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Fire training event held

Dozens of firefighters from across the region gathered at the Buckingham County Fire and Rescue Training Center Saturday, Sept. 18, for the Second Annual Heart of Virginia (HOVA) Regional Fire Training event.

According to Charlie Holland, training officer at Toga Volunteer Fire Department, the program, which began last year, was inspired by the mutual aid agreements between various local fire departments.

Fire departments in the area, including departments in Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward, often run calls together and assist one another during emergencies, but those departments rarely have the opportunity to train together, Holland said.

The HOVA Regional Fire Training event brings firefighters throughout the region together in order to perform group training exercises and gain experience in the latest in fire safety technology.

At Saturday’s event, more than 50 members and instructors from Dillwyn, Cumberland, Farmville, Toga, Bedford, Blackstone, Concord, Darlington Heights, Hanover, Powhatan and Prospect took part in a full day of training exercises.

The day included four training stations on a variety of topics, including fire behavior, a basement fire training station, a vent-enter-search (VES) station for ladder rescue training and a thermal imagery station where firefighters learned about using thermal imagery cameras (TICs).

The day, organized by a planning committee consisting of training officers from surrounding counties, provided a chance for local firefighters to gain experience in working collectively to respond to emergency situations.

“We want to get these departments together before an emergency,” Holland said. “We want us working together in training so that when we show up on somebody’s fire scene, we can operate as a cohesive unit.”

The day also served as a way to get local firefighters “fired up” about participating in volunteer firefighting in a rural community.

Buckingham Emergency Management Department Chief Cody Davis said he was pleased with Saturday’s event and the progress made by the planning team and instructors over the last two years.

“I believe a very valuable and unique training experience is finally being offered in the Heart of Virginia,” Davis said. “I am also pleased with the effort the students display when attending the training. I feel confident that the citizens that are served by the participating agencies will be better served as a result of the HOVA Regional Fire Training. I look forward to the many years to come in which this training continues to become better and better.”