At the Bloomington Fire Department, fire training is a serious matter. Firefighters learn skills and techniques that help them save lives, preserve property and keep themselves safe. Training provides firefighters with experience to deal with any situation.
“When we show up somewhere, we want to be prepared. We don’t want it to be our first time seeing something,” Assistant Fire Chief Jay Forster said. “Firefighters show up to an incident prepared to make the operation run very smoothly, and you can only do that by having good training and good equipment.”
BFD trains weekly on a variety of topics, including live fire structure training, hoseline deployment, ladder, forceable entry training, vehicle extrication, ropes and knots, small equipment training, SCBA, ice rescue, water rescue and EMS training.
Training occurs at each of the fire stations and at the South Metro Training Facility in Edina. Last fall, BFD was able to conduct several fire trainings inside the old Days Inn building before it was demolished.
As fire trucks became larger and more complex, the BFD improved its training to include operation of a fire truck.
“We’re driving these massive vehicles around, and we have to know how to drive them, how to operate them, how to pump when we need water, how to put the ladder up on an aerial truck,” Forster said. “So, yes things have changed in how we may do training, but I still believe that from the day I joined, it’s important to be prepared, to get there quickly and do a good job.”
Through the years, as the fire service improved its tools and trucks. One thing remained unchanged—BFD’s fire training program.
“Bloomington Fire has always had a good reputation of being well-trained. And that started back many, many years ago,” Forster said. “When I got on the department, they were really big on training. And we still are today.”