Cy-Creek Volunteer Fire Department to expand training capabilities

The Cypress Creek Volunteer Fire Department is on its way to offering a training program unavailable anywhere else in the state. The department’s future Command Training Center—which should be complete at the end of April—will give instructors a place to train firefighters to be Blue Card certified at the department’s headquarters on Cypress N. Houston Road.

Blue Card is a training style that seeks to put all officers and responders on the same page, Assistant Chief Tim Gibson said. By offering the course to neighboring departments along FM 1960, the process of responding to an incident is expected to become more efficient.

“The Blue Card process takes standard responses and applies standard actions to get standard outcomes,” Gibson said. “Commanders give the same report, the same way, every time. The next person arriving knows exactly what their role in the incident is going to be.”

Firefighters who enroll in the program go through 50 hours of online training, which is integrated with standards set by FEMA’s National Incident Management System. The next step involves 24 hours of hands-on training at the new CTC.

The CTC will feature equipment for the simulations, including stations with computers and radios as well as a separate room to simulate being a battalion chief.

“The CTC will be where we simulate being on the fire ground,” Gibson said. “[Students] will work through incidents and calls in different roles. We are going to be right there on par with the city of Houston’s capabilities for training.”

Incident commanders interested in becoming certified instructors go through another 50 hours of specialized training that covers scenarios such as hotel fires and the loss of a firefighter at the scene.

Seven members of CCVFD have completed the training—including Gibson and Fire Chief Richard Lieder—and five of those seven have become certified instructors. All current incident commanders had to receive their training outside of the state, but CCVFD has more members lined up to join them once the CTC opens, Gibson said.

Several other departments in the area have expressed interest in the program and have enrolled members in the online course, including Cy-Fair, Atascocita, Klein and Champions fire departments.

“There’s a definite cost advantage for us to be able to drive five people over to the Cypress area instead of taking a plane to Chicago for certification,” said Mike Mulligan, deputy chief with Atascocita VFD.

Lieder said he hopes to start offering classes around May or June after some beta tests are run.

Classes are designed to host eight students at a time.

“We’re rolling out the methodology internally and have already seen the benefits,” Lieder said.

“It’s not something that will happen overnight, but we’ve responded to a number of incidents using it, and it’s really helped.”

Source: Impact News