Here at Stern Rubber, we are proud to support local firefighters and departments, and our own firefighting team members, Barry Hirschey of Staples Fire Department and Bob Jackson of Pillager Fire and Rescue. Recently in the Brainerd area, the talk of fire was a popular topic when a local resort offered an amazing training opportunity.
Quarterdeck Resort, located on Gull Lake has been a fixture in the lakes area for decades. Yet this classic property also needed a great deal of renovation. With the new owners of the resort realizing that the old buildings were nearly unsalvageable, they decided to offer the opportunity to local fire departments, to use them for training. So the Pillager Fire Department, along with Central Lakes College, teamed up to host a regional training burn, using an 8 unit motel building. With the intention of gathering a few other departments and some new comers to the firefighting business to have the opportunity to practice their skills, the list soon hit 150 firefighters from all across the state that wanted to train, and practice in the Birchwood building at Quarterdeck. Along with the firefighters, prior to the burn, the Cass County SWAT team also took advantage of the old hotel for some tactical training.
Bright and early on March 12th, the firefighters from Pillager arrived, and got set up at the Quarterdeck sight. Soon their trainees arrived, and throughout the day, several room burns, and search and rescue missions were done, giving everyone the opportunity to learn some new firefighting tactics. With each burn, instructors and students worked together to use thermal imaging cameras, different spraying techniques, and many other tools and tactics to battle the blazes they were faced with. At the end of the day, after having nearly 150 firefighters test their skills, the Pillager department finished up, and let the building burn. For many small, rural volunteer departments like Pillager, Staples and many of the others that attended the training, live burns are very important, because they often only face two or three actual structure fires a year.
As part of the training burn, CLC took the opportunity to invite some community members to get in on the fun, and experience what it is like to be in a fire. They had to go through a few days of training to be qualified to wear the self contained breathing apparatus. This included some members of the local paper, as well we the local news, and some members of the local Chambers of Commerce. Here are some links to a story from the Brainerd Daily Dispatch, a video from Lakeland Public News: https://www.facebook.com/LakelandPublicTelevision/videos/1218024791560766/, and another video from the Brainerd Daily Dispatch: http://www.brainerddispatch.com/video/UQ12yYzI.
This was just one of many types of controlled burns that fire departments do to practice for the occurrence of a real structure fire, although not too often do firefighters from several departments across the state, gather in one place to learn and train together. From all of us here at Stern Rubber, we are proud to support our local firefighters and departments, and are happy to see such a unique training take place in our back yard.