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Spring Fire, EMS School Takes Place This Weekend

By Staff | Apr 3, 2008

CONFINED SPACE PORTS – Among features of the new Regional Emergency Response Training Center are portals on each floor and the roof of the structure that would allow rescuers to practice confined space rescue techniques and rope rescue. Iowa Lakes EMS Program Coordinator Steve Dobbins examines one of the portals in the structure prior to its grand opening this Saturday. -- Dan Voigt photo

Any day of the week, at any hour of the day or night, a call for help will go out and volunteers, your neighbors, friends, perhaps even a member of your family – will respond. For firefighters and emergency medical technicians, being prepared to deal with situations is truly a life or death proposition – and through attendance at the 16th Annual Spring Fire School and EMS Conference at Iowa Lakes Community College, these volunteers will be ready to respond to that call for help.

The annual Fire and EMS School is set for this Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, at the Iowa Lakes Campus in Emmetsburg. As part of the weekend’s events, a ribbon cutting is also planned at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, to officially open the Regional Emergency Response Training Center, on the west side of the college campus. As in past years, the Palo Alto County Firemen’s Association, Palo Alto County EMS Association and Iowa Lakes Community College are jointly sponsoring the Fire and EMS School.

The goal of the weekend program is to provide firefighters and EMS personnel with an opportunity to obtain required continuing-education credits needed to stay current in certifications and technique. Additionally, the school provides both firefighters and EMS personnel with the opportunities to upgrade their skills through classroom and practical “hands-on” sessions in their respective disciplines.

Firefighters attending the conference will be able to choose courses and seminars ranging from the Essentials of Firefighting – The Basics and Vehicle Extrication – The Basics, to such specialized courses as First Response to Explosive Incidents, Ethanol Plants for First Responders: Emergency Response.

If the adage of learning by doing is any indication, students at the Fire and EMS School take the saying to heart, as they will don turnout gear and breathing apparatus to battle the red devil in the Interior Fire Attack class, which utilizes the live burn simulator of the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Fire Service Training Bureau. Responders will also get “hands-on” in the vehicle extrication course, the Jaws of Life equipment and other extrication technology. As a special course, training and lecture on new technologies in extrication. The evolution of technology in the automotive field, including new hazards posed by hybrid vehicles, will be explained to rescuers during the session.

A new course offering will be “The Three R’s of Size Up: Reading the smoke, Reading the building and Reading the Risk. Other firefighting courses to be offered during the weekend include a series of courses dealing with railroading, including Railroading 101, an overview of emergency response to railroad incidents, Railroad emergencies, a general guide to tank cars, and Railroad safety for ethanol and soydiesel shipments.

Several displays by vendors of various emergency equipment and accessory manufacturers will also be available for viewing during both days at the Iowa Lakes Community College campus.

Saturday’s session will begin 7:30 a.m. with registration. A welcoming ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Saturday’s classes will continue through 3:30 p.m. Sunday’s classes will begin at 8:30 a.m., with registration starting again at 7:30 a.m., with classes ending at 3:15 p.m.

For more information contact Iowa Lakes Community College Continuing Education at 1-800-252-5664, or (712) 362-7231.