August 6, 2001
Woodinville Fire Explorer Scouts take first in national competition
by Matthew E. Durham
Special to the Weekly
On June 30, Woodinville Fire District sent two teams of Fire Explorer Scouts to the 2001 National Fire and Emergency Services Exploring Conference at the National Fire Academy in Maryland.
Woodinville's teams took first in the country in Search and Rescue, second in Arson Investigation and third in Wild land Shelter Deployment.
Taking part in the conference were Fire Explorer Scouts James Frisch, Jesse Nordlund, Kirk Voigt, Ryan Witter, Laith Frites, Garrett McIntier and Loren Erwin. Advisors for the group were Corinne Daley-DeYoung, Jason Lux, Sara Drumm and David Leggett.
The purpose of the competition is to serve as a learning experience for young men and women interested in the fire service.
The games allow them to use skills they acquired through training and to learn new techniques that will assist them in the future with first aid, C.P.R. and various firefighting techniques. In addition to the competition, teens attended seminars related to firefighting and were introduced to hands-on training associated with rescue operations.
"The first day we attended classes in management of incidents and emergency response to terrorism. The second day was the competition; the third and fourth days we toured the Smithsonian and Gettysburg and on the last day we were given hands-on training in vehicle extrication, repelling and a few other rescue operations," said Explorer advisor Corinne Daly-DeYoung.
The journey to Emmetsburg, Md., didn't come without its sacrifices.
"Explorers raised $9,600. fund raising every weekend through selling candy bars to conducting carwashes," said Daly-Deyoung. "We want to thank, among others, Woodinville's firefighter union for a generous donation."
Explorer Ryan Witter, who competed in the "wild land shelter deployment" competition, found the four fatalities in Washington state's forest fires hit a little too close to home.
"We start the event running, as though you're trying to escape the oncoming fire, then you're told to deploy the shelter," said Witter. "I don't think I want to be a wild land firefighter. I know both structural and wild land firefighting are dangerous, but the way most firefighters die in a structural fire is by asphyxiation, and wild land firefighters often suffer through burns. I don't want to die by burning."
Witter's team took first place in the nation for "Search and Rescue."
Teams were told to enter a building under mock fire conditions and perform a task both safely and efficiently; Woodinville beat the second place team by four minutes.
"In addition to the fund-raising efforts, the Explorers were committed to meeting twice a week.
"They drilled in fire operations, two hours at a stretch, throughout the year, honing their skills and knowledge," stated Daly-Deyoung.
"The experience at the conference only served to motivate the Explorers more; they're back at it, practicing harder than ever, preparing for the 2003 competition."