° empty

Fire academy teaching life-saving, hands-on lessons

NATCHEZ — Adams County’s residents and elected officials alike have long complained that houses in the county’s rural areas quickly burn down if they catch fire because fire crews can’t get water to them fast enough.

Now, fire officials are offering a free class in an effort to train more people how to get water — in the words of county fire coordinator Stan Owens — “from the source to the scene.”

The Mississippi Department of Insurance and Mississippi State Fire Academy will offer a no-cost class at the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department starting at 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Owens said that while the hands-on learning experience is for firefighters, the public is encouraged to attend and that those who are interested in being volunteer firefighters are more than welcome to come and learn.

“They are going to be doing a lot of moving water,” Owens said. “They are going to use duct-drop tanks, looking at water supply and hooking up to hydrants — basically it is moving water from one point to another, from the source to the scene.”

The department of insurance offers 24 hours of onsite training every year through the fire academy, and while those offerings used to be limited to two 12-hour classes every year, now the classes can be broken up into smaller units, Owens said.

“I specifically asked for this water shuttle class because of its subject matter,” he said.

“It is something that firefighters as a whole — career and volunteer — need to understand. In the rural areas, water supply is not as close or abundant as within the city, so this is a very important aspect of firefighting in rural areas.”

The instructor for the class, Byram Cunningham, formerly worked with the Vicksburg Fire Department and the state fire academy, and since his retirement has been the training officer at the Culkin Fire Department, Owens said.

For more information, call (601) 442-7021.