Propane tanks, flames and real firefighters teach students how to react

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW - It's that time of year, the grass is dry, winds are heavy and firefighters are on high alert. Fire crews know that they can be called out to the front lines of situations where grass fires can do a lot of destruction in a very little amount of time.

Hutchinson firefighters say knowing what to do in those times can be the difference between life and death, which is why Hutchinson Community College puts a lot of resources into their fire academy.

"We take firefighters who’ve just been hired on smaller fire departments, we take students who want to be firefighters ,and we have volunteer firefighters as well," explained instructor Jason Holland.

It's the skills that firefighters know and rely on to put out fires and get people to safety. Those skills are what the students at the academy are getting a taste of this week.

"We just had a fire yesterday, and thankfully, it didn't get out of hand, but we know it could have, and we want everyone to be prepared for that," said Holland. "They’re doing forcible entry so we’re teaching these students how to enter buildings on fire. We also are going to learn how to put up ladders."

Holland says yesterday's grass fires were a wake up call and a reminder that last year's catastrophic wildfires can happen again.

"This training is important for a number of reasons," explained Holland. "We have 53 acres of land to train on but we also will show them how to fight a car fire, then end the night with a propane tank which a lot of rural homes in Kansas and surrounding communities have."

Holland says that students travel from around the Midwest for the training adding that this course helps to-be firefighters get their certification.

"They are really knowledgeable when it comes to fire behavior and how to react," said Collier Sanders, student. "I’m currently in the National Guard as well, working as a pilot and this is just a nice job with social service, and it kind of goes in line with what I do on the other side. So, it just kind of fits with what I look for in a career."

The course is offered five times a year for a two-week span.

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