IFSI Recognizes Instructors for LARA

The University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) recognizes instructors who exemplify quality instruction, student engagement, professional demeanor and knowledge base.  In April, IFSI recognizes the instructors who developed and delivered the first Large Animal Rescue Awareness (LARA) classes.  The team of three worked together over the last three years to develop the new class and to cultivate and train other instructors to teach the class.

Deke Carls is a veterinarian and also works as a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician-B.  He serves as Captain on the Hillsdale Fire Protection District volunteer fire department, has been on that department since 2001, and has been on IFSI's field staff since 2012.  Deke graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009 and practices at Oakwood Veterinary Service, an equine and small animal clinic in Colona. He has had a long-term interest in horses and has been involved in the equine industry his entire life.


Bill Fulton grew up on a livestock farm near Salem and serves on the Salem Fire Department, while actively farming and working in the community.  His farm includes a herd of beef cows and a flock of sheep. His interest in farming and livestock drove his desire to help develop the class on large animal rescue.  He has also been active with in other ag rescue classes and was published last year in Fire Engineering on the problems of methane buildup in hog confinement buildings and possible fire hazards. Bill has been on the IFSI field staff since 2004 and has taught more than 196 classes in a variety of topics.

Chuck Sheahen has been a field instructor for IFSI since 2006 and serves on the Scales Mound Fire Protection District. He is retired from the Rolling Meadows Fire Department and retired after 27 years as a Lieutenant. Chuck has taught more than 160 classes for IFSI and has 15 skillsets. Chuck’s interest in large animals is in horseback riding. He is a riding instructor with the Certified Horsemanship Association in both English and Western equitation.

"Each member of the LARA team brings a unique perspective and experience dealing with large animals. Together they worked to develop this now popular class," Ray Palcynski said. Palcynski was also a driving force to develop the class for IFSI.

The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the statutory State Fire Academy for Illinois.  In addition to training provided at its Champaign campus, the Institute offers one-day hands-on classes for fire departments at Regional Training Centers and local fire stations across the State.  The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research.


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