of instruction.
Thomas Anderson of Insight Fire was the lead instructor for the training. Anderson cited statistics that the use of thermal imaging cameras allows firefighters to locate victims inside a burning building that may be filled with smoke up to 70 percent faster than without the use of the technology. Anderson called the training “absolutely invaluable” and was grateful the BFD and WVWC worked together to provide the training.
Approximately 30 firefighters role-played scenarios to help them become better equipped to save lives. Firefighters had to secure safe passage into the building by clearing an entrance, while other firefighters scanned the smoke-filled rooms using the thermal imaging cameras to locate victims. One of the firefighters directed the others to look for victims, then handed the victims to waiting firefighters who carried them down ladders to safety.
BFD Chief J.B. Kimble was thankful to the Mayor, City Council, sponsors and WVWC for working together to secure the use of the Camden Complex for the training. “We are fortunate to have such support in the community that we are given opportunities like this,” Kimble said. “It is long, hot training, but these firefighters are up to the challenge. It just shows how dedicated they are,” Kimble added.