East Fork Fire District to hold conference

Nearly 300 firefighters will head to Carson Valley this week for the Nevada State Firefighters Association Annual Training Conference.

At the conference sponsored by the East Fork Fire and Paramedic District, fire professionals and volunteers will train in hands-on scenarios.

Topaz Ranch Estates Fire Chief Ronna Hubbard is in charge of the conference, which starts Monday. She said the conference will offer management training, wildland incident instruction, rescue tactics and fire prevention for small communities.

Lt. Scott Maxwell of the New York City Fire Department will be a keynote speaker. He will lecture on the World Trade Center's collapse.

East Fork fire officials will analyze the Carson Valley Inn fire that damaged the adjacent motor lodge in December 2001.

"The conference is mostly for volunteers that could not otherwise afford to go to a conference," Hubbard said. "For some, it is the only training they receive."

Hands-on training will be in the Carson Valley Inn parking lot. Hubbard said there will be a burn trailer that simulates an interior structure fire, a confined-space trailer that makes firefighters find their way in a dark maze and a training tower from Incline.

The fire district has not hosted a conference since 1990. This is the 68th annual event for Nevada. Last year's conference was in Winnemucca.

The public is invited to watch the firefighters compete in events at the Carson Valley Inn from 6:30-7:30 a.m. June 26 and 27. Using manipulative skills, firefighters will be timed climbing ladders, pulling 100-pound sleds and doing other tasks while dressed in full gear.

Firefighters will also participate in water fights and monkey drills at Lampe Park on at noon June 28.

"This will be the state championship of water fights," Hubbard said. "In these, they use the skills they learn like aiming the water stream and moving the hose forward and backward."

Shannon Brecik, an engineer for the Gardnerville Volunteer Fire Department, said the monkey drills are even more exciting.

"(In the monkey drills,) the individual has to connect a hose to lines before the water reaches you, or you get covered in pressurized water, " Brecik said. "These are little things, silly things, monkey things, but everyone enjoys them."

There will be a memorial service for Nevada's fallen firefighters at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Minden Park.

Brecik said the conference will also have a silent auction with proceeds going to the Firefighter Burn Foundation.

The conference will also host a blood drive with the Northern Nevada blood bank at the Carson Valley Inn on Friday. The district hopes to collect 100 pints of blood, Brecik said.


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