RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A number of local firefighters in our area have been helping with wildfires raging across drought-ridden Texas. These flames have been burning since January first scorching thousands and thousands of acres and leading to the deaths of two firefighters. Representatives from Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Dinwiddie and Fairfax headed to the southwest to see how crews were managing.
"We went out there to shadow them but we were thrust into action fairly quickly," said Lt. Shawn Jones with the Richmond Fire Department.
As part of training, Central Virginia's Incident Management Team is required to work with teams in other states. It's important in preparing for large scale disasters. We often think about the folks on the front line--but forget the team of people behind the scenes making important decisions about resources and evacuations. That's what this trip was all about.
"You can often times talk about the stuff in the classrooms and the learning opportunities, but once you get that visual, that hands on practical application, that pays off great dividends and in Texas, there we saw things up close in front of our eyes; we saw what worked and what we can implement in Richmond and also probably what may not work in our setting," he said.
Lt. Shawn Jones showed us some pictures of the work they did. He says one of the things that stuck out to him that could be useful here is the wide range of people staffing the incident command center.
"Whether it was another team of individuals to go on the front line; they had a meteorologist there to talk about the weather conditions," Jones said.
These firefighters will now share what they learned with the rest of the team--and they'll be on the lookout for another learning opportunity.