Firefighters take all sorts of training classes to protect your house and personal possessions?

Last weekend, 17 local firefighters participated in a survival skills course taught by five Pa. Fire Academy Instructors, hosted by the Nesquehoning Hose Company.

Funding for the program is provided by the state Fire Commissioners Office.

Fire companies represented were composed of Nesquehoning, Summit Hill, Lehighton, Mahoning Valley and Beaver Meadows.

The practical sessions were held at Panther Valley High School in the morning and the KME Warehouse building No. 21 in the afternoon.

Classroom training was held Friday evening at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency training room. At the completion of the course, each participant received a PA State Fire Academy certificate.

The training has come back after a hiatus due to state budget cuts. Each fire fighter learns how to manuever through a commercial structure which is harder to navigate through than a house.

Using a rope to guide them through the structure, the knots in the rope are tied every 20 feet, which serves as an indication of how far they are getting to their destination. The rope also leads them back outside the structure.

A 200-foot rope is used with 200 more that can be added to it. In addition, firefighter safety and survival is constantly stressed.

Each group of firefighters are timed due to the amount of air supplied in their breathing apparatus to prevent them from running out of an air supply. Constant radio communication is a key element to allow the team manager on the outside to document their location and conditions in the event of the group becoming entangled or trapped inside the building.

Nesquehoning Fire Chief John McArdle said updated refresher classes are offered to the firefighters.