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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943



houses.wfd

UCM Sites Offer Valuable Training Opportunities for Warrensburg Firefighters

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 23, 2015) – Old houses scheduled for demolition at King and McGoodwin streets recently became part of valuable training exercises March 10-17 to benefit the local community thanks to a cooperative effort between the University of Central Missouri and the Warrensburg Fire Department.

Warrensburg Firefighters
During a training exercise, Warrensburg Fire Department personnel recently practiced “vertical ventilation” techniques on a house owned by the University of Central Missouri that will be demolished in the future to make room for new parking facilities. Among firefighters participating in the exercise were, from left, Capt. Karl Adkison, Firefighter EMT R.J. Corona, and Firefighter Specialist Brent Hansen.

With UCM planning to expand parking west of Audrey  J. Walton Stadium this fall, it used the opportunity to provide structures that are located on seven recently acquired properties to help teach firefighting techniques to the Fire Department’s full- and part-time employees. Through hands-on simulation experiences throughout the week, first responders learned about firefighter survival and rescue, what it was like to be inside a structure filled with smoke, how to safely use ladders and deploy water hoses, understanding  positive and negative pressure ventilation, and much more.

Individuals representing UCM’s Department of Public Safety; Environmental Health and Safety Services; Facilities, Planning and Operations; and Legal Affairs and Risk Management had roles in making the experience possible. Such efforts continue a long-standing spirit of cooperation with the community that has mutual benefits, according to Lori Dake, the university’s environmental health and safety manager.

With a main campus that covers 1,560 acres and has over 114 buildings, Dake said it is important that the university partner with groups such as the Warrensburg Fire Department and Johnson County Fire Protection District long before emergencies occur on campus.

 “We have a very strong relationship with all of our emergency responders, and it’s in the university’s best interest to work closely with them,” she said. “We want them to intimately know this campus because that will benefit UCM and the emergency responders if they must respond to a situation at the university.”

She pointed out that UCM’s Department of Public Safety also partners with the Warrensburg Police Department, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri Highway Patrol in preparation for major events and emergency situations. 

Doyle Oxley, assistant Warrensburg fire chief, said the training consisted of both classroom and hands-on experiences, and involved 37 Fire Department employees. He noted that among many exercises that took place in the old houses, the teams were able to use a “theatrical smoker” to simulate a smoke-filled building. This allowed firefighters to test out thermal-imaging equipment they use in search and rescue. Additionally, it provided opportunities for the Rapid Intervention Team to practice firefighter rescue skills which they could employ if a responder was trapped inside a burning structure. Some exercises, which could be used in much larger building fires, were tailored to work in the smaller house-type environment using a number of responders that is consistent with personnel typically available locally. 

“If there is a firefighter who gets hurt in a structure, on the national average if takes around 13 firefighters to get them out,” Oxley said. “We have to refine our skills because we don’t have that many people.”

Oxley added that other skill development opportunities included practicing “vertical ventilation” techniques. This is where firefighters climb to the roof of a house in full gear and create a hole that will allow gases to escape. The technique helps increase visibility inside the building, and eliminates the risk of a backdraft or smoke explosion which could potentially injure first responders.

He said the department was grateful for the opportunity to train in the structures provided by UCM. He praised the value of such opportunities for local responders who are challenged with making the best use of limited resources to serve the community.

“Our guys do an extremely good job of delivering service,” he said.

During a training exercise, Warrensburg Fire Department personnel recently practiced “vertical ventilation” techniques on a house owned by the University of Central Missouri that will be demolished in the future to make room for new parking facilities. Among firefighters participating in the exercise were, from left, Capt. Karl Adkison, Firefighter EMT R.J. Corona, and Firefighter Specialist Brent Hansen.