Experience is the best teacher

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During the final training for the Fire Cadets held on Saturday, May 21 the cadets train for a simulated rollover situation.  Photo by Teri Nehrenz

During the final training for the Fire Cadets held on Saturday, May 21 the cadets train for a simulated rollover situation. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

People acquire information not only by studying books, but also by studying human behavior. Students study in college and/or trade schools for their professions and some of those professions require a different type of learning. Some professions like firemen/women, paramedics and EMTs require specialized or practical application training.

Studying theory and reading about human behavior gives the people who join these professions an excellent foundation on which to practice their skills. It is the practice or the practical application of these theories that really give these professionals the edge when it comes to saving human lives; your lives.

The Mesquite Fire Department and especially Captain William Martinez, training officer for the MFD, believe very strongly in giving their department personnel, and you that edge.

On Saturday, May 21 a training event was held at the training center located at 3 John Deere Dr. This training event was essentially the cadets final exam before graduating the academy. After testing cadets go through the standard background checks, drug test and physicals they are required to pass before being hired as a reserve by the Mesquite Fire Department.

Captain William Martinez watches over and directs the Fire Cadets in their final training before graduating the academy.  Training was held on May 21 at the training facility located behind fire station #3.  Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Captain William Martinez watches over and directs the Fire Cadets in their final training before graduating the academy. Training was held on May 21 at the training facility located behind fire station #3. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The type of training exercise that was implemented was referred to as ‘Echo’ training and simulates the most difficult situation a firefighter will face which is a multiple location, multiple victims, injuries and situations. Was everything executed perfectly? The answer to that question is no, but it will be when it comes to responding to the needs of the citizens of Mesquite. Captain Martinez strives for and expects perfection from his trainees. He’s willing to put in the training hours with his cadets and firefighters to achieve that goal.

When hired into the department the new part time reserve fire fighters agree to two 24 hours shifts and one 8 to 10-hour training shift per month.

During the training period, which lasts 16 weeks, cadets volunteer on the weekends for the fire department which is their payment to the department in exchange for the training they receive. The cadets are eligible to be certified through the state in Hazmat, Hazmat awareness and as a Fire Fighter I after this initial training period.

Martinez is very conscientious when it comes to training the cadets. He’s hard on them but for good reason. He says theory can be studied from every book written but it’s the practical application of that theory that needs to be focused on. Every situation and every person is different and if you don’t practice your skills on live people you won’t really have the knowledge and skills it takes to handle the actual emergency situations. Many of the department’s wives and children partake in the ongoing training events that take place monthly. Martinez wants Mesquite Fire and Rescue to be the most well trained department around because of the challenges they face as a team.

Fire Cadet final training before graduating the academy was held Saturday, May 21 at the training facility located behind fire station #3.  Here cadets are trained on a simulated multiple vehicle accident and rollover.  Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Fire Cadet final training before graduating the academy was held Saturday, May 21 at the training facility located behind fire station #3. Here cadets are trained on a simulated multiple vehicle accident and rollover. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Mesquite is a small community which comes with all the bells, whistles and challenges both good and bad that comes with being a small community. Because size of the community and small budget allotted for fire fighters in Mesquite the department functions on just seven firefighters per shift to cover the entire population of 19,000 plus individuals. The other challenge Captain Martinez says he faces is the fact that Mesquite is a retirement town and most of the younger cadets seek employment in the larger cities. “They are hired on pretty quickly by other departments who value the training they’ve received with us, “said Captain Martinez.

Martinez said, “I’m not complaining about the challenges at all, I love Mesquite and God willing I will retire here and spend the rest of my days in this wonderful community. We do have some challenges to face and we face those challenges by ensuring that we have the most well trained department personnel we can. Mesquite firefighters have to be well trained and cross trained to handle the situation from first response to whatever comes along. Larger departments in metropolitan areas have battalion commanders, captains and leaders who take charge of the situation and see that everyone and everything flows smoothly, that everyone is doing their jobs effectively and efficiently. In Mesquite the firefighters are their own battalion commanders and our captains, deputy chief and chief are hands on firefighters.” said Captain Martinez.

Captain Martinez says he’s proud of the department and the training they receive and he wishes he could keep all of the cadets who have gone through this past academy but sadly, that won’t be the case. He does however wish them well and he’s confident that they will do great things in the departments who do hire them; they’ve gotten a great start.

 

Comments

  1. Is 19,000 a realistic number to use for the population of Mesquite? I was at city hall last month and the figure they used was 12,000. I wonder what the real population of Mesquite is.

  2. Not only is 19,000 a realistic number, it’s low. It’s the bare minimum. During the winter it’s likely closer to 24,000 and at any given time, particularly weekends, there are 2,000 to 10,000 extra people in town. I can’t fathom someone at City Hall saying there were only 12,000 people living here, and if they did, they were guessing and shouldn’t have. 19,000 is a solid estimate.

  3. Theresa Nehrenz says:

    You know what Roger, that’s a great question. I’ve been wondering that myself and over the years I’ve heard many different reports ranging from 16,000+ as of 2013 and it’s supposed to have grown from there in the past three years. Then you would have to factor in the fact that these population reports usually base themselves on the “per capita” population but in the case of the fire department you would also have to consider the children in the community as well so I estimate a total of about of 19,000. This is also not factoring in the tourists that visit each month which kicks the number of people they might have to respond to up considerably. This is one of the reasons that Bunkerville, Mesquite and Beaver Dam departments work so closely together and back each other up 100%. These guys really are quite amazing at the amount of training they receive, the type of training and the knowledge they have. In larger cities, such as Cleveland where I come from, department personnel have the option to advance thier skills and knowledge or they can do one job and nobody is any worse for the wear, they have 5-6 people who can respond to an emergency at one time but our guys don’t have that luxury. They have to be very well trained, knowledgeable and certified fire fighters, EMT’s and paramedics all at the same time because you have two from a Mesquite Department that can respond at a time and only two emergencies that can happen simultaniously with the amount of men on the force on any given shift…These departments rely on and work trememdously well together. They also train together and, as you know, any team training and working together just functions so much better as a team. I don’t know any one of these guys personally but I have spent considerable time with all three departments at one time or another over the past 5 years and I have seen the trememdous job they do…they are all OUTSTANDING!

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      During thier last training session I had the pleasur of helping out and played a shooter, I was quite psychotic and totally out of control, I like to believe I played my part very well. These guys were on the ball but that is not what I would like to highlight here, and the women in town will be grateful. There was one cadet, I don’t know who he was but he was a gentleman. I was strapped to a backboard, I was supposed to be on my way to the airchopper, I was shot twice. While I was strapped I couldn’t use my hands of course and it was windy, my shirt rode up and my belly was exposed a bit, not bad, but one of the cadets was respectful and pulled my shirt down each time without EVER having to be asked. Some of the more modest women in town will appreciate that these guys are not just well trained in their fields, they are also gentlemen with a heart. They train hard because they care about helping people like me and you.

  4. Theresa Nehrenz says:

    Oh, I have to say that the Fire Chiefs in all these departments are very hands on also, they do spend time behind the desk but they spend time in the field fighthing right along with the others as well. Not that I agree (this is my own opinon, not that of the MLN) with the pay raise for the Chief or Deputy Chief either. That is a lot of money for the city to take a hit on all at once. I really think City Council should have considered the fact that the city runs on a skeletal crew as it is and they’re taking a big hit on it politically and personnel wise…if they’d have split that pay raise over two years. The other half of the Chief and Deputy Chief’s salary could have paid one more part time employee and put one more person to work for at least 17,000 – 19,000 a year. That may not be a lot but might make a huge difference to a “two person income” household and may have therefore improved the life of at least one Mesquite family. It also could have helped a college student work their way through school, lots of possiblities for that kind of money to improve situations. Bad judgement on thier part.

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