Local Firefighters Learning to Save Their Lives With Mayday Training

Local fire departments are getting to see first hand what bad situations can happen in a fire. Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training is in Pryor to give free training to fire departments. On Sunday, the training was focused on calling a Mayday.

The course each firefighter goes through takes about twenty minutes and has six different obstacles. Dannie Caldwell, retired Tulsa firefighter and the instructor of this course, says the six obstacles are things that firefighters don't want to face in a fire and the guys gearing up to learn agree.

"I never want to be the one that calls a Mayday, or anybody on my fire department; that's something I never want to hear," Locust Grove Firefighter/EMT, Cody Wolf said.

Wolf has been on the volunteer Locust Grove Fire Department for the past seven years. He says he has been through at least 200 hours of training since then, and this course was tough. He especially had a hard time when they pulled chicken wire on top of him to resemble a roof collapse, and also when he simulated a fall from the second story of a house.

"You have no movement. I couldn't do much and I had trouble getting my radio out and I also had trouble finding my pass device to set it off," says Wolf, "I went head first and I barred up underneath the foam and stuff and trying to get reversed back onto my back and realized what had happened and trying to dig my radio out and call for the Mayday."

Locust Grove has six fire fighters going through these three weekends of training. Since they are a volunteer department, having these classes on weekends is ideal so they don't have to take vacation from their full-time jobs.

Through this training, they have to follow the hose to get around, call for help for another fire fighter, and get trapped in several spots. All of this is done with little vision as they put crinkled wax paper over their masks to simulate low visibility.

"Anytime we are in a fire, we train like we are blind cause once we go in, we are blind," Pryor Fire Department, Lt. Brandon Merritt said.

The Pryor department knows first hand how important this training is.

"We had an instance a couple of weeks ago where we actually called a Mayday here, but we were able to cancel it a minute into it and everything worked out," says Merritt.

Calling a Mayday can only be done when there is a downed firefighter. There were 27 fire departments and about 100 firefighters in the training the first weekend. They have two more weekends of training. Those are May 4-5 and May 18-19.