Firefighters from across the state got a rescue refresher course this weekend at the Fire Service Training Bureau at Iowa State University in Ames. Bureau chief Randy Novak says they held classes in several areas. Novak says they conducted classes in confined space rescue, tractor rollover/combine rescue, high angle rope rescue, grain bin rescue,and standard vehicle extrication.
Novak says today’s firefighters need more diverse training for the things they encounter. He says over the last 10 years the fire service has seen a high expectation to provide more skilled training for firefighters. Novak says cars have more airbags and specialized systems that require special training, as does farm equipment.
Novak says this complicates the rescuer’s efforts and they need the technical skills and knowledge to deal with the specialized autos and tractors and combines. Novak says it’s not simply a matter of pulling someone out of an overturned tractor or combine, the rescuers need to know how to work the hydraulic systems, how to lift a piece of equipment off of someone.
Novak says firefighters have to put in a lot of training to meet the demands of the job. Novak says the skill level, whether it’s fighting fires, or doing rescues is highly refined. Novak says 90-percent of Iowa’s firefighters are volunteers.