Close this search box.

Cody Volunteer Fire Department Hosts Annual Fire School Training


School is back in session this weekend here in Cody, Wyoming.

Since its inception over 40 years ago, the Cody Volunteer Fire Department is hosting Fire School, a series of learning sessions and seminars along with vendors demonstrating the latest gear, gadgets, and products to better assist firefighters in helping battle blazes.

Fire hoses
The Cody Volunteer Fire Department is holding training demonstrations all over town, including Beck Lake. In the west parking lot at Cody High School, Hoses are on full blast creating huge rooster tails of water. (Photo courtesy of Mac Watson).

Since the time humanity started crafting stories to explain the natural world, the story of the creation of fire has always been paramount.

Fire is one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and science.  In one Greek myth, Prometheus stole fire from the gods to protect the otherwise helpless humans, but was punished for this charity.  In the African tradition, the San peoples, the indigenous Southern African hunter-gatherers, tell how ǀKaggen, in the form of a mantis, brought the first fire to the people by stealing it from the ostrich, who kept the fire beneath its wings. In another version of the myth, Piisi|koagu steals fire from the ostrich.

The first fire department dates back to 23 BC when Caesar Augustus in Rome created the first firefighting force. “Servants of the commonwealth” were a group of slaves and troops capable of protecting Rome from fire. And ever since then, fire fighters have trained to do their jobs better and hone their skills in protecting communities from something that can promote life and civilizations, but can also destroy it.

Over 300 firefighters from the Big Horn Basin, Wyoming, Montana, and beyond, are keeping their skills sharp by coming to Cody and taking part in training exercises around town, sponsored by the Cody Volunteer Fire Department.

“Basically we have 27 classes going on.  And (the fire school) provides training for departments who may or may not have the accessibility or resources to do these types of training.  We offer programs and classes to these guys from all over the U.S. and get some training,” explains Kendall Berg, who is a Cody volunteer firefighter and sits on the fire school board.

Since the 1970’s, Cody has hosted the Cody Fire School, where firefighters from all over the country in exercises ranging from leadership and management to auto extrication, advanced LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) fires to basic pump operations as well as how to tackle basic wildland fires.  The idea was sprung out of necessity, so says Annalee Avery, volunteer for the fire school, and whose dad was the Cody Fire Chief for many years. “With rural fire departments there is a need and I believe the Cody Volunteer Fire Department saw that and were able to put it on with the support of sponsors and the community.”

Training happens all across town at different locations hosting different exercises. “Our classes are scattered around but the high school has been generous in donating some classrooms for session.  As far as hands-on stuff, we’ve got the recycling center to use for auto, wrecks, etc., Up by Beck Lake we have our training center, so we will be up there as well,” Kendall says as he lists all the numerous training exercises that fire departments could face in a day.

A mixture of firefighters from Cody as well as other parts of the country share their experience and expertise in not only how to fight fires, but control the direction or path of wildfires, how to safely extricate someone from their car that’s badly mangled and twisted after an accident, as well as how to be a better manager and get the most out of the men and women who bravely serve their communities. “It’s kind of a mix of everybody helping out,” says Kendall.

Training is an essential tool used in many forms in our society, from the learning new skills or software programs at a white collar job, to sharpening response times and predict outcomes in military operations, to getting a better performance from an athlete’s body.  Training and constant practice is essential in the firefighting world as well.

Kendall describes training as an imperative key to success. “Training is kind of perishable skill. You’ve got to stay up-to-date on all kinds of stuff.”

Annalee says there’s also a practical side in training that benefit firefighters. Vendors set up and show the latest and greatest products and services that are new and innovative in the fire-fighting world, all laid out on display in the Cody fire hall.  “The vendors are for the fire departments to see what equipment and tools are out there, what they can purchase for their departments. So that’s another opportunity, it’s not just the training but also access to the equipment that they may want to purchase, look at, or try out.”

The Cody Volunteer Fire Department is always looking for people in the community to help. Anyone interested in joining this dedicated group can stop by the fire hall located at 11th Street and Sheridan Avenue and pick up an application.  Or fill out an application online.


Related Articles

Newsletter Signup

KODI Authors