Over 50 firefighters from Pratt and the surrounding area took part in a two-day training session sponsored by the Kansas State Fire Fighters Association.

The city of Pratt played host to more than 50 firefighters who were in town July 7 and 8 as part of Kansas State Firefighters Association training sessions.

Firefighters from Pratt, Larned State Hospital, Sawyer, Cullison, Barber County, Anthony, Harper, Pratt County Rescue, Township 12, Kingman County, Ellis County, Reno County, Argonia and Ford County participated.

Lessons covered included vehicle extraction, pump operations (running the fire truck), search and rescue, building construction and structural collapse, fire cause and determination, ventilation, burn trailer and wildfires.

Instructors and experienced firefighters from the Kansas State Firefighters Association offered constant support for people going through the training for the first time.

“We had a lot of people encouraging them and helping them along,” said Pratt Fire Chief David Kramer. ”It was an opportunity for inexperienced people to learn. Everybody seemed to enjoy it. No matter what the class is, they always take something away from it.”

Each session provided valuable information for various aspects of firefighting.

Search and rescue training put firefighters in rooms with no lights. They had to work as a team of two on their hands and knees to methodically search every part of the room. By training in these environments, firefighters can do their job more efficiently and safer with confidence.

The vehicle extraction class gave firefighters the opportunity to use a variety of tools to stabilize vehicles, pry open doors, cut off doors, roofs, hoods and trunks, Kramer said.

In the burn trailer, firefighters had to confront real fire and smoke and heat, some for the first time.

KSFFA President Kevin Flory said monthly training sessions help response become second nature. If a firefighter is comfortable with their skills and various equipment, they are less apprehensive when confronting a situation, he said.

Kramer said the fire departments really appreciated USD 382 for allowing them to use Liberty Middle School for class lessons and the parking lot for the burn trailer. That allowed everything to be close together and just across the street from the fire station.

“It was very valuable for all of us,” Kramer said.

The training sessions were open to any firefighter in the state. Each firefighter is there for the same reason whether they are paid or a volunteer.

“We want to do the best we can for our community. That’s what drives us,” Kramer said.