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Firefighters take part in annual training at Sawyer International

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 3:49 PM EDT
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K.I. SAWYER, Mich. (WLUC) - Dousing fires from a distance at Sawyer International is just one-way U.P. firefighters participated in annual training on Wednesday.

Firefighters from places like Houghton and Iron Mountain convened at the airport Wednesday morning and then did simulations later in the afternoon. Owner of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Specialists, Louis Kurtz said the exercises Wednesday are required every year.

“We’re covering some live-fire training and in the classroom covering categories required by the FAA to conduct indexed training airports for certification and keep these guys up and running as well as giving them some refresher training to keep them very proficient with their firefighter skills and abilities,” Kurtz said.

Scenarios simulated what would happen if a plane were to catch fire and tested firefighters’ aptitude with a truck. Kurtz said that the simulations that ran Wednesday truly tested their skills.

“Well, luckily with this FAA-certified training we’re able to provide them with some very complex scenarios to where the firefighters and it is difficult for them, makes them use their skill sets and their mind to be able to put these fires out,” he said.

Participants walked away with a recertification Wednesday. The information provided has changed over time. ARFF Chief of Sawyer International, Joe Perry said they have adapted well to the changing environment of firefighting.

“With the new information given, it gives us a better chance of being able to fight a fire that involves different technologies so it gives us a better success rate,” Perry said.

More training sessions will be held on Thursday and local departments like Sands and Forsyth Townships are getting trained Wednesday evening.

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