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Success like wildfire: Training event inspires firefighters

Firefighters received training on how to break through a door to gain access to a smoke filled house at the Training at the Crossroads event in Corinth Saturday.

Photo compliments of Bill Avery

BY L.A. STORY

lastory@dailycorinthian.com

Firefighters from across the region are more prepared than ever to do their job even more efficiently.

Hosted by the Corinth Fire Department, working with Dixie Firemanship, the third annual Training at the Crossroads event took place this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, providing both classroom and physical training.

Firefighters and instructors came from all over the region and across the country to participate in the event that has been declared a tremendous success, according to CFD Training Officer Jerry Whirley.

"It was awesome. It was great and the feedback we got from everybody was tremendous," said Whirley. "There were many who had never had any training like that before, but are now going to be able to take back what they've learned in three days and be able to help other people in their department who didn't get to come. In the end, this helps their citizens. I am just truly amazed. The weather was perfect."

The training brought together around 100 firefighters and instructors for the three days of training which began at the Northeast Mississippi Community College extension in Corinth with classroom time, which included Hazardous Materials training.

"It was pretty much a sell out. We branched out and did the Hazardous Materials training, so that was new this year," said Whirley. "We've got plans to make things different and bigger and better next year."

Physical training exercises on Saturday and Sunday were held at the James Young Firefighter Training Center on Manpower Road where the firefighters moved from one station to another to learn new or different techniques to help them perform their jobs more quickly and efficiently.

With around 100 firefighters coming together from around the country, the training officer said the camaraderie was tremendous where participants acted as though they had known each other forever. The event appeared to become a bonding experience as well as a training experience.

A great many of those who attended the event have expressed gratitude to Whirley and other organizations and instructors who were part of it.

"They're saying things like 'thank you for making me go to this class' and 'it was not what I expected' and 'I have a whole different understanding and outlook. I want to do more, train more, practice more,'" said Whirley. "That was our ultimate goal — to spread it like wildfire and instill it in somebody who will then go and teach others."

Along with the time it takes to coordinate such a large scale event, Whirley said the training weekend would not have been nearly the level it was if it had not been for those who helped sponsor the event. Businesses and organizations played a large role in making the event successful including Hampton Inn, Northeast at Corinth, Dixie Firemanship, Mississippi State Fire Academy, Goldys Fire Apparatus,The Sign Guy of Corinth, Coke, ServPro, Lowe's, Taylor's Escape, Timber Products, Smith Restaurant, Corinth Alcorn Bank Association, Corinth Fitness Factory, Alcorn Builders Supply, Crossroads Building Supply, EVS, Bucks BBQ, Marcos Pizza, PitStop, GG's Pizza and the PC station.

With everything that was accomplished, the training officer said the ultimate goal was met and that was what was most important.

"My goal was for these firefighters to learn effective techniques they can use on the job to perform their job more efficiently," said Whirley. "I feel like that goal was accomplished. We are looking forward to making it bigger and better next year."