BEDFORD – Saturday morning 24 men and women, both career and volunteer firefighters, spent their day learning how to fight fires, perform auto extrication, and execute fire hose testing.
The training took place at the Shawswick Fire Station on Sunny Acres Drive, at their new training facility. The facility is used to develop firefighter’s skills in a safe controlled environment.
“We have invested a lot of time and money in developing this training area. The two concrete pads cost us about $10,000. Car prop was built by Bedford Body and Paint at a reduced price, Limestone Energy donated the propane tank and done the underground work for the pipes,” said Shawswick Fire Department Chief Bobby Brown.
“We are still not done, work continues on a fire tower or container buildings that will be used for interior or second-floor fires to meet the requirement in Firefighter I and Firefighter II training,” added Chief Brown.
The State of Indiana is making sure all training is uniform across the state in techniques and principles for both volunteer and career firefighters.
“This, the training facility, has been something we have been planning for years, ” said Chief Brown. “It is a place where training can be done safely. Once the facility is completed in its entirety, it will be made available to all the fire departments that make up District 8 Training area in the State of Indiana.”
The fire departments that took part in Saturday’s training include French Lick, Paoli, and Orange County Rural District I, Bedford Fire Department, Marshall, Oolitic, Shawswick, and Pleasant Run Township Volunteer Fire Departments.
Having joint training with multiple departments builds a teamwork approach in the event of a large-scale incident that will require several agencies and departments to work together.
Some of the biggest incidents that have occurred include the large Paoli Square fire in 2010 and the Fibertech fire in Mitchell in 2018, which required multi-agency response.
There were eight fire instructors who helped the students during the 36-hour training course on Saturday from French Lick, Paoli, and Shawswick Volunteer Fire Departments sharing their knowledge and experience to students.
The students will be taking their final test on Wednesday.