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Training heats up in firefighter partnership

WINDER -- Barrow County firefighters will team with Winder's this week for unique training that pits them against burning propane tanks -- all part of accelerated teaching methods the department is employing this year, leaders said.

Staff from the Georgia Fire Academy will visit Winder to conduct a "Pressurized Container Class" from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Fire officials issued a heads-up to residents in the area of Winder's Station 2: don't necessarily be alarmed if you spot small fires those nights.

"When this training is conducted, and the propane is burning, it will sound like a jet engine," said Capt. Bryan Bullock, Barrow County Training Officer. "It will all be completed safely (and) will make both departments more efficient in this type of fire."

The training helps firefighters learn to properly extinguish propane fires and alert them to telltale signs the tanks might explode. The propane is being donated by Amerigas, Gas Inc. and Vigas, officials said.

"This is another opportunity where our firefighters can come together and train side-by-side," said Bullock. "A propane tank fire is a very dangerous situation."

The class is another example of specialized training among Barrow's ranks this year.

In September, officials announced that all Barrow County Emergency Services firefighters had passed written and practical tests to bring themselves up to national standards.

The training -- designed by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications -- included topics such as fire-ground hydraulics, defensive driving and apparatus check-off procedures.

Aside from strengthening firefighter performance, the training reduces liability to the county, officials said.