FEMA Fire Grant Helps Build Illinois Facility For First Responder Training

Washington, D.C. – On July 19, 2003, the first annual McDonough County Emergency Responder School was held in Macomb, Illinois. The school’s unique design was a direct result of input from local fire departments, Macomb Police Department, McDonough District Hospital, and Spoon River College. Topics and activities of the school will help develop and sharpen skills and knowledge of emergency responders and community leaders.

The First Responder School was funded in part by Assistance to Firefighters Grant of $49,275 awarded to the Macomb Fire Department as part of the 2002 program. The funds, along with additional money from the city of Macomb, were used to help build the state-of-the-art facility, which boasts a hose, ladder, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus drill structure, training mobile home, and other facilities.

More than 150 firefighters and first responders attended the school according to Lt. Roger Lunt, school director and Macomb firefighter. The First Responder School attracted local departments from Illinois, Iowa, and several other states. Topics in the school include fire ground basics, lifesaving drills, pump operations, hazards and treatment of injuries, and fire scene management. Instructors at the school are a cross-section of emergency and firefighting professionals, many of whom are from the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute.

In all, four drills were held, the last of which was an exercise requiring an Emergency Operations Center and Unified Command System. The mock incident simulated a gunman firing form the top of the four story training structure, with first responders assisting victims on the ground.

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