TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Firefighters do more than just fight fires, they need to be versatile and do a bit of everything, from water rescue to confined space recovery.
One local fire captain is helping ensure all Kansas fire departments are trained, free of charge.
Shawnee Heights Fire Captain Laramie McPherson volunteers his time as part of a 9 person training group with the Kansas State Firefighters Association. They're busy with free trainings the first weekend of every month for fire departments across the state.
"I also work part time as an instructor for the University of Kansas Fire Rescue Training Program and teach rope rescue classes, grain rescue classes, stuff to help firefighters advance their careers,” McPherson said.
The firefighter training for him all started at home.
"January 16th, and I don't recall the year but I remember the day, my mom and step-father lived in a home in Perry Kansas, it was very very cold and I came home from school to see my house up in flames,” McPherson said. “And these gentlemen were 100 percent volunteers they didn't get paid for anything, and they were out there with icicles hanging off their masks trying to do everything they could to save my mom's home."
Since then he's never looked back, helping fellow fire fighters along the way.
"For people trying to get into the fire service there is not a lot of free training available, but most of the time when they come in if they don't have any background training we'll train them from beginning level up to where they need to be,” McPherson said.
In climbing the fire fighter ranks, McPherson has worked as the Shawnee Heights Captain for the past 9 years. Then he was recently promoted to Battalion Chief, but the changes in his rank aren't changing his philosophy on training fire fighters.
"I'll continue what I do as training, taking care of the people and assisting in anything I can to help others, us as a whole, make it better for our community,” McPherson said. “It's not about me it's about my guys, and as long as we are moving our guys forward I'm excited and hope this opportunity continues."
On Monday 4/16 Captain McPherson's promotion officially took effect becoming Shawnee Heights Fires newest Battalion Chief.
Congrats Chief McPherson!