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Training with the experts

by Erika Kirsch Western News Editor
| July 11, 2007 12:00 AM

Volunteer fire department attends training in Nevada

Libby Volunteer Fire Department members recently attended a fire training course in Nevada.

Volunteer fire fighter Scott Beagle and Assistant Fire Marshal Steve Lauer attended the "Responding to Terrorist Incidents in Your Community: Flammable-Liquid Fire Fighting Techniques for Municipal and Rural Firefighters" course on June 25-28 in Carlin, Nev. through the University of Nevada, Reno Fire Science Academy. There were 59 firefighters from all over the country attending the class. "These are the top training officials in the U.S.," Lauer explained. This was the first time Libby Volunteer Fire Department members have attended this particular class, however Lauer attends training courses two to three times a year, he said. The course was paid for through a Department of Energy grant. Money, however, is tight in governmental grants and the Department of Energy lost the funds for this particular grant for subsequent years. Therefore, this may be the last class the fire department may attend for a period of time, Lauer explained. While at the class, Lauer and Beagle learned how to combat fires in various situations. Propane, diesel and gasoline fires were discussed, as well as fires in bulk plants, trains and trucks. The 32-hour training course also emphasized training in industrial fire control; understanding terrorist behaviors and tactics common in terrorism incidents; chemistry of flammable liquids and gases and real-life simulations that reflect facilities, characteristics and conditions encountered in liquid-fuel fires; hose handling and effective streams for combating pressurized and pool fires, dry chemical extinguishers with water/foam and the use of combination devices and multiple agents; and the use of equipment already available and/or easily obtainable by most fire departments.

Libby volunteer fire personnel train every Thursday and Lauer and Beagle will be bringing back their knowledge from the course to pass on to their volunteer comrades, Lauer said. There are currently 28 volunteer firefighters in the Libby department.On July 12 there will be a rope class and on Saturday, July 21, there will be four firefighters taking their Firefighter I test.