Firefighter candidates and instructors from McHenry County College were among 50 firefighters from 15 fire departments who recently participated in over eight hours of live fire exercises at the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign.
This training, for firefighters from McHenry, Lake and Kane counties, was made possible by $5,475 in Perkins grant funding allocated to the MCC Fire Science Program. The Perkins grant is a federal grant that provides funding for career and occupational training.
Live fire exercises were conducted in two burn buildings to provide “real life” scenarios for these future firefighters. Burn exercises started in a two-story mixed occupancy building which simulated stores on the first floor and residential apartment living on the second floor. Firefighters practiced search and rescue, fire extinguishment and searching for hidden fires in this structure.
“The grant that was awarded to the McHenry County College Fire Science Program not only benefitted firefighters from McHenry County, but also firefighters from surrounding counties,” said Wes Crain, instructor and fire science department chair. “Firefighter candidates had an opportunity to gain live fire training experience that they otherwise would have not been able to attain.
Crain said the Illinois Fire Service Institute training facility allows firefighter candidates to practice in buildings similar to those in many of our historic downtown communities in McHenry County. In addition, firefighters trained in the high-rise building and learned the challenges presented when firefighters have to carry all of their equipment to a simulated fire above second- and third-floor buildings that are routinely found in our area.
“What a great way to bring back trained firefighters that can put their skills to work back in their own communities, where they protect and serve the citizens of McHenry County,” Crain said.
—Northern IL fire science students participate in live fire exercises —