Firefighters get hands-on in Sterling

By Sara Waite
Journal Advocate – July 19, 2018

Over 100 firefighters are expected to gather in Sterling this weekend for a three-day, hands-on training event known as “Fire on the Plains.”

According to Sterling Fire Chief Lavon Ritter, Sterling is an ideal location for the second annual event, with the facilities available through Northeastern Junior College and the Sterling Fire Department’s training grounds. The first event was held last year in Lamar, but Ritter said Matt Branch, the regional fire management officer, was interested in bringing the event to Sterling and worked closely with the state to make it happen.

The event, which kicks off Friday evening, already has about 75 registered, and Ritter expects that there will be more who sign up in person. According to Ritter, participants are coming from Kansas, Nebraska and all over Colorado. NJC has made its dorms available for those who opt not to get a hotel room for the weekend.

The goal, according to the Fire on the Plains brochure, is “to bring cost effective, high quality, hands-on training to the first responders of the eastern plains of Colorado.” Ritter noted that many departments, particularly smaller, volunteer departments, do not have access to the kinds of training facilities needed to conduct live fire exercises. With Sterling’s facilities and a simulator being provided by the state for the event, Fire on the Plains is “a training opportunity a lot of folks don’t get all of the time,” Ritter said.

The event is organized into five blocks, starting Friday evening and running through noon Sunday. Participants can sign up for a variety of two- and four-hour sessions, or a two-day class, with topics ranging from basics such as sizing up a structure fire when arriving on scene and grass fire safety to the chemistry of fire and mental health resources for first responders. Instructors, coordinated by the Division of Fire Safety, are coming from all over the state, and Sterling Regional MedCenter will provide assistance with the EMS course.

Ritter said the focus of the event is on training, meaning the firefighters won’t have a lot of downtime. However, he hopes to bring everyone together for a briefing during dinner Saturday night.

In just its second year, the program is still changing and adapting to the needs of participants, but Ritter said he hopes that Sterling will become at least a bi-annual host for the event.

For more information about Fire on the Plains, visit www.CWFIMA.com

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page
KSFFA Facebook

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