Wayne Township firefighters bringing intense training to Indiana to save lives

FiresMatt Stewart

The Wayne Township Fire Department has been sending some of its firefighters out of state to undergo some intense training, until now. One of its leaders is now brining the Smoke Diver training course to Indiana.

"My first day back I said, 'I have got to show you guys this.' There are things you can do with an air bottle that, unless you've been thrown in a scenario, you don't even think about," said Michael Phillips, Wayne Township Firefighter.

Phillips passed the course just under a year ago, and returned as a trainer last week when a fellow firefighter took the six-day Georgia Smoke Diver course.

The training is so tough that only about half of the firefighters who sign up get the certification.

"At Wayne, we'll do a weekly training on EMS, fire, Hazmat, whatever, but there's  really nothing to this level," said Matt Stewart, Wayne Township Fire Department Chief of Operations.

He has been behind the trips to Georgia for the last several years after undergoing the training himself.

Stewart is creating a nonprofit that will organize the training courses. Departments from all over the state will be invited.

"We're definitely not trying to be military or police officers, but we have the same level of stress, sometimes even more with the unknowns we face, but there are no real national standards that say firefighters have to attend these trainings or qualify," said Stewart.

"We're almost little seeds that we can plant this,and get it to spread throughout the fire service," said Phillips.

The first course will be taught sometime in 2013.

At this time, 13 firefighters with the department have the certification.

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