The Conway Fire Department welcomed several other departments from around the state this week as they hosted two aerial apparatus training courses.
The two-day courses gave firefighters a chance to learn different techniques during aerial operations.

The course, taught by Task Force One instructors, trains firefighters on positioning the truck and ladder and the best ways to rescue victims that may be trapped.
Capt. Buster Cooper of the Conway Fire Department said the course gives firefighters a chance to get experience with aerial ladders and learn from some of the most experienced fire instructors in the country.

“This opportunity doesn’t come around very often,” Cooper said. “To be able to train in real live situations is a real asset.”
This week’s course was taught by instructors from New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

“The instructors from the larger cities have more experience in these type of situations,” Cooper said.
Firefighters in the course also had to chance to operate a number of different types of trucks. Representatives from three different manufacturers brought engines for use during the course.

“We always support the training of fire departments from around the state,” Mike Anthony of Ferrara Fire Apparatus said. “It’s good for them to use and operate different pieces of equipment.”
Steve Haile of the Conway-based Pro-Fire Equipment said training courses offer firefighters the chance to see the different features of various trucks.

“We’ll do anything to support Conway,” Haile said, “and it’s a great chance to show the different features to a lot of people at once.”
“These courses are opportunities for firefighters to get hours of training,” Chip Crooms, of Sunbelt Fire, said. “This course in Conway is one of the first in the state of its size. It’s great to give them the chance to use an apparatus they may not have seen before.”

Several firefighters said the course will have a positive impact on their departments and better prepare them for rescue situations.
“It’s most definitely beneficial,” Rick Stapleton, of the Conway Fire Department, said. “It broadens what you know and teaches different tactics and techniques. What we do in a month or two, these instructors probably do in one shift, so it’s great to learn from their experience.”

“It’s great to have the opportunity to use different equipment,” CFD firefighter Chad Davis said. “We’re glad to have courses like this.”
The course was held at Minton Hall on the University of Central Arkansas campus Wednesday and will wrap up with real-life scenarios at the CFD training site today.

“UCA has been tremendous to help us with this,” Cooper said. “They have bent over backwards, and we really appreciate them allowing us to use this site. The manufacturers’ reps and 1-800-Board-Up have brought us lunch and really helped out. All this really helps us focus on what matters and that’s concentrating on our training.”

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