Firefighters Hone Skills at Firehouse Expo HOT Classes

BALTIMORE – Those who donned turnout gear and sweated through a number of evolutions Tuesday during HOT classes at Firehouse Expo say it was well worth it.

Mark Chronister, who has taken part in training for several years says he learns something everytime he attends.

“Ron Moore always gives an excelled class. The school bus rescue this year was challenging,” he said.

Tom Connors, a firefighter from Islip Terrace, N.Y., appreciated the opportunity to work with different tools.

“It’s also been great to work with others. I’ve learned a lot from some of these guys.”

Connors lauded the instructors for creating some challenging scenarios such as a school bus overturned onto a car. Crews had to stabilize the vehicles before they tried the various tools to gain entry.

Chronister, a volunteer with Fannett Metal Fire/EMS in Pennsylvania, added that he enjoyed working with the various vendors to learn the capabilities of the equipment.

Old Fort Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief David Moore, one of three from his South Carolina department to join the extrication classes, said words couldn’t describe his experience.

“Yeah, I’m hot,” he laughed, “But, this has been great today. There’s such a wealth of knowledge here, and I’m trying to take it all in and learn from them…”

Moore said he’s anxious to take back what they learn and teach others.

Across town, firefighters from around the country were teaming up at vacant row houses to practice a number of skills.

Bob Walker with Burlington Township, N.J. Fire Department, said it was a privilege for him to learn from people with incredible experience. “We’re learning the ins and outs, and things they’ve learned over the years.”

Fellow Firefighter Mike Rock echoed his gratitude. “Everything here has been beneficial for us…”

Jason Bergstrom is passionate about training. In fact, he’s taken the HOT courses at a number of venues. Truck work, forcible entry were among the skills he practiced Tuesday.

“Some of the best part of this,” he said wiping seat from his forehead, is getting to talk to people from all over the place. They are bringing a lot of different material to the table…”