- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

KENAI, Alaska (AP) - Firefighters from around Alaska wrapped up a training conference with some friendly competition in demonstrating work-related skills.

Some 250 firefighters attended the 2014 Alaska Fire Conference, which concluded Saturday, the Peninsula Clarion reported (https://is.gd/GMGzi3 ). The conference kicked off Sept. 17 at Kenai Central High School.

Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell was among the speakers at the opening ceremony.

“Never stop training,” said Treadwell, who lost his father in a fire.

Saturday’s competitive events included a 3.43-kilometer race in honor of the 343 New York City firefighters who died on 9/11. Many of the participating competitors ran in full gear, including masks and oxygen tanks.

Other events included racing to extinguish a barrel fire, setting up a ladder and hooking up a hose by relay teams.

Next year’s conference is scheduled to be held in Seward.

“Fire service training is everything,” conference spokesman Bud Sexton said. “To be able to get exposure from all these individuals - who are all top notch trainers in their field - it is valuable.”

Richard Lewis with the Kotzebue Fire Department said he took an aircraft fire training class during the conference. He said his volunteer department also provides service to the Ralph Wien Memorial Airport.

“It is good to know how to fight an aircraft fire in the event an accident happens,” Lewis said. “Now I know what to do and can bring that knowledge back to my department and educate those guys.”

Firefighter Jimmie Kagak with the Wainwright Volunteer Fire Department took a training class on critical incident special management. A 20-year veteran firefighter, Kagak left the live training to more junior firefighters.

“The managerial classes are good for me to learn from my peers,” he said. “Live training is valuable for the new guys. I was once a young buck wanting to prove myself. In this job you learn something new every day.”

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, https://www.peninsulaclarion.com


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