Thursday, July 12, 2006
Two complete rescue school
By SUE WATSON
Holly Springs Fire Chief Kenny Holbrook and fireman Don Buford completed a four-day CARS (Certified Advanced Rescue School) a few weeks ago. CARS is one of the toughest courses taught, Holbrook said.
“You have to have all types of prerequisites to get in the class,” he said.
“It tests broad knowledge of all rescue situations with very little classroom time. It’s all scenario based stuff. The test is to complete the rescue without getting injured yourself.”
Some of the scenarios they were tested on included climb and rescue, high angle rope rescue, rescue over water in a lake, extraction of “victims” in a helicopter dangling a patient on a rope from five stories up, an airplane caught in a tree with two people trapped, and people trapped in a railroad car.
“At night we completed a three-mile compass course through the woods to get from point to point,” Holbrook said.
“We had to find a letter-sized paper attached to a tree at each point to get the instructions for where to locate the next point. The points were as far as 700 feet apart.”
The three-hour ordeal using the compass took the class members, two at a time, through thickets and brambles. Using all 14 students in the class, a heat and smoke rescue involved extraction of 14 “victims”.
“In another evolution, you go in with zero visibility caused by dense smoke and put the fire out with just two people,” Holbrook said. “It took 200 feet of hose just to reach the fire.
“They want to find out what you’re made out of.”
Holbrook and Buford were the oldest in the class and experience showed up,” Holbrook said. “Everybody in the class passed. Half of two previous smoke diver classes had failed over the same evolution that Don and I went through.
Holbrook said one of the classmates said CARS is less training and more testing.
“You’re supposed to already know this,” he said.
Holbrook was asked why he took the test, since he is fire chief.
“I said, the day I can’t do it, that’s the day I stay home,” Holbrook said. “You gotta keep up on your skills. If you don’t, you lose them.”
Buford added, “It’s harder than you think it is.”
In order to be accepted into the class, firefighters must have a number of certifications including EMT training to First Responder level, Mississippi smoke diver, rope rescue-1 and any two of four other certifications - hazardous materials tech-1, Instructor 1041-I-II, confined space rescue, or dive rescue specialist.
The class is for individuals who can swim, have no fear of heights, are not claustrophobic and who can fight interior structure fires and understand hazardous materials terminology.
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