Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fire training gets a boost

Earlier this month, the valley fire departments honed their fire-fighting skills by responding to nine structure fires in a six-hour time frame. Luckily, these fires were all intentionally set at the Cliffview Apartments (a building slated for demolition) for training purposes only and did not cause anyone to lose anything of value.

The ability to train in a real building with real fire is extremely valuable to our firefighters. With growing development, the elimination of empty lots and the lack of an emergency training facility, realistic training opportunities are scarce.

The Ketchum Fire Department would like to thank the many people that made this opportunity possible. Property owner David McDonald's generous donation allowed us to train on the building for the past six months and to conduct live fire training without having to burn the building to thc ground (usually the cost incentive). Thank you, David and assistant Karly Maratea, for your involvement and support of emergency services training.

Secondly, the neighbors in West Ketchum were extremely supportive of our efforts. For six months, firefighters have been running chain saws, climbing ladders, pumping water and practicing on the structure. Without their support, our training would have been curtailed. 'Thank you to many of you who came out to watch our firefighters in action.

Additionally, I would like to thank Stock Building Supply and Houston Lumber for donating materials needed for the burn.

Training with the other valley departments is invaluable since on larger incidents we depend on their response. Thank you, Sun Valley, Wood River and Hailey fire departments for your participation. It is always a pleasure working with all of you. Thanks also the city departments who worked extra hard to fit our needs into their workday—the Ketchum Utilities, Street and Police departments.

Because there is no fire- training facility in Blaine County, the fire departments often have to simulate many of the fire ground tasks when training. The valley firefighters take pride in having the skills to professionally and efficiently assist the public in their times of need. Thank you to all who helped make this training opportunity a reality.

Tory Frank Canfield

Fire Training Officer

Ketchum Fire Department

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