On the evening of July 17, 28 members of the St. Marys Fire Department and Zorra Fire Department – Uniondale Station conducted pumper relay and tanker shuttle training designed to give firefighters practice dealing with areas with limited hydrant service.
The joint training came after a Mutual Aid Agreement between the St. Marys Fire Department and the Township of Zorra was approved by Council.
A Mutual Aid Agreement allows participating fire departments to request and receive assistance from neighboring fire departments when needed. When participating in mutual aid, fire departments have a first obligation to emergencies in their municipality or jurisdiction, a second obligation to mutual aid calls, and then to calls in areas covered by fire protection agreements.
Training is the backbone of any fire department and shared training is another benefit of a Mutual Aid Agreement. Training produces a well-prepared force that through repetition increases the speed of an operation and enhances proper execution while reducing injuries.
“Departments should routinely train with mutual aid departments. These exercises enable members to form friendships and share experiences that will benefit each department when called upon to operate together on future incident scenes,” St. Marys Fire Chief Richard “Andy” Anderson says.
Firefighters are often faced with life-and-death situations and find themselves under extreme stress while performing their duties, so training is an essential part of emergency preparation.
“All fire department members need training. New members need to learn basic skills; senior members need the training as a refresher and to keep their skills sharp,” Uniondale District Chief Ron King said.