Firefighters participate in annual training at Sawyer International


KI SAWYER, Mich. (WLUC) – Putting out fires remotely at Sawyer International is just one way UP firefighters participated in annual training Wednesday.

Firefighters from places like Houghton and Iron Mountain gathered at the airport on Wednesday morning, then conducted simulations later in the afternoon. Owner of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Specialists Louis Kurtz said Wednesday drills are needed every year.

“We cover live-fire and classroom training covering the categories required by the FAA to conduct indexed training airports for certification and keep these guys operational as well as give them refresher training to keep them very proficient with their firefighter skills and abilities,” Kurtz said.

Scenarios simulated what would happen if a plane caught fire and tested firefighters’ aptitude with a truck. Kurtz said the simulations that took place on Wednesday really tested their skills.

“Well, fortunately, with this FAA certified training, we are able to provide them with very complex scenarios where the firefighters and it is difficult for them, require them to use their skills and their wits to be able to put out these fires, ” he said.

The participants left with a recertification on Wednesday. The information provided has evolved over time. Sawyer International ARFF chief Joe Perry said they have adapted well to the changing firefighting environment.

“With the new information provided, it gives us a better chance of being able to fight a fire that involves different technologies, which gives us a better success rate,” Perry said.

More training sessions will take place on Thursday and local departments like the townships of Sands and Forsyth will be trained on Wednesday evening.

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