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Fire School wraps up preparing firefighters to handle emergency situations

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – One of the largest fire schools in the state wrapped up this weekend with more than 400 firefighters in attendance.

Kirkwood Community College hosted the 33rd Annual CITA Fire School. The courses are more tuned to volunteer firefighters on how to handle specific situations in their department and collaborate with others.

The program trains firefighters and rescue personnel from all over Iowa and nearby states.

“They can also network with other individuals because they might be faced with something that they are struggling with in their department but another department has figured it out,” says Program Manager Kim Fensterman “This could be personnel issues or lot of times when the pager goes off they only have two or three firefighters so the collaboration is bar none.”

Each of the exercises are ran by an instructor who makes sure everything runs smoothly. Roger Berry is one of the instructors, one of his drills is a maze resembling a room. Firefighters crawl with 60 pound gear depending on each other to get out safe.

Berry’s brother was a firefight and helped develop the fire school. After his brother died from cancer, Berry wanted to keep his legacy alive.

“Mostly it just means so much to me, if these guys go out on the job that I know they’ll do their job safely,” says Berry. “Along with keeping themselves protected and be able to do their job that I know the way their supposed to do it.”

Not everyone at the school has years of experience, Don Nelson is retired and it’s his first year with a fire department. He said this is a chance for him to see what he can do.

“There’s water, there’s personnel and a lot of communication that takes place and so I can be a little part of that in my way,” says Nelson. “I can leave the harder stuff going in and rescuing people to the young guys.”

Vinny Lowerre

Producer & Multimedia Journalist

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