The Grand Junction Fire Department feels that you can never be too prepared. Firefighter crews present a neighborhood training session at true life church, staging a wildfire emergency and explaining how they respond to a call.
The key part of the session is to make it as realistic as possible. According to Fire Chief Watkins, the mass presence of mesa county’s different agencies represent how responding to a major fire is a community effort.
“When there’s a large incident, we set up what’s called a JIC which is a joint information center,” Chief Ken Watkins explains, “We’ll pull in our communication partners to help with all the different facets that have to be worked on related to communicating about and incident.”
Every fire agency present brings a booth to show residents how to keep homes safe and prevent the spread of flames.
This year’s training scenario takes place for a school. A big takeaway from the training is how communication is everything, no matter the emergency.
“In a exercise like this where we get to practice talking to each other, we get to practice speaking each other’s language and, particularly in this sense where there was a school involved, we all know that we have to communicate and we have to work with the school district,” Dirk Clingman elaborates, “The school district has to work with the parents and we all have to do what we need to do together to keep our community safe.”
Most wildfires tend to happen from either lightning or human actions. Fire officials to encourage residents to create a defensible space around their homes and subscribe to fire alerts before the wildfire season starts.