By Lauren Brant
Of the nearly 1,200 firefighter students present at the 81st annual fire school on May 17–20, ten Gordon firefighters participated. The state fire school weekend took place at Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb.
While there, they learned about new equipment and tactics through hands-on education to keep themselves and the public safe.
Chad Allison, Susan Hill, Toby Cotant, Chad Rittgarn, Shane Pascale, Rick Burleigh, Neil Skinner, Kyle Kruger, Emil American Horse, and Shane Elmquist completed a variety of training classes. The fire school this year consisted of 26 classes that addressed firemanship, fire investigation, rescue, fire safety, leadership, officer training, fire prevention and EMS.
The classes provide hands-on training with a variety of fire scenarios. Rittgarn, Hill, and Cotant took a fire investigation course where they had to determine the cause and location of the blaze after a room was set on fire.
Allison completed a wildland interface class where he learned how to control fires in forests as well as buildings and communities.
Burleigh and Skinner did a flashover simulator. The flashover phase of a fire is a transitional phase between the growth phase and fully developed phase. Thus, this stage is when the fuel heats up to its ignition point, which occurs at a temperature between 900 to 1,200 degrees F. While laying down in the simulator, they learned how hot a fire is at that phase.
Pascale took a crime scene investigation course to look at the investigative side of fires and also received more training in vehicle extrication.
Emil American Horse completed a ropes class, which taught firefighters how to properly harness people to remove them from cliffs, particularly when at high elevations.
Elmquist took basic vehicle extrication where he used the jaws of life to dismantle a vehicle. Next year, Elmquist will be able to complete the heavy equipment and farm equipment extrication.
Kyle Kruger completed heavy equipment and farm equipment extrication, which requires firefighters to have successfully completed the basic vehicle extrication before taking that class.
The City of Gordon and the Rural Fire District split the cost of the courses to compensate the firefighters. Some courses can cost around $100.