The San Saba Volunteer Fire Department sent six members to Bryan-College Station to attend fire training this year. The Fire School, associated with Texas A&M University, is one of the best in the nation, trains firefighters on all levels and is a very detailed hands-on school. The school trains both paid and non-paid firefighters from both large and small fire departments. Firefighters came from all over the United States, as well as from foreign countries, to attend this school.
John Romero and Jake Shepherd attended Firefighter II training, which is the second stage covering Laddering, Forcible Entry, Search and Rescue, and what every crazy firefighter loves, "Live Burns," or fighting real fires. Chris Stewart and Anthony Cantu attended Advanced Vehicle Extraction. They covered all aspects of vehicle safety, vehicle stabilization, removal of victims (alive and deceased), and advanced and basic tools for accomplishing these tasks. All four of these firefighters were in classes from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., working in the heat on the fire grounds.
The other two firemen, Al Hamrick and Allen Brown, attended classroom training on a separate campus. Al Hamrick attended classes involving City Inspection and Fire Investigation. Hamrick works as the City of San Saba Inspector/Fire Marshal, and also assists with fire investigations inside the City of San Saba. Allen Brown attended Firefighter Officer Development IV. This class covers the Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Command System (NICS). Class topics covered incidents ranging from large company level operations, such as high rise fires and hurricanes, as well as small structure or grass and wildland fires involving one department.
Two of our County Fire Departments sent students as well. Richland Springs sent firefighters Armondo Garcia and Rick Parham. The Cherokee Fire Department sent Chris Perry, Victor Cross and Keith Davis. This brought the total of firefighters from San Saba County up to eleven.
The Fire School at Texas A&M is a one-week, 40-hour class. Each firefighter must not only pass a written exam at the end of the week, but must perform numerous hands-on tests throughout the week. The school is paid for by a grant from the Texas Forest Service and the City of San Saba. Each and every one of these men have a full-time job in addition to their firefighting responsibilities. Nearly all of them used some, if not all, of their own vacation hours to attend this training.
The firemen from all of the County's departments, are very grateful to the people of San Saba County for their support in their training efforts to become better able to handle the emergencies that arise, both here and in other counties as well.