MEDINA — Nine police officers from Medina, Montville Township and Medina Township just completed a four-day firefighting course with the Medina Fire Department in an effort to cross-train law enforcement officers to help at fire scenes.
It was a 36-hour, state-certified course, Medina fire Lt. Larry Walters said.
“We’re teaching them things to help us prior to our arrival, like water supply, where they can connect a hose to the hydrant,” he said. “With some fire training and awareness, they can make better decisions at the scene before fire’s arrival.”
Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said the idea is to use officers to help assist and support fire units at fire scenes like they’ve been doing for the Life Support Team for decades. The officers will be trained and equipped to assist with attaching hoses to fire hydrants and several other tasks.
The police officers won’t be fighting fires, just assisting firefighters, he said.
On the weekends and after midnight during the week, the fire stations are not staffed. If there’s a fire, it will take the fire department several minutes to arrive at the scene. But police officers are already on patrol and are able to get to the scene in minutes.
Walters said by teaching officers some basic fire knowledge, it could help save lives or at least buy the victims some time until the fire department arrives.
“The bottom line is the police in Medina city and in the townships want to help people at a fire scene just as much as the firefighters,” Walters said.
There were four officers from the city, three from Montville and two from Medina Township enrolled in the course.
Hanwell said the idea emerged from ongoing discussions at Fire District Committee meetings.
Medina fire handles operations for not only the city, but both townships. There have also been ongoing meetings about forming a fire district.
“We have trained firefighters and police officers for decades to assist medics on Life Support Team calls,” he said.
“This is a natural extension of that partnership. By using on-duty staff from all three agencies — police, fire and LST and cross-training each group — we may handles calls and service needs much more effectively and efficiently. We are always striving for ways to use tax dollars more prudently. This is another good example of collaboration that benefits all of our respective constituents.”
The classes began Tuesday at Medina Fire Station 1, 300 W. Reagan Parkway, and dealt with numerous topics like search and rescue, hose line deployment, checking fire hose, ropes and knots, and scene size-up.
Walters said each police cruiser should have a rope in the event of someone or an animal falling into a pond. He cautioned about officers going out on the ice.
When officers respond to car wrecks, Walters told them to make sure the vehicles are turned off and in park.
When police arrive at a fire, car accident or any emergency scene, they should immediately size up the situation, Walters said. They should find out if any lives are in danger or whether there is a threat for additional damage.
The instruction just makes sense, Walters said, since both fire and police will be going to the same emergency scene.
“It was a great week with them,” he said. “It gives us a chance to get to know each other better.”