Merrill firefighters are ‘Bringing Down the House’
If you happened to drive by the Merrill Fire Station in the last month or two – more specifically the house and garage directly adjacent to the station to the west, specifically 406 Tyler St. – you may have noticed Merrill Firefighters, “at play” – training!
A special neighbor and friend of the firefighters decided to take the next step in her life journey and move from her cozy little home on Tyler Street, to a wonderful spot, with no shoveling, lawn mowing, raking or any other maintenance issues that may arise from one’s home.
It was at this time that the City of Merrill was able to purchase this home, with the intent to expand the parking capacity, which may help to alleviate parking problems at the fire station for the personnel, as well as other firefighters who may be training with Merrill personnel at the station and all other guests and visitors to the Merrill Fire Station, as well as making snow removal more effective in the future.
Most may have just looked at this property as something to get rid of as soon as possible, but Merrill firefighters, specifically Battalion Chief/Training Officer Phil Skoug, saw countless valuable opportunities for the crews at MFD to work on fire training scenarios that are all too often only practiced on a live fire scene.
During the past two months, crews have worked on scenarios including structure fire response guidelines, chimney fire operations, disoriented firefighter, SCBA air consumption, buddy breathing, wall breach – self rescue techniques and vertical ventilation.
The department even utilized the structure as an evaluation tool during the recent promotional process that was completed. Candidates were evaluated on their handling of a city structure fire response per departmental guidelines; the home on Tyler Street was utilized to make the test scenario as realistic as possible for each candidate.
After many hours spent inside the structure, up on the roof of both the home and garage and most recently utilizing a ventilation saw to practice vertical ventilation techniques, firefighters will soon see this valuable training prop come to an end, as it will be demolished and eventually become the parking area that is desperately needed at the station.
Soon the structure may be torn down and the garage will be gone, the valuable lessons gained by the Merrill emergency personnel will be utilized to help them stay safe during dangerous emergencies and hopefully help to minimize the loss of other families in the Merrill community due to the opportunities garnered from the education from the home at 406 Tyler Street.
So even though that special neighbor/friend is not living next door anymore these days, dropping off treats at the station, waving with a friendly smile or just a simple shout of “hi” and the little house won’t be there much longer, the memories and lessons learned will stay with Merrill firefighters and may have beneficial effects in the Merrill community for years to come!