Firefighters have extensive training | Local News


Captain Jamie Meyer knows that firefighters love to fight fires.

“But you know somebody loses something too,” said Meyer, who recently retired from the Fremont Fire Department.

Meyer remembers the time a fire tore through a house.

He started taking pictures off a wall so firefighters wouldn’t knock them over by accident.

“I piled them on what was left of the couch and the owner came in and started crying,” he said.

Meyer offered tender words.

“I’m sorry you lost everything,” he said.

The woman replied, “No, you save my photos.”

This memory still touches Meyer’s heart.

“It’s those little moments that really impress you,” he said. “You don’t realize the good impact you have on someone by doing little things like that.”

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“Don’t overlook the little things, because those can have some of the biggest impacts on people.”

Meyer is well aware of the impact the Fremont Fire Department has had on local residents.

And how well the local firefighters have been trained.

Meyer said firefighters took a grain elevator rescue course with an Oklahoma company before extricating a grain elevator a few years ago.

“They (the company) said we were one of the very few departments in the country that had done this type of recovery,” he said.

Meyer said the department fights fires, handles car accidents, provides emergency medical services with paramedics and does much more.

“We are also very technical in our training with automatic extraction, scuba diving, ice rescue and high angle, confined space and trench rescue,” Meyer said. “It’s a call-almost-many-gets-all. These guys are trained to do very technical things.

Overall, firefighters must possess a multitude of skills and retain vast amounts of knowledge.

They must understand fire behavior, water patterns, building construction, and city layout. They must be able to drive the gigantic trucks, to cut a hole in a roof with a chainsaw and not to fall from a ladder and to work in confined spaces. They dismantle cars and clean up gas leaks.

In addition, they take care of the sick, the frightened, the seriously injured and the intoxicated.

They deal with hazardous materials, heartbreaking traffic accidents, long hours and loss. They know what it’s like to be surrounded by sobbing family members as they try to save a loved one.

Firefighters must think with their hearts and with their feet.

“You have to be extremely smart in this job,” Meyer said. “It’s more than just putting the wet stuff on top of the red stuff.”

Throughout his career, Meyer received a great deal of education and training.

He earned his associate’s degree in fire science from Southeast Community College in Lincoln in the early 1990s.

The fire department started its paramedic service for the city of Fremont in 1995. Meyer was part of the first group of paramedics and would serve 26 years in that capacity.

In the mid-1990s, Meyer, along with Jeff Schlautman and Dave Wordekemper, became medics for the Emergency Response Unit with local law enforcement personnel.

Meyer believes the men were among the first in the state to train with police for high-risk calls and local doctors still do so today.

He enjoys working with the police and the bond it creates between departments.

Meyer taught myriad firefighter courses for what is now the training division of the state fire marshal’s office from 1991 to 2016, and also taught at the Nebraska Fire School on Grand Island.

He taught CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and advanced cardiac support at the local hospital in the 1990s.

Meyer believes his teaching helped him retain his firefighting skills.

He said firefighters train for emergencies all the time and when a situation arises, they fall back on that training.

And there are times when a firefighter does something simple like take pictures on a wall for someone who has lost everything.


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