PHOTOS: Firefighters from across the US flock to Casper for the first-ever “ High Plains Fire Conference ”
CASPER, Wyo. – Firefighters from across the country will travel to Casper for the first-ever High Plains Fire Conference scheduled for May 14-16.
The conference will be the first of its kind in the Casper area, offering both lectures and hands-on training for firefighters at multiple locations in the Casper area.
“We started from Ground Zero this year,” said Garrett Crotty, one of three people at Casper who hosted the conference. Crotty said the idea behind the conference was to provide local firefighters “nationwide training without having to travel nationwide.”
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While the conference will provide training for firefighters working in various departments in Natrona County as well as fire science students at Casper College, around 80 firefighters will come from states like Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and Illinois, according to Crotty. A total of 100 firefighters have already registered.
“Right now we’re about 30-35 students short in terms of what our instructors can provide,” said Crotty.
Other Casperites who helped bring the High Plains Fire Conference to town include Adam Maiers, who is a Brothers in Battle fire instructor and Micah Rush, owner of Casper-based Peak Rescue.
Rush and Maiers are among the conference instructors, and other instructors are from other cities. Crotty said the instructors were selected based on the quality of teaching they demonstrated while he, Maiers and Rush attended other fire training courses around the country.
The first day of the conference will include lectures from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. What will make the conference unique are the two days of hands-on training Saturday and Sunday, according to Crotty.
There will be teaching in two main areas:
- Fire: engine company training, truck company training, fitness training that incorporates engine and truck skills.
- Rescue: Two courses per day run by Peak Rescue, involving confined space, tower rescue, rope rescue and firefighter survival.
Crotty highlighted some of the training opportunities that will be available to firefighters, noting a course on “DIY Engines”. He said two donated mobile homes were being fitted out to look like realistic home décor.
During hands-on training, this will support more realistic scenarios for firefighters.
Some of the classes include a forced entry class designed to teach skills for forcing different doors, a class providing techniques on using ground ladders to throw ladders and sizing buildings, and a “Mindset” fitness class. where students will test their fitness level and skill sets. Crotty said a training frame for the fitness class, “Fit to Fight Fire,” implemented scenarios based on real rescues that they recently participated in.
The lecture portion of the conference will take place at Casper College. Hands-on training sites include Casper College, Peak Rescue facilities, and the Natrona County Regional Fire Training Center.
Crotty said the “High Plains Fire Conference” will be hosted by the non-profit organization “Fire Nuggets” which works to provide low cost training and education on fires.
Crotty, Maiers and Rush started hosting the conference in early 2021. They plan to make the High Plains Fire Conference an annual event and are looking for donations to make sure it can happen.
Crotty said the donations will cover operational expenses such as lunches for participants as well as hotels, flights and instructor compensation as well as some equipment costs. The conference is being held in May in order to avoid time conflicts with other training opportunities offered across the country.
Those interested in supporting the conference can visit the High Plains Fire Conference Facebook page.