Rob Knuth is the training director of the North Dakota Firefighters Association and the assistant chief for the Minot Rural Fire Department.
Knuth stated that this means that firefighters (96 percent) must be trained in various areas.
The Fire School offers a variety of levels of training. It includes beginning training for firefighters just joining their local fire departments to more advanced training in the tactical and strategic plans for chief officers and fire officers.
Live fire training will be provided for firefighters. This allows them to use live fires in a structure outside of the All Seasons Arena. They will also learn how to rescue a victim from an automobile wrecked. The class will also cover rope used for high-angle and low-angle rescues and water rescues.
The event will feature 800 students from North Dakota and 60 instructors. Knuth stated that some instructors are also from other states.
Knuth stated that it was possible to have as many as 30 people in a class of 20 fire departments.
Volunteer fire departments depend on mutual assistance from nearby fire departments. The Fire School training allows people to train alongside firefighters from another department, which could be helpful in an emergency.
Knuth stated that the most significant fire he responded to was one at Earth Recycling in Minot many years ago. It took several days to finish.
Sometimes, firefighters may need specialized equipment on a particular scene. This is when firefighters call upon their neighbors and friends from larger departments to assist them. A state emergency response team can also be called upon.
Knuth stated that volunteer firefighters appreciate being allowed to respond to emergency calls or pages. Employers that do not allow volunteer firefighters to respond will make it more challenging to call neighboring fire departments and take longer to extinguish the fire or react on an emergency call. Volunteer fire departments are essential because many communities cannot afford a career firefighter.
Knuth stated that fire departments in the state are struggling to find volunteers.
Firefighting can be both time-consuming and demanding. It requires dedication. When it is below zero degrees, firefighters might be called to respond at 2 a.m.
Knuth stated that there are other volunteer opportunities than firefighting. Fire departments also need volunteer dispatchers, secretaries/treasurers, and volunteers to clean up the fire trucks after a fire and put them back in service before the subsequent fire or rescue call.
Knuth stated that lodging and meals are the only expenses out of pocket. The North Dakota Firefighters Association pays the training cost. Firefighters who attend this weekend’s training do not need to pay.