About 70 firefighters from all over north Texas are taking part in a five day training program. Some have come from as far away as the Metroplex to train and learn. Brandon Woodward, Director of the Texas Wildfire Association said, "we're conducting National Wildfire Coordinating Group Training here. For local fire departments, we have fire departments who've come as far as the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex and Paducah to participate in this five day training event."
Woodward says they realized they needed to invest more in training local firefighters, after the Wichita County Wildfires two years ago; dozens of fire companies responded to fight those flames. At this training, they are learning you can fight fire with fire. "There are several courses that will provide hands-on training that we're offering this week. One of them is an ignitions course, where they learn how to use fire to fight fire. Another one of the courses offers them some time working with the engines that they use, both from their local agencies and from federal and state agencies.", Woodward said.
The core of what they are learning is how to use their gear and protecting themselves, using L.C.E.S., an acronym familiar in the firefighter culture. It stands for lookouts, communication, escape route, and safety zones. "We want to see as many firefighters in Texas, get this valuable training, as possible. And we want to be part of a larger effort to make sure our firefighters know what they're doing and can do it safely", said Woodward.
2011, was the worst fire season on record in Texas. With the current drought situation another bad fire season could soon come, but we can all do our part in reducing the risk of wildfires. Woodward offers says these are the top three things residents should do, "be very careful with outdoor burning, use due precaution...preparing their home creating a defensible area around their home...pay attention to the weather conditions and field conditions."
For fire safety tips and information on how to protect your home from wildfires visit firewise.org.