By Shareen Strauss
Volunteer firefighters throughout south Siskiyou County and from Sierra Valley, are taking advantage of the end of this fire season to improve their firefighting skills and knowledge by taking fire academy classes offered at the College of the Siskiyous (COS)..
Joshua McNulty with USFS Fire Department stationed in McCloud shows firefighters from McCloud and Sierra Valley Fire Departments portable pumps and hoses used in remote areas to fight wildland fires. Training courses for volunteer firefighters are offered at the COS campus during the off-season to improve and update firefighters' skills and knowledge.
Classes for volunteer firefighters at COS offer both classroom lessons and outside, hands-on training for volunteer firefighters which is the majority of the fire departments in Siskiyou County.
S-131, Firefighting-I class is a required prerequisite for entry-level firefighting to become certified. S-211, Portable Pumps, and Water Use is a 2-day course for training volunteer firefighters for wildland fires.
This is important for firefighters in Siskiyou County because wildland fires are common in these parts. This course offers sufficient training to use portable pumps in more remote areas. It teaches how to pull more water from natural resources like creeks, rivers, and lakes with limited access to fire engines.
Hosted through COS at the Fire Academy, Brian Carter who is an assistant chief for the Weed Fire Department, and Josh McNulty who is an FEO (fire engine operator) with USFS with Shasta-Trinity National Forest are offering these and more courses through the off-season.
Through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) which establishes national interagency wildland fire operations standards, these courses target entry-level to senior firefighters among federal, state, local and tribal fire departments.
Fire Chief Dunkin Cameran, at Sierra Valley Fire Department, says, "Staying informed and up to date, is a great opportunity to advance our firefighting knowledge to better serve our communities."
To find out more about these classes, go to siskiyous.edu.