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TWINSBURG -- From live burns to mock field amputations to intense classroom work, six firefighters from Twinsburg will pass along to colleagues what they learned at a week-long continuing education conference for firefighters in Indianapolis, Ind.
The firefighters attended the Fire Department Instructor's Conference, now in its 90th year, April 24 through 29 at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center, said Lt. Marcus Ketner, one of the six local firefighters to attend.
"There were physical, hands-on classes, like a burning building, throwing a ladder, and there were intensive workshops," Ketner said. "A couple of firefighters took a cadavorial class, where they ... learned about anatomy and how to do field amputations if necessary. Some of the cadavers had artificial limbs, so they learned how they were put together. They basically did an autopsy."
Other classes included fire investigation, scientific studies on fire behavior and vehicle training, he said.
"And that was just Monday and Tuesday," he said.
The conference started with four- and eight-hour sessions on various topics, said Ketner, who has attended the conference for 18 years. The April 26 opening ceremony included 10,000 firefighters from across the world, Ketner said. The ceremony included a tribute for the firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2016.
Wednesday and Thursday included more class options, Ketner said, including 20 to 30 classes that lasted just under two hours.
"You could go to whatever class you choose," he said.
A trade show was organized Thursday through Saturday, Ketner said.
"There were 400,000 square feet of exhibits," he said. "It was in the entire Indiana Convention Center and the Lucas Oil Stadium."
There were 33,939 attendees from 58 countries, and 98 exhibitions at the show, Ketner said.
"We were joking that if you can sell it to a fire station, it's at the show," Ketner said.
Exhibits included information on fire and EMS equipment as well as architects who had designed fire departments, he added.
"We had a lot of steps on our Fitbits that week," Ketner said.
Cost to attend was $1,100 per person.
"We try to send four to six firefighters every year," Ketner said. "The firefighters are grateful to the chief and the city, and we are looking forward to the next one."
Asst. Chief Steve Bosso said the conference is invaluable for not just the many training opportunities but for providing updates and ideas.
"It gives them new ideas; they see new equipment, new technology," Bosso said. "We need to keep up with it. For example, a couple years ago one of our guys saw the BullEx equipment."
The fire department acquired a $24,000 grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and obtained the base BullEx Attack digital Fire Training System in 2016, Bosso said. Earlier this year, they upgraded the training system with the addition of the BullEx Digital Nozzle and Weighted Fire Hose Line, which allow for training where flowing water isn't available.