Superior’s Fire OPS 101 returns to teach about firefighters’ duties
Firefighters do a whole lot more than people may think. Superior’s Fire OPS 101 helped residents learn how firefighters go on search and rescues, assisting in medical emergencies, helping with car crashes. Although they also learned about their duties of extinguishing fires.
However, when it comes to an emergency it’s not just ordinary people experiencing trauma, firefighters have their own battles, too.
Captain Greg Wilson with the Superior Fire Department, said firefighting take a toll on physical and mental health. “It’s okay to be not okay is kind of what we say around the fire hall here. So we definitely look out for each other,” Captain Wilson said.
A career in firefighting can push the boundaries of mental health. Although there have been significant improvements to their mental health in the last decade.
“We have a program called Peer Support; we have some individuals that kind of reach out and help our coworkers deal and process with some of that trauma that we see,” Captain Wilson said. “We really try to put it more in the forefront now where 30 years ago, people kind of tend to hide it. “
The Superior Fire OPS 101 have taught residents what firefighters experience on a day to day basis. However, in the past couple years, Captain Wilson said there’s been more emergency calls, but fewer firefighters.
“We’re always looking for new recruits. Just like a lot of the different trades, it’s getting harder and harder to find qualified candidates,” Captain Wilson said. “That’s why we’re actually after this morning portion for our elected officials. We’re having some high school students come from 4 to 6 p.m. to kind of help with that recruitment.”
Some of the hands on scenarios residents could learn from Superior’s Fire OPS 101 ranged from using a fire hose, to CPR, and even car rescues. “Everyone knows that firefighters go on fires and auto accidents but they don’t know we also have a state funded hazmat team,” Captain Wilson said.
Despite firefighters seeing intense moments, Captain Wilson said helping people stay safe is incredibly rewarding. “We have member is part of the Wisconsin Task Force One urban search and rescue team. We have specialists in water rescue. So we do a lot of other things besides the basic services that people kind of associate with being a professional firefighter.”