Firefighters participate in intensive training sessions
RIDGELAND — Numerous training sessions, from physical fitness to extrication, dive, rope rescue, and ladder skills training, are helping the Ridgeland Fire Department better serve citizens.
“Our training program is the most vital part of our department,” Fire Chief Matt Bailey said. “The amount of training we conduct ensures we met the needs of our community – the safety of our citizens is our number one priority. We are not just firefighters – we are a multi-task agency skilled in many other disciplines, such as rescue and medical services.”
The Ridgeland Fire Department conducts biannual physical fitness testing to ensure members can safely and effectively perform their duties, said firefighter Nathan Bell, RFD’s training officer.
Testing is conducted in April and October each year and Bell oversees the coordination and planning for all training throughout the year. He said the many focus areas of training are crucial, but said the foundation is physical fitness.
During April, Ridgeland firefighters sharpened their skills reviewing a number of techniques including using airbags to lift a vehicle off a patient, struts to stabilize a vehicle on its side, and the Jaws of Life to remove doors and roofs to gain access to trapped patients.
“We want to give a special thank you to Capital Towing for donating the vehicles and staging them for the three separate training scenarios and to Northpark for providing the location for the training,” Bailey said.
Firefighters also worked on their rope rescue and patient packaging skills. They were given a scenario where a worker had a medical emergency on a roof. Firefighters had to us a ladder to get to and treat the patient, package the patient, and safely get the patient to the ground.
Finally, the team learned new diving techniques with the Public Safety Diver Survival Course designed to improve and elicit automatic responses in survival situations. Participants learn techniques to minimize the effects of emotional and physiological stress based on research on public safety scuba injuries and deaths over several decades, Bailey said.