Meridian Township Fire Department's Month of Training Scenarios
Gonzales coaches two Meridian Township firefighters practicing ice rescue scenarios
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The Meridian Township Fire Department is back to training after COVID-19 restrictions limited the department’s ability to do so temporarily.
During the month of February, the department participated in ice rescue and fire scenario trainings.
Firefighters first practiced self-rescuing themselves from the ice and practiced rescuing others as if they were called to do so at the pond across from the Marketplace on the Green venue.
“We have equipment, we have Stearns ice rescue suits that actually we use in cold weather and we can use them in warm weather but specifically cold weather,” said Meridian Township Fire Lieutenant Rudy Gonzales. “What they do is keep us warm, keep us safe and keep us buoyant.”
Ninety percent of the department went through the ice rescue trainings over the course of six days.
“The whole idea of getting out there is to give them a floatation device. I mean you got to give them something to hang on to, to keep them buoyant,” said Gonzales. "So, staying calm is really difficult, it really is, especially that victim is cold and their scared.”
Meridian Firefighters also joined other local departments including Lansing, East Lansing, Delhi, Williamston, Mason and more, to participate in a fire scenario training at a vacant Burger King in Holt.
“In this day and age all the departments are working, if we have a big fire out here, we’re going to have multiple agencies,” said Meridian Fire and EMS Training Chief, Bill Priese.
During the training, the departments smoked out the building. Firefighters were also split into teams and rotated between three different positions within the scenario.
“We had fire attack, then we had a search group for report of a person trapped in the building,” said Priese. “A RIT team, which is a rapid intervention team that we try to assemble on any fire, so that if there is a ma-day that occurs, or a firefighter goes down inside of a structure we can rapidly deploy a team in.”
Priese said that one thing they couldn’t simulate in the scenario was the realistic feeling of heat coming from a fire.
“We try to make it as realistic as possible for them, put them under some stress, make them think they’re there,” said Priese. “Unfortunately, it’s really hard to simulate the heat and that type of stuff without actually having live fire training but I think it was good just to again get people out and doing some stuff a little bit more.”