January 24, 2021
Six volunteer firefighters, four men and two women, took turns yesterday afternoon tying knots securing axes and other entry tools to a rope led down from an upper story window, after which Fire Chief J. R. Farnsworth of the North Bannock Fire Department (NBFD) hauled up each item, ensuring the knots held. Quickly moving entry tools or other needed items used in firefighting to the upper levels of structures is a critical part of firefighting, and just one of many skills that must be learned to be an effective firefighter.
The training, which took place yesterday at the First Responder Academy, 359 N. Main Street in Pocatello, was part of the regular lessons conducted throughout the year with the 37 firefighters of NBFD. Training sessions take place every Wednesday and every other Saturday, and are led by NBFD Assistant Chief and Training Officer Mark Brood, who also teaches the courses Fire Fighter 1 and Emergency Medical Technician with Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25. Over about 120 hours of training, Brood will cover everything from how to properly don and wear firefighting personal protective equipment, the use of self-contained breathing apparatus, making forcible entries, fire dynamics, and much more.
Volunteer firefighters with NBFD must complete all the training, which is outlined in Essentials of Firefighting, a curriculum published by the International Fire Service Training Association. Completing the course does not bring training to an end, however. To ensure each firefighter remains proficient in the skills necessary to fight fires effectively while protecting citizens, property, themselves and their fellow firefighters, the volunteers continue training weekly, constantly reviewing key skills.
Chief Farnsworth was asked how the pandemic restrictions have affected training. “COVID-19 has impacted our training because of limitations on the number of people we can train at a time,” said Farnsworth, “but we have met the challenge by increasing the number of training sessions to accommodate all our firefighters. We continue to train for 20 hours per month.”
To learn more about NBFD, visit their Facebook page at: North Bannock Fire Department | Facebook