Firefighting training continues to grow with the need for more volunteers

ABERDEEN, SD (Dakota News Now) – On Saturday, 70 firefighters and EMS personnel from northeast South Dakota traveled to Aberdeen for new training.

The South Dakota EMS Association and the South Dakota Firefighters Association teamed up for the annual Northeast School District training at the Aberdeen Civic Arena. First responders from more than a dozen cities attended.

While the training school is an annual event, the topics of the training sessions change as quickly as the technology.

“Fire in our homes has changed over the years. Since the beginning of my career almost 30 years ago, we have had traditional pillows filled with pillows and stuff. Now we have a lot of synthetics, so the smoke is more toxic, our fire is hotter, denser. So instead of kind of wood smoke, we have very black, dense smoke,” said Northeastern District Firefighters Association President Chris Noeldner.

To help firefighters train in near-zero temperatures, a local home was filled with dense fog from a smoke machine to simulate a house fire.

“What we’re going to do today is we’re going to do some right-hand searches in an invisible environment. We’re going to use that to find any victims that may be trapped inside the house or get them out,” said the firefighter. Aberdeen Preston Gruwell.

Electric cars are also becoming more popular, and they come with different risks.

“Electric cars, the main concern is the batteries that are in them. Obviously, they run on batteries, and what happens if that battery pack or battery cell gets punctured, a fire is a really big risk. They call it a thermal runaway. , so it can be catastrophic. For firefighters, if that car crashes, we don’t accidentally cut into an area with high voltage or batteries or protect passengers if they’re in a crash and it’s full of toxic smoke and fire. tall fires caused by electric vehicles,” Noeldner said.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for more volunteer firefighters. Noeldner said rural departments in particular need more volunteers, both firefighters and EMS personnel, to keep their communities safe.

While there are only a few firefighting positions in the state, Noeldner said volunteering also has its benefits.

“Probably the biggest asset we have is your community and people helping people. The pride and ownership of your own community, I think, is what drives 99% of volunteers to do what they do,” Noeldner said.

Those interested in volunteering can contact their local chapter or department, Noeldner said. SDFFA.

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