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The Carthage Press
  • Alarm gives firefighters practice with new accountability system

  • The Carthage United Methodist Church was only slightly damaged by a small electrical fire on Friday, but the alarm gave Carthage firefighters a chance to practice with a new system designed to keep them safe in their dangerous occupation.
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  • The Carthage United Methodist Church was only slightly damaged by a small electrical fire on Friday, but the alarm gave Carthage firefighters a chance to practice with a new system designed to keep them safe in their dangerous occupation.
    James Lee, with the Methodist Church, said church members tried to power up a speaker system in the church on Friday morning and noticed it didn't come on correctly.
    When a member went to the room with the church's breaker boxes, she found the room filled with smoke, so the building was evacuated and firefighters were called in.
    No one was injured in the incident, and Carthage Fire Chief Chris Thompson said it gave his department another opportunity to practice with a new “accountability system” designed to keep track of where each firefighter is located on a fire scene.
    Thompson said the $1,500 system was purchased with a donation from Dyno Nobel. The department bought it after the June fire on the Carthage Square that destroyed the Sassy Spoon.
    “We realized our system we had then wasn't expandable and it wasn't enough for a situation like that,” Thompson said. “We started reaching out for a new system and this is what we came up with.”
    Thompson said each fire truck has a ring of tags and each tag has the name of a firefighter assigned to that truck. Each firefighter also has a second tag.
    When the truck arrives on scene, an incident commander holds a metal dry-erase board with holes in the side and markings on it to mark different assignments on a scene.
    The commander then takes a tag from each firefighter when that firefighter is assigned a task or location and places that tag on the board next to the corresponding assignment.
    The tags are moved as firefighters are reassigned around the scene to let the commander see exactly where each firefighter is throughout the incident.
    Thompson said firefighter got their first chance to work with the new system last week when they responded to a house on fire west of Carthage and it worked well.

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