Train With Neighbor Departments

We all know that training is key to making what we do when the tones sound safer for everyone on the incident scene. How often do we train with our neighbors? The neighbors that we may have to call on for mutual aid or call us for mutual aid. Training together we learn from each other, what our capabilities are, learn what equipment is available, and get the chance to use the equipment we may not carry but our neighbors do and vice versa.

Sikeston DPS was given two school buses from the Sikeston Public Schools and invited their neighbors to join them on June 11 at a salvage yard to train together. Working together, they learned what extrication tools and techniques worked better on vehicles that, fortunately, don’t get involved in as many crashes as passenger vehicles. Only 0.3% of crashes involve buses and school vehicles (Grover, 2021).

If you’ve never worked at opening up a school bus, the construction is different and tougher, to protect the precious cargo they carry. The joint training with Sikeston DPS, Morehouse Fire Department, Miner Fire Department, and Scott County Rural Fire Protection District allowed firefighters the opportunity to work together and learn the areas that can be accessed easily and those that require more work. They also learned how many people it takes to make access safely. A big shout out to the Sikeston Public Schools for their donation of the buses and to all of the firefighters that took time out of their weekend to spend a hot day to work on skills to protect lives.

Cape Girardeau Fire Department brought National Rescue Consultants to Cape Girardeau to teach rapid intervention techniques. Cape Girardeau Fire Department invited crews from Jackson Fire Department and Fruitland Area Fire Protection District to participate in the training. All three shift rotations worked together for two days each over a week, learning ways to get a downed firefighter to safety using ground ladders, RIT packs, webbing, and several other tools that are carried on the apparatus. There was also an evolution utilizing an aerial platform.

In speaking with one of the instructors, he pointed out that in stressful situations, we lose our fine motor skills coupled with being in gear that restricts our movements. The techniques they teach give firefighters ways to overcome the loss of dexterity and limited mobility while still being able to perform a successful rescue.

Watching a portion of the hands-on training, crews that work the same shift rotations from three different organizations worked very well together. The building of confidence in each other in a relatively short amount of time was an awesome thing to see. Well done Cape Girardeau Fire Department in bringing in a training program that focused on saving our own.

North Cape County Fire Protection District and Fruitland Area Fire Protection District have been training together in an acquired structure. 

This opportunity has allowed both districts to work together on searching in limited conditions using limited openings to gain access and egress. With the assistance of the Jackson Fire Department, firefighters also used water cans to extinguish small fires that were confined to small areas in a room.

Later this month more joint trainings have been set up with Cape Girardeau Fire Department, Jackson Fire Department, and Fruitland Area Fire Protection District in drafting water, relay pumping, and supplying aerial devices. Until next time, stay safe out there, and thank you for what you do for your communities.