Alabaster firefighters train alongside Calera, Pelham, Helena

Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Firefighters in the Alabaster Fire Department recently conducted live, hands-on training alongside the Helena, Calera and Pelham fire departments furthering the relationship between local first responders.

The Alabaster Fire Department Training Division conducted its annual live-fire training program Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 with the Pelham Fire Department, Calera Fire Department and Helena Fire Department who are automatic aid partners.

“It’s a really, really good training program,” Alabaster Fire Chief Tim Love said. “It’s real intensive (and) resource intensive but it’s just one of those things that we need to do to make us better.”

Three sessions were held each day during the program in which firefighters would participate in scenarios such as forcible entry and a victim search before changing things up with 2 evolutions per session that would feature engine company swaps and role changes.

“It’s pretty labor intensive because you got someone managing the fire or someone watching the firefighters, someone working a backup line, water control (and) your incident command,” Love said. “We rotate it so it’s an all-inclusive training and it gives us a chance to work between cities in all those different positions and just makes us all better.”

The Alabaster Fire Department participates in an automatic aid program with the city of Calera, Pelham and Helena which dispatches an additional company from another city during the event of a structure fire.

“We have a really good automatic aid program,” Love said. “So, we ensure that we practice with the neighboring cities to make sure we see our differences, see what ways we can improve and work together a little better.”

The training exercise allows firefighters in the participating municipalities to become acquainted with working alongside one another.

“It keeps us familiar with everybody on the truck (and) it gets each city familiar with working with an incident commander from another city,” Love said. “It’s just one of those things that is necessary and it’s required but it’s just such a great opportunity to share information and, of course, you can learn from each other. Hey, Pelham may be doing this that works great and maybe we need to incorporate it or we’re doing something that Helena needs to incorporate—we just have that opportunity to share that information and make us all better.”

With the live-training program complete, the Alabaster Fire Department is preparing for professional development with its officers in February. Officers will go through a series of professional development issues before then returning to the fire training facility for a live fire exercise

“We’ll go through live fire (exercises) for all of our officers that way we make sure that everybody in charge gets back to that lower level where they are stretching hoses (and) spraying nozzles.”