Pelham fire offering free training for volunteer firefighters

PELHAM – With about 70 percent of Shelby County being served by volunteer fire departments, the Pelham Fire Department has partnered with Briarfield and Montevallo fire departments to host the Shelby County Spring Training Weekend, a free two-day training event for volunteer firefighters.

The event will take place Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pelham Fire Department Training Center on Stuart Lane.

Pelham Fire Chief Tim Honeycutt said the event is offering four-hour training sessions in nine areas: truck company basics, search and rescue, extrication, fire attack, rope rescue/confined space rescue, vent-enter-isolate-search (VEIS) tactics, rapid intervention crew (RIC), incident command system/safety officer and engine company operations.

Briarfield Fire Chief Spruce McKree and Montevallo Assistant Chief Lance Byrd are providing assistance with the event. The classes will be taught by about 15 members of the PFD who are all certified instructors of various topics.

Honeycutt said volunteer firefighting has a special place in his heart because Pelham’s department started out as a volunteer department and several of the department’s current firefighters began their fire service careers as volunteers.

“We naturally have a soft spot in our hearts for the volunteer fire service,” Honeycutt said. “These are individuals who work jobs each day, who have families and they live busy lives; however, they still find time to help their community by volunteering as a firefighter.”

Because of busy work schedules, volunteer firefighters have a difficult time finding quality training to keep their skills sharp as they continue to help their community, Honeycutt said. For this reason, the Shelby County Volunteer Fire Fighter Spring Training event was formed.

“We wanted to give back to the volunteer community to tell them thank you for their service while at the same time giving them an opportunity to train on a variety of topics,” Honeycutt said. “It’s all about safety and if we can provide good training in a safe environment at no cost to the volunteers then success in inevitable.”

So far, 38 people registered for the weekend event and five vendors will be present. With the current number of instructors on board, the training program can accommodate up to 60 people. However, if more than 60 people sign up, Honeycutt said more instructors can be added.

Lunch will be provided along with a T-shirt for all who attend.

“We are very excited about building this relationship with the volunteer community and hope to make this a yearly event,” Honeycutt said. “Next year we may open it up to surrounding counties.”

For more information or to register for the event, contact Robin Wilkinson at 620-6500 or pfd@pelhamalabama.gov.