Volunteers receive hands-on training

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department fireman Eddie Odom quickly sawed through the front windshield of the disabled car.
Chips of glass flew through the air, pelting the front visor of the fireman's helmet as fellow volunteers assisted him as he pulled the driver's side of the windshield off.
The corner of Cypress Street and Pensacola Avenue resembled the scene of a car accident Monday night, but fortunately no accident had occurred. It was all part a training exercise.
Twenty-five men and women took part in the volunteer firefighter 160 class, which offers hands-on training that is not only valuable to the volunteers, but can prove life-saving in the event of an actual accident.
"It went real good," Atmore Fire &Rescue Chief Gerry McGhee said. "They tore the cars up. We've got good volunteers in the area and we all try to work together. I just hope every one of them will pass the test."
The 160 class is intended to teach volunteers more about fighting fires, rescues and extrications and all about fire safety. Volunteers with Atmore, Nokomis, Poarch, Stockton and McCullough make up the class.
"We can teach through the fire college, but you have to have 15 interested in taking the class," McGhee explained. "We got five departments involved, so we were able to fill a class. I want to thank the departments from the surrounding areas for participating and making the class possible. These volunteers already volunteer enough time with no pay and by doing it this way, they didn't have to travel far."
Once the local training is complete, an instructor from the Alabama Fire College will come to Atmore to administer a test. Those who pass will be certified volunteer firefighters. Those who may not pass have two more chances of passing before having to retake the entire 160 class.
Several other community members helped make the 160 class possible.
"I would like to thank David Gibbs (David's Paint &Body) for bringing the cars down and letting us practice on them," McGhee said. "That way if any of these volunteers go to an accident they will know how to cut someone out. We also appreciate Kelley's Ambulance for letting us use their classroom because it's already set up with tables and screens. All the instructors are appreciated as well for giving up their time to help these men and women."
Mike Staples, Jeremy Blackmon, Robbie Johnson, Dan Currie and Chris McGhee are the instructors who are training the volunteers.
"We're all the time looking for volunteers in the surrounding areas," McGhee said. "If you want to volunteers call the fire department."
Those volunteers participating include, Benji Dunlap and Jeremy Odom of Atmore; April Sells and Linda Jackson of Poarch; Eddie Odom, Sheila Odom, Jackey Odom and Jonathan Nelson of Nokomis; Justin Barnes, Rodney Kirrchar and Jeremy Touisann of Stockton; Eddie Kirby, Mary Sells, Tom Benner, Virginia Edwards and Keith Emmons of McCullough and Joey Kelley, Wanda Smith, Leta Cure, Tony Tilton, Stephen Johnson, Susan Odom, Don Little and Sandy Flowers of Kelley's Ambulance Service.

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