Firefighters learn RIT techniques 2.6

Written by David Green.

A human chain of firefighters makes its way through a dark tunnel in the basement of the former Porter Lumber Company in Morenci. They’re searching for another department member who should have emerged from the building several minutes ago.

Upstairs, another set of volunteers is making its way though the “entanglement room,” an area strewn with loose wires, insulation and heating ductwork. They have waxed paper covering their face masks to simulate the reduced vision inside a burning building.

Nearby, firefighters are working to remove a victim from a small enclosure—a space almost too small to move around in.

In each case, the goal is the same: Learning to prepare for the worst, for the time when a fellow department member is in trouble.

The training session Saturday introduced 30 firefighters from nine departments to the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) concept. Whenever a department responds to an interior structure fire, a RIT team from a nearby support department is called to watch over the process.

 

There's value in the training that goes well beyond the basic purpose of rescue work.

“We’re preparing for RIT, but the firefighter survival skills taught are used every time you go into a burning building,” Morenci fire chief Chad Schisler said, and that’s of utmost importance to him.

When his department members crawl through an actual smoke-filled “entanglement room,” the skills they learned in RIT class could very well save their lives.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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