Six Libby Volunteer Fire Department firefighters recently earned their Firefighter 1 certification.
For firefighters who undergo the arduous process and then earn it, it’s very meaningful, according to training officer Ryan Andreesen.
“It’s a big deal to the guys who get it,” Andreesen said. “It’s a lot of extra work and training while everyone is trying to balance work and responsibilities, so for those who get it, it’s something to be proud of.”
Andreesen, a LVFD member since 2001, has completed the Firefighter 1 process twice.
“We trained for several hours each week for 18 months,” Andreesen said. “There are eight evolutions (courses) that have to be completed and each one has to be done in nine months or less, but we finished all of them in just 18 months.”
Andreesen said the main objective of the training is that it teaches firefighters to all work the same way together, a very critical thing when many different companies may be at the scene of a fire, accident or any disaster.
Another unique thing about Libby’s volunteer department is that they do it in-house.
“We were at the forefront of it years ago and we keep the training here,” Andreesen said.
Montana State University conducts firefighter training at its Fire Services School in Great Falls, but with a $1,500 price tag, the cost of lodging and time away from home, it made sense for Libby to keep its training local.
FSTS certification is accredited by both national and international accrediting bodies.
The Firefighter 1 Academy covers the following evolutions:
• Firefighter rescue
• Fire Dept. Communication-Mayday Radio
• Exterior-Interior Fire Attack
• PASS Activation
• Flat and Pitched Roof Access
• Primary Search 2nd Floor
• Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations
Brian Hobday, Dan Davis Ryan Carpenter, Eric Uithof, Jason Colclough, Ryan Letts, were the firefighters that completed the training and Andreesen was their training officer.
Kalispell Fire Department Assistant Chief John Campbell administered the testing.