South Solon training focuses on mayday call

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Messenger photo by Mike Munden

Central Township firefighter Jeremy Christian encounters a snare as he crawls through a training simulator at the Stokes Township/South Solon fire station April 26. Greg Carignan (right) of Central Township holds the rope while retired Stokes Township firefighter Bob Banion observes. Participating fire fighters followed a hose line through the simulator to encounter a lost or trapped situation, a snare or snag problem, a roof collapse or a floor collapse.

A fire fighter may go his entire career without calling a “mayday” to alert fellow fire fighters that he’s in trouble. If the situation arises, however, a properly made call could mean the difference between life and death.

On April 26, the South Solon/Stokes Township Fire Department hosted a mayday training. Sixteen fire fighters participated, each earning two certificates from the National Fire Academy. The participants hailed not only from South Solon but also Central Townships’ Newport fire station and Madison Township’s fire station in Clark County.

For the training, South Solon’s crew built a mayday simulator. After classroom work in the morning, the fire fighters spent the afternoon in full gear, crawling through the simulator’s four sections.

“One section puts them in a scenario where they are trapped, lost or disoriented,” said South Solon Capt. Emory Clark. “In the other sections, they get snagged on their water bottle, a roof collapses on top of them, and they fall through a floor.”

The simulator allows the fire fighters to practice what they should do if they find themselves in an unsafe situation.

“It’s a proactive training to help us be prepared in case we do have to call a mayday,” Clark said. “The thing they say in the course is that the first time you call it may be the last time; so you better know how to call it right.”

Clark said his department is more than willing to loan the simulator to other fire departments who want to conduct their own training. The device can be disassembled for transfer and reassembled onsite. Interested departments should call 740-490-8183 to make arrangements.

Entities that donated money or materials to build the simulator are All American Fire Equipment in Washington Court House, Barker’s Towing, and Madison County Hospital.

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