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Quimby and Washta Fire Departments have a ball at training exercise

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

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Jump ball! Quimby fire department Training Officer Tracey Stevenson prepares to put the ball in play during a recent training session. Taking center court for the jump ball are Quimby fireman Mark Tuttle and Washta firefighter Chris Lillefloren. Photo by Ron Flewelling.
QUIMBY - As any experienced fireman can tell you, there's more to fighting a fire than rolling hoses and squirting water.

To stay on top of the fire fighting game, fire departments regularly conduct training exercises.

These educational endeavors may cover a wide variety of subjects and situations, running the gamut from suppressing brush fires to coping with chemical spills.

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Line drive - Prior to taking to the basketball court for the Quimby fire department's recent training exercise, each fireman had the baseline for his vital statistics taken and recorded by one of the department's EMTs. In this photo, Quimby Fire Chief Willy Allbaugh is seen having his blood pressure monitored by EMT MeLisa Johnson. Photo by Ron Flewelling.
As important as they are, these training sessions are often carried out by the numbers and have a tendency of being just a bit boring.

However, Quimby Fire Department Training Officer Tracey Stevenson recently discovered a way to inject a little excitement into a training lesson that combined equipment familiarization with a bit of inter-departmental rivalry with the Washta Fire Department.

The exercise, which took place in the Quimby town park, was a basketball game between members of the Quimby and Washta fire departments.

However, in this instance, there was a slight twist...

All the players were wearing full bunker gear, including helmets and air packs.

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Quimby Quenchers (above) vs. Washta Hoser (below)
"This training exercise touches a lot of bases," Stevenson observed. "It gives the volunteers an opportunity to practice working on their mobility in the protective gear while fine-tuning their communication skills while suited up."

"There's also a medical angle to the session," he continued. "We can test the limits of a fire fighter's endurance when he is under considerable physical exertion."

"To accomplish this, EMTs are on location to take each fireman's base vital signs."

"When the players come off the basketball court, their blood pressure, oxygen levels and pulse are checked once again and compared to the base line."

"In this way," Stevenson concluded. "We will have a better knowledge of the firefighter's endurance levels when it comes to the real thing."

The Quimby firemen taking part in the training exercise were Willy Allbaugh, Mark Tuttle, Don Fiser, James Jenness and Tracey, Angie and Tyson Stevenson.

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The Washta firemen who joined them in the intramural basketball game and training session were Jeff Deeds, Chris Lillefloren and Justin and Josh Ebert.

Nobody is revealing who won the game but it was agreed that the whole thing was a lot of fun as well as being educational.

"We came away from the exercise with a little more knowledge in the area of wearing our gear as well as our physical limits," Stevenson said.

"We will put these lessons to good use the next time we respond to an emergency situation."



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