If you ever thought driving a 14-ton fire truck is tough, you’re right. That’s why Smyrna firefighters recently participated in public safety driver training, a training class through the Local Government Risk Management Service, the service arm of the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association of County Commissioners.
Lieutenant Dustin Davey explained that for the the class is all about safety.
“For us it’s important because vehicle accidents are what kill firefighters,” he said. “I think it’s the second leading cause of death for firefighters in the line of duty and also about 20 percent of firefighter deaths in a year are due to motor vehicle accidents.”
The four-hour class includes classroom time where a trainer reviews driving safety. Then firefighters are tested using a driving simulator that recreates what its like to drive a fire truck in several different scenarios. Smyrna Fire Chief Jason Lanyon described the simulator as being like a video game.
Davey explained that Smyrna firefighters are constantly training either in the field or in a classroom setting.
“Classroom training like this we try to do once a month,” he said. “This class is available to everybody so each shift is going through the same training, but we may get another class that may be specific only to certain positions. It prevents us from having to send people al the way down to the fire academy.”
Public Safety Driver Training is also available to police officers as well. Officer Mike Smith, Smyrna Police Department’s public information officer, said some police officers will participate in the training next week.
“It just acts as a refresher for defensive driving,” he said. “Ours will be geared obviously toward law enforcement. There’s will be geared toward the fire service.”