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First Responders Converge at PTA for Fire Training

June 4, 2022, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated June 4, 9:53 AM
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First responders from Hawai’i Island conduct a week-long interagency training at U.S. Army Garrison Pōhakuloa Training Area on wildland fire fighting.  (U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii Public Affairs)

U.S. Army’s Garrison Pōhakuloa Training Area hosted a five-day combined agency wildland fire training seminar recently in preparation for the hot and dry summer conditions on the horizon for Hawai‘i Island.

Nearly 50 students from the Hawai‘i Fire Department, Hawai‘i State Crash Unit, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and PTA converged on the Army’s training base in the saddle region for classroom work and instruction, followed by hands-on training for newer recruits and seasoned first responders, the Army stated in a news release issued Friday, June 3.

“This combined training with our fellow first responders is another great example of how dedicated PTA is as a member of the ‘team of teams’ on Hawaii Island in training, building relationships, and preparing for the extreme fire season,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, U.S. Army Garrison Pōhakuloa Commander.

The first responders participated in two days of basic wildland firefighters class, one day of advanced wildland firefighter class and two days of rugged hands on skills utilizing trucks, varied water sources and different chainsaws.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department’s 50th and 51st recruit classes attended the interagency seminars, and it represent the first time ever that recruit classes gained a National Wildland Coordination Group, or NWCG training and certifications.

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The training syllabus and agenda received high praise from unit leadership representing all the students, and as a result, future recruit classes will be able to attend the same training course. Instructors from HFD and PTA also gained unique experience by teaching the NWCG curriculum.

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This entire week of interagency cooperation and interaction translates into a proactive and seamless response effort for any future wildland fires.

“This training was truly value added for all the fire fighters and is a key component of our overall efforts to always strive to get better,” Cronin said.

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