Aurora Airport, Area Fire Districts Team Up for Training

There’s an old saying: You don’t rise to the occasion; you fall back on your training. When lives are threatened by an out-of-control fire, the training our local heroes receive thanks to the Aurora State Airport has proven vital.

The first responders on the front lines in Marion County are challenged with new emergencies every day which require sharper problem solving and decision-making skills.

To overcome these challenges, many agencies like the Aurora Fire District, Canby Fire District, Hubbard Fire District and Woodburn Fire District rely on dynamic, real-life training for the wide array of challenges that are thrown at them.

Luckily, these agencies have found a partner with the Aurora State Airport to build training programs that help their departments stay sharp and ready for anything that threatens their community.

In partnership with Aurora Airport businesses, the Veterans Retreat Center, and various property and building owners at the airport, Fire Districts in Aurora, Canby, Hubbard, and Woodburn conduct all-day trainings that run through scenario-based, real-life skills needed to respond to a wide range of emergency situations.

These trainings have been a regular, ongoing occurrence since 2018.

Greg Dyke, the Operations Chief for the Aurora Fire District, put it best: “Trainings using the buildings and property provide us with the most realistic conditions that we will face out in our community. When we train in a training tower, which we don’t have readily available to us, it is challenging to provide a lot of vergencies to our scenarios.

“When we have a donated structure, we are able to provide our members with new challenges and new scenarios to help them sharpen their decision making and problem-solving skills.”

Among the scenarios from the training are; search and rescue with victim removal, firefighter rescue, hose deployment and advancement techniques, and vertical ventilation.

All of these scenarios lead up to the live-fire training portion where the crews were able to observe fire behavior and fire flow paths throughout a structure — a crucial skill for firefighter safety and survival.

The other major benefit of using the property for real-life training? Partnership, Dyke says.

The trainings allow them to actively strengthen their relationships, familiarity, and communications with neighboring agencies, relationships and skills that are vital considering the high number of mutual aid calls these agencies face.

The first responding agencies have used the Aurora State Airport as their partner for these trainings for almost two years to keep their teams sharp and prepared for any emergency.

The real-life, scenario-based training will continue to prove vital as Oregon fire season throws new obstacles each year. Our airport businesses will continue to partner with our local fire agencies and first responders on the front lines to make sure local communities are safe and emergency-ready.

Dylan Frederick is spokesman for Friends of Aurora Airport and directs public relations and communications for clients at Public Affairs Counsel.

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