Opportunities for responder training

Rick Covert
Rick Covert

Several Arkansas Fire Academy classes are being offered at the Watalula Fire Department in the coming weeks.

The Ropes, Knots and Hoisting class scheduled for Jan. 22 is full. Available classes include:

• Exterior Fires and Advanced Exterior Fires: Feb. 20 at 8 a.m. This class requires all prerequisites for live burns.

• Protective Systems: March 19 at 6 p.m.

• Life Safety Initiatives I & II: April 10 at 8 a.m.

All classes are limited to 20 personnel and AFTA protocols for COVID-19 will be followed. For more information contact Chief Frank Theising at (479) 209-3777. Registration for classes must be submitted two weeks prior to class for acceptance.

Fire departments across the county continue to meet AFTA training requirements by conducting in-house training at their regularly scheduled department meetings.

Typically by this time in January, we have announced the date and location for our annual Skywarn Storm Spotter training class. Unfortunately, given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Weather Service (NWS) will most likely not be going out to conduct any in-person training.

Currently NWS Tulsa is looking into the possibility of conducting virtual spotter training, however there a few obstacles to overcome, such as the tools that enable them to conduct the training limit the number of connections that can attend any one meeting.

It is being considered to group several counties together and host training meetings exclusively for each group separately. One way to accomplish this would be to have local emergency managers invite their specific spotter groups. As soon as more information is received, it will be shared with the responder community as to how or if any training will be offered prior to the spring storm season.