The old saying, “practice makes perfect” is especially true when it comes to suppressing wildfires. We want our firefighters to train and practice to create the skilled intuition for when there’s an emergency and we depend on our first responders to be operating at the highest caliber possible. And since our beautiful landscape is a checkerboard of land ownership, it’s extremely valuable for multiple jurisdictions to train together.
Thankfully, firefighters within Utah County were able to return to normal training this year to continue their Annual Cooperator’s Field Day hosted by the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Spanish Fork Engine – 381 and Pleasant Grove Engine – 421. The training occurred on Saturday, May 15th in Springville with participation from 45 firefighters representing 9 different departments (Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, Utah County, Elk Ridge, Mapleton, Orem, Salem, Santaquin, and Woodland Hills). Randy Danielson, Engine Captain on E-381, coordinated the event to create an “opportunity for us to meet early season to train, hands on and get ready for the upcoming fire season.” The day consisted of updates to local, state or federal fire management policy and resource capabilities along with fire suppression scenarios. The scenarios or fire drills included: how to protect the fire origin so a fire investigator can determine the cause (origin protection), extending a water hose hundreds of feet from a parked fire engine to reach the fire if there is no vehicle access (progressive hose lay) and spraying water from the engine as it moves forward along the edge of the fire (mobile attack).
Dave Vickers, Wasatch Front Fire Management Officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, “you can’t teach that kind of stuff out of a book or a video, actually getting out and doing it is the best form of training you could ever come up with.”