State firefighter annual training conference under way

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A few hundred extra firefighters part of the states two big firefighting organizations are in town this week for their annual training conference.

"Fire helmets, coats to protect from heat and flames," said Thad Dixon, president of the Georgia State Firefighters Association. He discussed some of the items on display at this year's Joint Conference with the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs.

The three-day conference gives firefighters from throughout Georgia a chance to discuss important topics.

"One of the biggest issues being faced by the fire service is the economy," said Battalion Chief Dixon. "We have fire stations were the firefighters have been furloughed in the state, some cities have had such tough econimic times they have been closing fire stations. We are working to keep hard to keep that from happening."

While also getting the vital training they need in order to save lives.

"There is various training from ethanol fires, to modern station design that goes with the green initiative," Dixon said.

"Our job is a split second decision," said GAFC President Craig Tully. "You make a decision and you need to be trained to make the right one. We hope everyone has something to take back from the conference. If you look at the trade show, the newest equipment out is here."

The exhibit hall gives firefighters a chance to try on new equipment and see how it works.

"We have the latest equipment on display for firefighters and chiefs," Dixon said. "This gives them an opportunity talk to vendors, see latest equipment out, do price comparisons. You will see a lot of different trucks. We have engines, latter trucks, brick trucks."

They are ools that will not only save victims lives, but help keep firefighters from being injured or killed in the line of duty.

The firefighters are gearing up for a big competition on Friday.

The firefighter combat challenge is one of the most strenuous competitions around. It will be held at 6 p.m. Friday outside of the Savannah Civic Center, which will be followed by a fire truck parade.

The conference will end on Saturday with a formal banquet, where numerous Savannah firefighters will be presented with the Lifesaving Valor award from the Georgia State Firefighters Association for their heroic actions during the 2009 devastating fire at the Woods Apartments on Savannah's Southside.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.