Training is the key to speed and efficiency when Rim Country fire departments respond to emergencies. That includes the ability for two or more departments to work together as a cohesive unit.
With that in mind, the Beaver Valley and Whispering Pines fire departments have developed a joint training schedule to better serve the residents of the neighboring communities and other areas of Rim Country.
Twice a month, the two departments work together to improve their knowledge and skills in dealing with fires and medical emergencies.
“Once each month, our volunteers go the Whispering Pines for our Thursday night session and later in the month, personnel from the Whispering Pines department come to Beaver Valley for training,” said BV Fire Chief Tom Zelkovich.
When the opportunity arises, the two departments also join forces for a half-day training program on Saturdays.
Recently, in an effort to increase the speed of response to fires, the two departments trained at Beaver Valley in the use of that department’s high-volume pump for refilling tanker trucks.
Each department had nine volunteers who gave up their Saturday morning to take part in the training.
“Because most Rim area communities don’t have fire hydrants, we have to bring water to any fire,” explained Rob Beery, Whispering Pines’ chief.
“It’s a long drive to Payson where the nearest hydrant is located, but with Beaver Valley’s pump system, we can cut the travel time by at least half. That helps reduce the possibility of running out of water for our pumper trucks.”
During the recent training, the departments set up a portable tank to hold a 3,000-gallon supply of water from which the pumper truck could draw. Then a tanker would fill at the BV pump site, return to the tank and refill it rapidly while the pumper continued to spray water. Working together, the two departments kept the large attack nozzle atop one of the Whispering Pines engines flowing at maximum output. As the portable tank’s contents dropped, the tanker truck refilled at the pumping station, returned to the tank and quickly dumped its contents before beginning another run.
“We want to do all we can to work quickly and efficiently during an emergency,” Beery said. “This training helps us better know the equipment and personnel of our neighboring department,” Zelkovich added.