Bladen Community College is sponsoring an Emergency Services Seminar on November 4, 5, and 6 at its Dublin campus designed to enhance the effectiveness of emergency units in and around the county.
The training will be provided through a program developed especially for individuals in the emergency services arena by professionals in a number of disciplines. Most of the instructors who will participate in the event are Bladen residents known to most emergency services personnel in the county.
According to Program Developer Tim Tatum, who is coordinating the effort, the initiative is not a new idea but rather one that has been used at various locations around the state to better equip emergency services professionals to accomplish their mission.
Similar programs around the state have sometimes been called "fire academies" because they were developed primarily for firefighters.
However, Tatum says that expanding the program to provide training for all emergency services personnel can be very beneficial, since some of the skills needed in one area spill over into the other areas. One area he specifically cited as important to all three is driving of emergency vehicles.
"Our primary purpose is to help our emergency services organizations with essential training that directly impacts their ability to carry out their responsibilities," said Tatum.
The 3-day, 18-hour program provides both classroom and hands-on training on basic and advanced skills, Tatum added. A specific curriculum has been designed for each specialty.
In addition to driver training, EMS personnel will receive training on terrorism, unarmed self-defense for emergency workers, and Spanish for emergency workers. Law enforcement personnel will also get these two classes.
Firefighters will get training on handling hazardous materials, use of personal protective equipment, the mobile live burn simulator, the incident command system, portable fire extinguishers, and arson detection for first responders.
Another class provided by the North Carolina Forestry service will entail training on wildfire containment, where it interfaces with an urban setting.
This class, called S-205 Fire Operations in the Urban Interface, will equip firefighters to understand evacuation protocols, placement of equipment and personnel, interaction with forestry service equipment and personnel, and its interface with the incident command system.
"This program was first started earlier this year; however, it was developed on a short notice last spring and did not allow for adequate time to notify the various emergency services organizations in the county," said Tatum. "As a result, attendance was poor. Only two classes formed.
"We have since learned that many of the emergency workers would have attended had they been aware of the seminar," Tatum said.
"This year we began developing the class much earlier with the idea that we would have at least a 15-day lead time to firm up projected attendance before the seminar. Based on discussions with the various emergency units in the county, attendance should be much better this year," Tatum said.
He pointed out that the community college setting is an excellent forum for this type of program because it is a continuing education initiative. Providing continuing education programs is a primary responsibility of the Community College system.
"We have around 500 people in Bladen involved, either as volunteer professionals or paid professionals, in emergency service disciplines," said Tatum. "We believe it is important that our emergency personnel have access to the best training available."
Tatum said that the burn simulator is especially valuable tool for firefighters.
"We were fortunate to be able to get it for the seminar," he said. "As a rule, it is booked up most of the time. The simulator is owned and operated by Triple C Fire and Rescue Training Company of Garner. It is in demand virtually all of the time and we feel very fortunate that we were able to get it for our program."
On Saturday night, there will be an appreciation dinner for all participants in the Multipurpose building on campus.
During the seminar, there will be vendors who will demonstrating and offer for sale emergency service products, Tatum added.
For additional information on the seminar, call Tatum at 879-5557.