Training gives new firefighters experience

An Entry Level Fire School, which began in February, continued last week with a module on Exterior Firefighter at an abandoned house on Barton Run Road.

City of Warren Fire Department Operations and Training Officer Joe Beardsley said that the current model is the last one available to junior fire fighters under the age of 18, as the next one will be a live fire for interior firefighting at the same location.

He said while the school is designed as an entry level course, some veteran firefighters also participated, some because they wanted a refresher course.

Firefighters from Starbrick, Youngsville, Clarendon, Glade, Pleasant, Scandia and Russell Volunteer Fire Departments are taking the course, and instructors Gail Anderson and John Riggle joined Beardsley Tuesday evening. Beardsley noted that they try to do one of these schools each year, and said, “This is the biggest class we’ve had in years.”

Beardsley said the exterior module focused on victim rescue, exposure protection for adjacent structures and water supply.

According to the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy Entry level Fire Training Curriculum Policy, earlier modules were Introduction to Fire Support, a 16-hour class and Fire Ground Support, a 32-hour class.

The Exterior Firefighter is a 52-hour class, and the Interior Firefighter is a 40-hour course. A final 24-hour Advanced Firefighter course is designed to introduce entry-level seasoned firefighters to advanced ground operations, and includes information on building construction, fire safety surveys, a fire and life presentation, generators, lighting equipment, technical rescue and more.

The Interior Firefighter structure burn will be held on the first weekend in May, and will include vehicle fire fighting, Beardsley said.

Another 16-hour structure fire course will be held on May 31 and June 1 at a building on Hickory Lane near the Warren County Fairgrounds. Beardsley said this fire is not a part of the Entry Level Course, and similar burns are done whenever a structure becomes available.