HARPSTER – “We’re getting all together on the same page before the season starts,” said Ken Decker, assistant fire warden, Idaho Department of Lands (IDL).

Fifty-six people packed into the Harpster Community Center Saturday, Jan. 26, for RT-130 annual firefighter refresher course. Presented by IDL, the all-morning training drew personnel that mostly represented six Clearwater Valley firefighting agencies for instruction on situational awareness, communication tools, and preparedness.

Hands-on training involved participants deploying a personal fire shelter, a safety device of last resort that protects against heat and traps breathable air for the firefighter. Participants also ran through a wildfire scenario – this example, the Elk Meadow Subdivision off Clear Creek Road – to run through and discuss communication protocols, the responsibilities of the incident commander, and discuss interactions with cooperating agencies.

“This gets everyone talking,” Decker said, on where the issues might be in incident response. One part of the training helps agencies develop a set of predetermined responses – depending on factors such as type of incident, time of year and fire conditions -- that can be implemented promptly.

Participating volunteer firefighting departments at the training were Harpster, Ridge Runner, BPC, Kooskia, Carrot Ridge and Glenwood-Caribel.

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