More than 400 firefighters will be spending the weekend in Corbin for the Southeastern Kentucky Firefighters Association’s 43rd Annual Fall Fire School.
Corbin Firefighter Eric Philpot, one of the event organizers, said that firefighters from across the state and as far away as North Carolina, would be coming to the area for the classroom and hands-on classes required to retain their certification.
“We have 330 firefighters that have pre-registered,” Philpot said Monday. “We are expecting another 100 on top of that.”
Classes cover 30 different topics from CPR, flashover recognition and survival, and basic firefighting to vehicle extrication, pump operations and even challenging issues that new fire chiefs are likely to encounter.
Corbin Fire Chief Barry McDonald spent seven years as chief of the West Knox Volunteer Fire Department and has been chief at Corbin for nine years.
McDonald said the only thing he ever wanted to be was a firefighter and when he joined West Knox and then Corbin, he set his sights on being chief.
However, with the position comes a huge responsibility.
“You are responsible for all of the guys in the department. You have to look out for them,” McDonald said.
McDonald added that scenes, such as the explosion at the CTA Acoustics in 2003 in which seven workers were killed, only reinforce the responsibility.
“We have new factories opening up and that brings in all kinds of new challenges for firefighters,” McDonald said adding that such facilities frequently involve firefighters working their way into confined spaces in their effort to extinguish a blaze.
Firefighter survival and firefighter rescue are among the classes that will be offered.
A new course, Max Fire Box Burn N’ Learn/Advanced Thermal Imaging, is designed to teach firefighters to recognize rapid fire and smoke behavior, such as flashover, backdrafts and smoke explosions.
Philpot said The Arena’s proximity to The Corbin Center provides an ideal location for the school as the classrooms and the hands-on classes can be held in close proximity to one another.
“There are a sufficient number of classrooms and the parking lot at The Arena is great for the trailers and props that we bring in,” Philpot said.
Classes will begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday and at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Philpot said previously that volunteer firefighters are required to have 20 hours of continuing education, annually.
Career firefighters must have 100 hours of continuing education, annually.
EMT’s must have 24 hours of continuing education every two years.