• 57°

Volunteer firefighters learn to smoke dive

Five volunteer firefighters from Pearl River County completed a tough week of unofficial smoke diving training.

The training was held at the Picayune Fire Department and was conducted over three days by Picayune firefighters who are certified smoke divers.

Henleyfield Volunteer Fire Chief Scott Sullivan said last week’s training provided by the Picayune firefighters was more extensive than what is usually offered to volunteer firefighters. He said the class started on Sept. 12, with 14 volunteer firefighters from several different departments around the county, but only five were still there at the finish. The other nine dropped out.

During the training, the volunteers learned how to properly use the self-controlled breathing apparatus and how fire behaves.

The firefighters that completed the training were Steve Whatley with Nicholson Volunteer Fire Department, Tosh Hawke and Angela England with Carriere Volunteer Fire Department, Logan Holifield with Southeast Volunteer Fire Department and Jared Schubert with Henleyfield Volunteer Fire Department, though Schubert was excused from the final day.

On Saturday, the other four finished their training by entering the training building at Fire Station One in Picayune in turnout gear. Sullivan said Schubert was involved in an automobile accident the day before and was advised by his doctor not to continue the training on Saturday.

During Saturday’s exercise, the four remaining volunteers  were divided into two groups and sent into the training building, which had a controlled fire inside, and asked to find two pieces of fire fighting equipment. Fully trained Picayune firefighters were inside the building to ensure nothing went wrong.

Sullivan said that by spring of next year additional training will be offered to volunteer firefighters.

“The challenge is for other volunteers to step up to the plate,” Sullivan said.