LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Tuesday evening, Laurel Fire Department and three Jones County Volunteer Fire Departments came together to participate in a joint fire exercise at the Laurel Fairgrounds. Chief James Brown of Laurel Fire Department stated, "we had some dilapidated structures that were tore down by the fairground and they asked us to assist in doing away with them and we chose to burn them down, so it gave us an opportunity to work together - city of Laurel and the county volunteers." And with a flick of a match, the firefighters did just that. Both city and county firefighters worked together to ensure the fire remained under control at all times and any surrounding structures were protected from the extreme heat. According to Jones County Fire Coordinator, Dan McKenna, the training exercise also gave the Laurel firefighters the opportunity to "[test] their ability to use the hydrants here at this location."
In addition to fire protection, control and working with the fire hydrants, the training burn also provided a key opportunity for Laurel and county firefighters to work together, as a means to prepare for any incidents that may require mutual aid. "The more we work together on exercises like this is extremely important because when we have a real incident, it's so much easier, it's fluid," said Dan McKenna. Understanding how to work together for future incidents is pivotal for a successful outcome.
Although these types of training exercises haven't been common in the past, both county and city fire departments plan to conduct more in the future as a means to continue a positive relationship with one another, and to assure the public that they are protected against disaster. "We want to try to do this more regularly, so we can get a clear understanding as, you know, as we work together, to show the citizens of Jones County that they're well protected," Chief Brown said.