(HARLAN) Several Shelby County Volunteer Fire Departments attended Wildland Firefighter Training this summer.
Jason Wickizer, Emergency Medical Services Coordinator in Shelby County, said ten local responders were trained and of the ten, four completed the certification procedures so they could be issued a Red Card, which is a document that shows you are nationally qualified in a fireline, or Emergency Medical position.
The local firefighters that were listed as available this year were Andrea Syrstad, Jordon Sanders, Chad Kroger, Ryne Nelson and Jason Wickizer, all of Harlan Fire & Rescue. Andrea Syrstad was called out as a Paramedic on the Trinity Ridge Fire in Idaho and was deployed for 15 days in August. Jason Wickizer was called out and deployed as a Task Force Leader-Trainee and an EMT-Intermediate for a BLM Fire Helicopter. Wickizer was at the Region 23 Complex in Nebraska, the Fort Complex in Happy Camp, California and the Likely Fire in Likely, California. He returned home on the 14th of September after a 15-day deployment.
And Wickizer said Jordon Sanders and Ryne Nelson were called out on Saturday to respond with a Twenty Person Type 2 Initial Attack Crew for the Wesley Fire in Idaho.
“They’re actually doing something very unique,” said Wickizer. “They’re getting ready to do what is called spike out, which means they’re actually going to campout just off the fire edge and they will have their meals and food flown into them. It’s a very rugged camp, so not like what you see on TV where all of the firemen have all of the amenities, these guys will actually be up in the mountains.”
Jason Wickizer was a full time Captain with the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and is qualified to teach these classes. He said they are trying to find new and interesting ways to attract volunteers.
“I think everybody throughout the United States tends to have a very patriotic feel and firemen are no different,” said Wickizer. “These guys and gals that are taking this training see it as a way to serve their country, not just their local community, but their country and then use that training they’re gathering throughout the nation and bring it home and be able to respond better for their local communities.”
Wickizer said they will be holding another class this fall. Anyone interested should contact Jason Wickizer at the Shelby County Emergency Management Office at 712-755-2124.
Wickizer said no local tax dollars are used to pay for the training. He said once the firefighters are trained they are hired as an administratively determined firefighter for the federal government, which means the federal government pays for their expenses, travel, wages, insurance and any other expenses incurred.
(Photos courtesy of Jason Wickizer. Top: House that was saved from the Region 23 Complex Fire. Middle: Region 23 Complex during a fire fun on August 31st. Bottom: Base Camp in Happy Camp, CA.)