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Local firefighters, EMS keep skills sharp with lots of training, courses

Posted on January 27, 2015 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Jamie Rieger

Volunteer firefighters do not just sign up with their local fire department and immediately get to go out and fight blazes. Hours, upon hours of training is required to prepare for a variety of scenarios.
Volunteer firefighters in rural communities do not just respond to fire calls, but get called to motor vehicle collisions and often assist EMS personnel in medical emergency situations.
Recently, members of the Bow Island volunteer fire department completed two training components to help them better serve the community.
A couple weeks ago, an Alberta Health Services simulation truck from Calgary came to Bow Island for training the town’s first-responders.
“The simulation truck looks like a heavy-duty ambulance and inside is a life-like mannequin and all the medical supplies needed in an emergency,” said Kelly Byam, fire chief and ambulance coordinator for Bow Island.
“The way it is set up is there is a screen with all the vital information on it and the students work as a team just as in a real ambulance,” said Byam. “There is also a person in the front of the truck who is the voice of the patient and will act according to what we are doing in the back, such as checking IVs, monitoring vital signs, pain management. The mannequin is very realistic and the sky’s the limit for scenarios.”
AHS has three simulation trucks in the province that travel to communities once or twice a year for training.
Byam said the AHS instructors were very helpful and knowledgeable.
“They also made the learning fun,” he said.
The firefighters and EMS who took the training also participated in some dryland training for ice rescue and are planning on practicing some techniques on the ice in the coming weeks.
The Bow Island volunteer fire department is also looking into raising money for a much-needed pedal cutter (cost is roughly $4,200) to assist them at MVCs.
Byam said the department is currently only down by one member, but they are always looking for more volunteers.
Anybody interested can contact Byam at 403-545-2424.

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