SAMOA, Calif. (KIEM) Local firefighting students are getting some critical training to help protect us during wildfire season at the Samoa Dragstrip. State parks, volunteer fire departments, the Karuk Tribe, and the Six Rivers National Forest worked hand and hand on Friday’s, April 29, 2022, event. The goal of the event is to prepare first responders to handle real life scenarios while responding to emergencies this upcoming fire season. Students trained through simulated real-life courses they may encounter when responding to an incident. Such as construction zones, highways, street intersections, and pedestrians. 

Captain Tom Skokesberry at The Six Rivers National Forest explains the benefit of the students taking the course.

“So, what we like to do out here is put these new firefighters who are responding as drivers and operators in these vehicles running lights and sirens. This gives them an opportunity to see what that feels like for the first time out in the field. So, the first time they experience it is not actually when they are responding to their first incident of the fire season. This gives them an opportunity to work with other role players and other vehicles in simulated situations to see what that feels like when the adrenaline starts pumping and they are responding to an incident.”  

What these students experience during these real-life scenarios prepares them with the emotions and feelings they may face when they are responding to an emergency incident. 

Timothey Hyatt, AFEO Redwood Park, explains how he felt during the class and how effective the class was.

” I felt pressured. I felt the scenarios were realistic. The first one you hit will definitely get your blood flowing a little bit. There’s a truck in front of you on the drag strip that hits their breaks and another vehicle in the oncoming lane. So, at that point is when you realize that it is on. I feel very prepared. There is absolutely no teacher like the real world, but I feel like this is a great opportunity to teach folks how to operate emergency vehicles safely in complex environments.” 

Captain Stokesberry says that they have had great feedback from pass students that have taken the class and responded to an incident for the first time. 

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