Practice makes perfect

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Fire departments put equipment to the test at former steam plant

Brimfield firefighter James Lawson and William Myers of the Kent Fire Department stare down at fellow Portage County Search and Rescue squad workers as they perform a drill.

Elizabeth Myers | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Although the steam plant next to the Art Building doesn’t supply heating and cooling for Kent State anymore, it has come in handy for local fire departments.

Yesterday, more than five fire departments visited Kent State to practice rescuing victims from confined spaces.

Jeff Coffey, firefighter for the Kent Fire Department, said the simulated rescue situations were part of an advanced confined space rescue class.

As a “victim” pretended to injure his knee, firefighters practiced lifting a man vertically, using a pulley system to get him on platforms connected by metal ladders. The firefighters then practiced moving the victim from platform to platform.

Coffey said the training went very well.

“We overcame all the obstacles,” he said.

Another simulation was planned to be held inside a boiler, but Jim Williams, fire chief for the Kent Fire Department, said the plans changed because it was too easy.

“It’s wide open on the inside,” Williams said. “The only hard part is getting the victim out of the hole.”

Coffey agreed, adding the firefighters would be disappointed if the simulation wasn’t a challenge.

“I enjoy this training,” he said. “All the guys are here because they want to be here.”

Coffey said Kent State has allowed local fire departments to use the former steam plant for the past three years. He said they have also used underground heating tunnels and used Terrace Hall before it was demolished for practice.

Contact news correspondent Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].