Firefighters hone their skills

Firefighters battle a propane-fed fire tree on Saturday evening. Participants practiced putting out the fire several times in different positions while seasoned firefighters were on deck as backup with hoses.

WHEATLAND – While some firefighters are fighting the fire currently raging in Carbon and Albany counties, others attended the fall training session at the Wheatland Fire Zone Training Grounds over the weekend.
Firefighters both volunteer and paid, women and men,  met with one goal – to further train their current skills and tackle new challenges and tests. There were several sessions going on at once at the training grounds. There was a special contraption to work on opening jammed doors, a faux roof to practice putting vent hole in with a chain saw, a burn building where fires were lit and fighters learned to vent smoke, a group working on dragging injured persons away from danger and another group working on opening vehicles carefully so as to extricate car crash victims taught by Wheatland’s Fire Chief Bob Glasson.
“It’s important that everyone gets trained at everything because with a volunteer crew you never know who will be able to come to the emergencies,” explained 14-year firefighting veteran Ervin Stofflet. “It’s nice to meet new people from around the state.”
Some of the communities the students and instructors hailed from include Afton, Lingle, Riverton, Douglas and Cheyenne. Goshen, Sweetwater and Fremont counties were also represented.
The burn building is helpful for training as they can block out the windows and give the participants a taste of fighting a fire when they can’t see.
“It’s important to learn how if you can’t see, you can hear,” said Bill Steele serving his 21st year on the Wheatland crew. “Different levels of fire sound different, you really have to able to use all your senses to fight it.”
Around 50 firefighters were on-site with 24 being from Wheatland. While Afton and Douglas have a wait list in order to join, Wheatland is still short of a full company. They are hoping to add some younger recruits and urge anyone interested to reach out to a member to ask about joining.
Kevin Brown has been serving since 1993. “I like serving the community, I enjoy it. It’s a real brotherhood for all of us.”


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