Hoisington firefighters host regional training school

By Veronica Coons
Great Bend Tribune – May 9, 2017

Hoisington’s fire department hosted a regional fire school this past weekend, and Chief Jerry Stricker gave a report to the City Council Monday night.
Nearly 200 departments were invited to attend the training, conducted by nine certified instructors from the Kansas State Firefighters Association. Around 65 firefighters from around the state traveled to Hoisington for the three day class. Training focused on events firefighters in rural areas would likely be called to, including grain engulfment and propane tank fires.
Training culminated Sunday with a propane tank burn; 16 to 17 of the men worked the fire.
“When that large tank popped its top, flames shot 30-40 feet into the air, the ground shook, and you could feel the heat from a good distance,” Stricker said.
In addition to the tank burn, the skills trailer was brought in, providing a way for realistic hands-on training in low-vision, smoky situations.
“Fire fighting is all about teamwork, and we get used to working with one another and a level of trust is built,” Stricker said. “What was neat was how quickly the guys started to build trust with the guys they’d never worked with before. We all were out of our safety zones and had to adapt.”
Stricker added that during the evenings, many of the firefighters took time to stroll Main Street and complimented the city of Hoisington.
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell commented on efforts to organize a fire district out of the various fire departments in the Hoisington service area. At the April 24 meeting, the district had the support of two cities and four townships. The group met with county commissioners Monday in a work meeting, which Mitchell said seemed to be going well, but there is more work to be done, and he left uncertain how much progress was made, he said.

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