Firefighters in Callaway County are now more prepared to help fellow firefighters trapped in burning structures, thanks to a certification class hosted at Central Callaway Fire Protection District.
Firefighters who attended the class, put on through the University of Missouri, are now certified in RIT - Rapid Intervention Team Tactics - rescue techniques needed to rescue fellow firefighters who have found themselves trapped and incapacitated.
The class was made possible through funding released by Governor Jay Nixon's office, under the stipulation that it be used before June. Members of stations in North Callaway, Holts Summit and Fulton attended the 12-hour training course, which included a mix of classroom time and hands-on training.
Greg Luebbert, chief of Central Callaway Fire Protection District, was pleased with the training.
"It's the first time we've had a program like this," said Luebbert. "We practiced it and implemented a RIT team at most of our fires, but we haven't had to call on the team to rescue anybody. We're trying to stay on the cutting edge to make sure we can save our own firefighters."
In the class, taught by James Weaver, a Battalion Chief with Columbia Fire Department and an MU instructor, firefighters practiced techniques on their fellow firefighters in full gear - moving them through windows and off of rooftops - to give a full demonstration of what it took to help an injured or incapacitated firefighter out of a dangerous situation.
"It's always catastrophic when you have a fellow firefighter down," said Luebbert. "Hopefully we learned a few helpful tricks to make our job easier if we do have to rescue our own firefighters."