Muskingum County Fire School

by Brittany Harris on October 3, 2010 at 8:56 am

Firefighters say safety is their number one priority.

While this may look like an emergency, it’s actually a live fire scenario that is supervised by the Muskingum County Fire School. 11 fire departments traveled in for the weekend-long event to practice their skills.

"For a lot of the guys, this is the only chance that they get to have a training environment where they are actually going into a working fire," said Lieutenant Marty Mercer of the Zanesville Fire Department.

The fire school had to abide by all of the National Fire Protection Association guidelines, which give strict instructions on how the house can be burnt and what the firefighters are allowed to do. Instructors agree that no video or book can compare to the importance of hands on training.

"Practicing on the streets of their community on a building in their community, on equipment from their community, with guys from their community and girls and gives them the ability and puts it right to where their actually practicing their trade right here at home," said Instructor John Benson of the Muskingum County Fire School.

Firefighters are trained to look for occupancy of the residence, the condition of the structure and the severity of the fire. Benson says in a town like Zanesville, they often encounter more problems with older homes.

"These older homes are the bread and butter of fires that we have, these are the houses that we typically would have, because there are wiring issues typically, there are fuel issues and heat issues," said Benson.

But he also says that it’s still important to remain up to date on training because there are constantly new variables.

"Over the years we have found out that things have changed, housing has changed, the types of materials put into the houses have changed," said the instructor.

All of the firefighters received a certification as a part of their contuining education.