Instructor Ben Parsons monitors Jason Rockwell as he cleans up his open-faced notch as part of a chainsaw safety education class for Gibraltar fire, police and EMRs.
As part of the Forest Fire Protection grant program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Gibraltar Fire Rescue, Gibraltar EMRs and Gibraltar Police received a matching $4,200 grant to purchase two chain saws, an ATV firefighting skid unit and an eight-hour chain saw safety class delivered by FISTA Inc. based in Rhinelander.
Tree cutting and brush removal are important aspects of the department's response capability after damaging storms or car accidents, said Caleb Whitney, chief of Gibraltar Fire Rescue. The FISTA training brings the department in line with the DNR so in the event of shared response all groups will be operating in a similar manner.
Fire, law and EMR personnel spent 10 hours March 15 improving their skills - beginning with four hours of classroom theory including dismantling and properly maintaining both saw and chain, and then finishing with six hours out in the woods working in teams to put into practice the best way to clear brush, release the tension on bent saplings and fell large trees.
Whitney thanked Jayson and Jennifer Merkel, for donating the use of their property and trees for the group to work, and also thanked the Homestead Suites, for providing lodging and breakfast for the instructor.
Interested organizations and individuals may contact FISTA Inc. to schedule a class or find one in which to enroll. Call (800) 551-2656 or visit www.fistausa.org.