WHEATLAND – The Wheatland fire trucks were on display during last Saturday’s Firefighter Appreciation and Recruitment event and the Wheatland Fire Hall.
The lime-green trucks made an impressive display with the new ladder truck parked in the middle of tenth street with the ladder fully extended. Volunteer firefighters were present to explain knobs, dials and other features available on the trucks and gear.
Lunch was served and a demonstration of how quickly fire can be stopped if the supply of oxygen is shut off.
A five-year veteran of the force, Doug Taylor, explained the ins and outs of being on the firefighting team in Wheatland and how to join. Currently there are 20-23 members, but 40 would be the preferred number.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter can find the crew the first three Mondays of the month from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the station or the training grounds located on east Cole Street. Interested individuals fill out an application and complete a background check. Once approved there is a meeting/interview with members of the team to find out why they want to join. Once this process is complete, the training begins.
The first training objectives are learning ropes and knots, followed by setting the ladder and putting on and taking off the gear properly. More advanced training follows with how to use an air pack, man and roll a hose, search patterns and fire behavior. There is also training on auto extrication and wildfire fighting.
Fitness is in integral part, being able to lift and move quickly. The firehouse is equipped with a weight room to encourage members to stay fit and active.
“I had always been interested and I wanted to be part of the community,” said Taylor when asked why he joined the force. “It did take a while to be confident in what you’re doing.”
Taylor spoke about his first time doing live fire training in the burn building. There was a hot spot set up in the corner and the building was filled with smoke. Having to rely on thermal imaging gear made it hard to think. But he has trained enough now that it is easier to stay focused and he is proud of what he does and encourages more residents to take the leap.
Interested future volunteers should contact Fire Chief Bob Glasson at (307) 331-5007.
More photos on A10.