Fifteen members of the Paducah Fire Department in addition to members of the Mayfield, Kentucky and Chattanooga, Tennessee fire departments are attending the Fire Ground Survival Training Program this week at the Julian Carroll Convention Center. This 32-hour course trains the firefighters to be Fire Ground Survival Program instructors. They are learning life-saving actions that firefighters would use if they become lost, disoriented, injured, low on air, or trapped.
Last September, the City of Paducah received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Department of Homeland Security to be the host site for this training program. The grant also provided Paducah with the training materials and equipment.
Paducah Fire Department Deputy Chief of Operations Kevin McKellips says, “Firefighter safety is the main goal of this training program. At the end of the day and after fighting fires, we all want to go home to our families.”
IAFF Fire Ground Survival Master Instructor Danny Garcia with the Phoenix, Arizona Fire Department says, “Firefighters receive extensive training on rescuing victims and putting out fires. However, the purpose of this course is to revisit basic skills that may be overlooked but are critical if we, as fire fighters, need to save ourselves.”
Garcia says the program’s goals are for firefighters to stay calm and be confident, rely on their training so that they can manipulate their gear and identify potentially dangerous situations and egress points, and make life-saving decisions when faced with extremely stressful situations.
Currently six trainers from across the United States and Canada are training the firefighters and sharing their experiences. They spent yesterday and this morning focusing on classroom instruction. Later today, tomorrow, and Thursday, they will use training equipment that simulate entanglement situations, a structure collapse, and zero visibility situations.