The Garden City Telegram
11/20/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Fire call

Cooperative training effort promises to pay off locally.

We too often take the work of our emergency responders for granted.

But when there's an emergency — and whether it's the potentially lifesaving efforts of a paramedic, firefighter or law enforcement officer — the skill and professionalism they bring to the job becomes evident.

Every man and woman in those roles has been through significant training. They don't rest on their laurels, however, and embrace the need for stepped-up education to help in their everyday duties.

Such was the case recently when many took part in a fire training school brought to Holcomb by the Kansas State Firefighters Association. The training at the local high school involved the KU Firefighter Skills trailer and a live burn trailer, where firefighters could battle an actual fire.

About 200 firefighters and emergency medical technicians from throughout western Kansas, Texas and Colorado attended the training, which also included emergency scenarios involving grain elevators and a rail car.

Emergency responders from Finney County and other parts of western Kansas also took part in a defensive driving course — an effective way to enhance the safety of workers on board emergency vehicles and others on the road.

All of the exercises were welcome in a part of the state that's sometimes low on the list as bigger communities to the east line up for such training opportunities.

Fire departments throughout western Kansas are relatively small compared to those elsewhere in the state. The recent training was made possible because area agencies collaborated in bringing together enough students required to send the training west.

Such opportunities not only help firefighters do their jobs, but also give them the kind of experience that can keep them safe at work. Plus, it was good to see training geared toward the local landscape, and the kind of emergencies that could strike in western Kansas.

It's always encouraging when emergency responders embark on more intensive training designed to protect them and the people they serve. The recent exercise should boost the comfort level of citizens who never know when fire or another emergency may threaten their property and lives.