Fire, medical training increases with funding

Firefighters’ training has increased after the City of Miles City increased the training budget last year.

Miles City Fire and Rescue’s Fire Training Officer Mike Miller gave the Miles City Council an update at its May 10 meeting.

He said two years ago three people were certified at the firefighter one level (basic entry level) and in June all of the department will be at that level.

A firefighter class two level is a supervisory level where they learn to do inspections, reports, auto extraction and more. This training will be done in house and by January everyone will be at that level and meet all the national standards.

“This has been done at no cost to the city. These guys come in on their days off. We do all the teaching on our days off and all that time, in return for what you guys have done for us for financing on some of the other trainings and certifications,” Miller said.

They are currently getting ready to do a pump operator class to get more people certified at that level.

The entire staff is certified as swift water rescue technicians and last winter there were four who attended ice rescue training.

Miller said legally the department can’t allow anyone to perform those services if they are not certified.

Three are trained in confined space rescue. One place that it could be used is at the water plants.

He said they are sending small groups to the training on rotation for less cost to the city. 

One person got through the 1,700 hour paramedic training and another two are about to go. 

For that, Miller said, they go at their own cost (about $10,000) and on their own time. 

They are also getting training for airport fire and rescue in Helena.

They’ve sent a lot of their staff to defensive driving school in Lewistown so they can learn how to do evasive maneuvers in larger vehicles. 

Two have been sent to the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg, Maryland, this year. The federal government pays for everything but the meals. 

Additional hazardous materials training in Billings increased the department’s level from an “awareness level” to an “operations level” fire department.

Some of the firefighters have attended a BNSF Railway class on hazardous materials. Miller plans to get more to the training in the future.

They sent the new building inspector to the building code seminar in Bozeman.

All the training and certification lowers the liability to the city. 

Miller said the department wanted to thank the city for the funding and let council know what they’ve accomplished with the money.

When asked about getting a training facility, Miller said the department is looking at that. 

Currently they take firefighters outside and describe circumstances (intense heat, limited or no visibility, etc.) but a training facility enables the firefighters to deal with the conditions in a controlled environment instead of learning in a real fire call.

Surrounding communities could come and train in it and local certified firefighters can provide the training.

Currently Sen. Jon Tester is trying to help them get the funding through FEMA grants, Miller said.

The facilities can cost up to $800,000. Billings built their own for $80,000 and the cost can be lower by using shipping containers at a cost of $2,000 to 3,000 then renovate them. They can also be stacked so they can practice high rise rescues.

If they get a training facility, they are looking at locating on county land near the Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility.

In other news:

— Marvin Starck was appointed to the Board of Appeals.

— The mayor read a proclamation on Building Safety Month.

— The mayor read a proclamation on May 21 being Kids to Parks Day.

— Mayor John Hollowell reported that 90-95 percent the public nuisance complaints are cleaned up when just a warning is given and doesn’t require a ticket to be written.

—  The council passed the amendment of the City of Miles City-Custer County Interlocal Agreement that the fifth position on the Health Board will no longer have to be a doctor. The Montana Code Annotated doesn’t require a doctor sit on public health boards. 

Erlenbusch pointed out that the city could still attempt to place a doctor on the board. 

Dr. Malcolm Winters sat on the boards many years, but in other years it has been difficult to find a doctor to be on the board.

The amendment passed 7-1. Wilcox voted against because it should be some kind of medical license on the board.

— The two bids were opened for the lease of the wastewater treatment plant’s old lagoon. Robert Smith bid $1,888 per year and James Dighans bid $2,227.50. The bids were sent to the Finance Committee for review.

—  The second reading of Resolution No. 3903 passed unanimously. The resolution amended the assessment on benefited property in the Special Improvement District No. 211 to defray the cost of paving Arrowhead Lane.

—  The second reading of Resolution No. 3914 passed unanimously, approving an agreement with Ovivo, USA for goods and special services for Phase II of the Miles City Wastewater Improvement Project. 

—  The second reading of No. 3915 to amend the budget for various unbudgeted expenditures in the General Fund was passed unanimously. 

— Resolution No. 3917 approving an agreement with Trojan Tech for goods and special services for Phase II of the Miles City Wastewater Improvement Project.

— Bids for paving Maintenance District Nos. 204 and 205 were awarded to Century Construction.

— April claims were approved unanimously.