Convention teaches firefighters new skills, could lower homeowne - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Convention teaches firefighters new skills, could lower homeowners' insurance rates

The South Carolina Fire Rescue Convention. (Source: WMBF News) The South Carolina Fire Rescue Convention. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Firefighter training happening Tuesday to Saturday in Myrtle Beach could save you in more ways than one.  The South Carolina Fire Rescue Convention is at the convention center downtown this week.  

There are dozens of free classes available to South Carolina firefighters throughout the week.  Many are inspired by firefighters who have perfected a lifesaving technique of their own.  Others are aimed at leadership, personal and team-building success.  All classes can teach firefighters new things they can bring home with them, and improve your local ISO rating.

"We have a number of conversations that occur during the week with ISO because the topics that are here seek to improve the individual's training rating back at their local level which in turn improves their ISO rating, so it's a partnership," Joe Palmer, executive director of the South Carolina State Firefighters Association, said.

ISO stands for insurance service organization.  Most insurance carriers use what's called an ISO rating to decide your fire protection quality, then, your insurance rate from that.  A big factor is the equipment and skills of your local fire department. The better the fire department, the chances are, less loss for you in a fire. 

That's where this fire rescue convention comes into play.  Thousands of firefighters across the state come annually for dozens of different classes taught by experts.  A few of those are improving arson investigations, leadership development and child passenger safety. 

One firefighter from Spartanburg, SC said his fire department sends three people to learn and bring back home to teach to other officers.  Lieutenant Ron Hunter said "I think it's going to make our guys a whole lot safer,'" in reference to the hands-on training classes he attended at the Myrtle Beach Fire Department's training course.  

Lt. Hunter was in a bail-out class Wednesday with two others from his department.  Hunter was one of about 20 in the class climbing up a set-up building, practicing attachment techniques and jumping out of windows in full firefighter gear.  

Lt. Hunter said he learns things not taught in recruitment classes and can become an expert on the subject.  He said the firefighters who attended the conference from Spartanburg will hold their own conference to teach what they learned to those who weren't there. 

When talking about the importance of the conference, Lt. Hunter said "This isn't necessarily a situation that happens all the time.  I mean it happens rarely, does it happen...But we need to know how to get out of it, to get our self out, at least get ourself safe, and with this class right here it's doing that.  It's teaching us all a lot, on how to get out of this building."

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