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Hundreds of firefighters in city for annual fire school

Jan 11, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The Wyoming State Firemen's Association and the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department have come together again to host this year's Mid Winter Fire School. More than 40 classes will be available to the 500 firefighters from across the United States who will be visiting Riverton this weekend.

Starting Friday, participants from several states will arrive and complete registration for any remaining indoor and outdoor classes. They will be taught by professional instructors from Wyoming and other states.

Scott Walters, the chairman for the Mid Winter Fire School and captain of the Riverton Fire Department, said firefighters can take basic and more advanced classes. The classes are intended to help the firefighters advance their career knowledge with important and effective training.

A number of Wyoming fire station chiefs and firefighter associations and committees will have their meetings throughout Friday, and at 5 p.m. there will be an open house and vendor stands at Station 1.

For weekend classes, buses will transport firefighters to and from classes at Riverton Fire Station 1, Station 4, Central Wyoming College, the Pro Tech Building and the Wyoming Fire Academy.

Classes for firefighters

"Working with the Coroner" is a three- to four-hour class taught by Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan, who is also a retired Riverton police officer.

"I find it's a valuable tool in the working relations between the fire department and the coroner," McAuslan said.

He said the course will teach firefighters what the "statutory obligations" are when both teams have to work together. The firefighters will also learn what coroners do and how to work together to improve end results.

McAuslan said the course has been popular in past years, and this year the Riverton Fire Department has done an "excellent" job planning the fire school.

"They've come a long way since they started," McAuslan said. "It takes them a lot of time and effort to put it all together."

Walters said another popular course is the "Live Fire Training" taught at the Wyoming State Fire Academy's burn building. With controlled conditions, live fires give firefighters the challenge to enter a home setting and battle direct and indirect flames, practice ventilation methods and go through search trails.

"They will learn what to watch for when they get in there," Walters said. "How to supress that fire."

"High Angle Rescue" teaches firefighters how to fight flames from a higher level and how to get a victim out as soon as possible. The 12-hour course also takes place at the Wyoming State Fire Academy tower. Students will also learn how to make different knots with different types of ropes.

"Forcible Entry" is a four-hour class that teach firefighters how to force their way through different types of doors. Students are challenged with revolving doors, basic doorway settings and inward and outward swinging doors.

For those who prefer the indoor classroom setting, CWC will provide 22 rooms this year for classes.

The gas detection course is a four-hour class suited for all levels and teaches the basics of how to detect gas and the importance of and history of gas detection. Firefighters will also learn the exposure limits in confined spaces.

Walters said local businesses donated equipment, lunches and classroom supplies.

"We get a lot of community support," he said.

Walters said several fire department captains, chiefs, lieutenants and firefighters from Wyoming and other states volunteer their time to teach the classes and have been doing so for more than 30 years. Roughly 400 students registered last year.

For more information, visit midwinter.rivertonfire.com.

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