by Fred Mullen

Training is a year around endeavor for emergency responders. New folks need basic classes and everybody else needs refresher classes and advanced classes. The past couple of weeks we have had some of each with basic Introduction to Fire Class presented by AFA adjunct instructor Dan Cybik. Ten new firefighter recruits from five Fire Departments completed the 12-hour class. This class was hosted at the South Ozark/Web City (SWF) Fire Department.

Black Hills Energy hosted another excellent training opportunity for us at their Catabury Run Road facility. This class was about controlling a wild well blow out. As we all know the natural gas industry is a large part of our local economy and industrial infrastructure. A key factor for us to be prepared for an accident is for industry personnel and responders to train together. About 40 gas company personnel and emergency responders attended this class. Special thinks to Black Hill for serving us a great burger and dogs supper.

We have had a two search missions the past couple of weeks. An elderly woman was reported walking on Plantation Road. The reporting party thought she might be in distress so the Sheriff’s office sent a deputy to check on her. He could not locate her, but gathered other information about who she was kin to in the area. A subsequent check of a daughter’s home located her safe and sound. I want to commend Deputy Zac English for his excellent work on this call.

On Saturday, a 33 year old male and 43 year old male became disoriented on the East Loop Trail leading from the White Rock Mountain Cabins to Shores Lake Trailhead. They had started their hike about 6:15 that morning and called the Dispatch about 12:07 that afternoon. They reported they did not take any water with them. The Dispatcher called me and we worked with the callers to determine they were probably pretty class to a road. We suggested that while the Dispatch Center pinged the phone that the missing persons (MPs) listen carefully for vehicles. They called back just a few minutes later saying that they had heard a vehicle, walked out to a road and caught a ride back to their cabin.

Up coming training—AFA Personal Protective Equipment, Monday August 13 and Tuesday August 14, at 1800 hrs each evening at the Watalula Fire Station (WAF). Point of contact is AFA adjunct instructor Frank Thesing at 573-821-5570. AFC 8-Hour Wildland Fire Suppression Class, Monday September 17 and Tuesday September 18, at 1800 hrs each evening at the City of Ozark Community Center Training Center. Point of contact is AFC Ranger II Benny Lowery at 479-213-1242.

It’s Arkansas-in-August, its own special sorta of hot and humid. Be prepared for a breakdown or other delay on your next trip whether its a few hundred yards to the back 40 to check on a cow, or, a few hundred miles on I-40 to check on family members. Get a box or pack for your vehicle. Put some basic supplies in it—some bottles of water, flashlight, extra batteries, small first aid kit, small blanket, leather gloves, hat, cell phone charger, medications, sunglasses, etc. If you get delayed and have to wait for help, a few small things as these will make the time go much more easily on you and the family.