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Firefighters stay prepared for the worst
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Firefighters participate in dive training on July 21. This training provides them with the necessary tools they may need during a search and rescue.

EDITOR’S NOTE; This will be a four part series on the type of training that first responders of Barton County go through to ensure they are continuously ready to assist the public.

Every profession has its specialized training, but some jobs take this instruction a step further. Doing so benefits the person doing the coaching, and it benefits the public as well. This is what the Great Bend Firefighters go through on a daily basis.
Firefighters hone their skills in all types of conditions that help them be prepared to save lives and to put out fires or even rescue a cat from a tree. To them nothing is more important than protecting the public.
“The training these guys go through is very important for them and to the public,” Fire Chief Mike Napolitano said. “We never know what will be thrown at us on any given day and who will be at risk.”
According to Napolitano, the state does not require any mandated drills for firefighters. It is left to individual departments. Each year the Great Bend Fire Department tries to focus their training in all different areas.
Diving is one aspect of search and rescue, which they are called upon to perform periodically.
Firefighters also participate in live burn exercises to prepare them for real fires. This also teaches them to trust their equipment and to get them used to it during a fire.

Other training that these firefighters participate in includes:
• Confined Space (Instructed by Hazmat Response)
• Advanced Cardiac Life Support (Instructed by Debbie Glenn and Jon Perron)
• Pediatric Advanced Life Support (Instructed by Lifeteam)
• Positive Pressure Fire Attack Class (Instructed by Lt. Kevin Maloney, Greeley, Colorado Fire Department)
• Aerial Response Group Training (Hosted by Great Bend Fire Department)
• Airport Group Training (Instructed by GBFD)
• Target Solution 5 on-line EMS and fire training
• 365 total man-hours for the department GBFD
• International Arson Investigators Association (Kansas Chapter) Seminar
• Decision Making for Initial Company Operations class at Hays
• Task Force 5 Technical Rescue Team Training at Crisis, City in Salina
• Fire Department Instructor Conference
• KU Instructor Conference-B.C. Stettinger and Captain Stansfield
• Kansas EMS Association Conference
• KU Grain Entrapment Training
• National Fire Academy (Command and Control of Target Hazards)
• MU Aircraft Part 139 Refresher Training Fires

According to the Kansas Fire Marshal, the Fire Marshals Association of Kansas strives to unite the fire service of Kansas, as well as supporting industry into a group with similar goals and professional standards and ethics. Their objectives are to:
• Provide and improve fire and life safety for the citizens of Kansas
• Bring together fire service professionals of Kansas to discuss and solve fire and life safety issues
• Provide quality fire inspections and investigations across Kansas
• Promote fire safety and assure favorable support from the citizens of Kansas
• Standardize the codes and regulations used by fire prevention professionals in Kansas