Firefighters from seven area fire departments participated in vehicle extrication training Saturday at Arroll. The class was part of Texas County’s firefighter and firefighter I classing that began in November and ends the first week in March.
By the end of the class, firefighters will be state certified in firefighter I and II, hazardous material awareness and hazardous material operations.
The class is taught by Michael Drozdo, Ben Pursifull, Robert Cardwell and Bobbie Liveoak. The 360-hour course is training 30 firefighters from Raymondville, Houston city, Licking, Roby, Summersville, Arroll and West Plains.
“These firefighters have dedicated a lot of hours to protect and serve the members of their communities and neighboring communities,” said Drozdo, assistant chief of the Raymondville department.
Saturday’s state testing was vehicle extrication skills. Curlile Auto Salvage of Summersville donated vehicles and transported them to the class. Roby Fire Department brought its fire truck. Summersville Fire Department let the class borrow its Jaws of Life to have on standby if the testing set went down. Citizens of Arroll allowed use of its community center, and the Woolsey family served fried fish for lunch.
The final firefighter skills test occurs Saturday, Jan. 29, at the Gamo parking lot in Houston. The program received a grant from the state from an organization, “Let’s Train,” from Illinois to do the evaluations.
“We were lucky to receive this grant so that we could get our firefighters certified,” Drozdo said. “Texas County is behind the rest of the state by not having a live fire training facility for firefighters in our county. We hope to change this in the near future. Firefighting is like anything else in life, if your team is to be good at it, you need to practice.”
Volunteers continue to be needed. Persons who are interested are encouraged to talk to a fireman.
“Make sure to thank your local firefighters for their dedication to their communities. Firefighting is often a thankless job that is not paid and most people do not realize this until they need help,” said Drozdo. “They wake up, leave dinners, leave jobs, miss their kids’ ballgames and the list goes on, so they can come and help you in your time of need.”